Pretty People
by Jen Hatmaker on June 28th, 2011

I know everyone always says Ethiopians are beautiful, but let me tell you something: Ethiopians are beautiful. Like, so-beautiful-I-can’t-quit-staring-at-you beautiful. Ethiopians hit the genetic jackpot with features unique to this world. Now that I know them, I could spot them anywhere: lean bodies, high, wide forehead, pronounced cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, a creamy, chocolate-milk-colored skin tone – almost Indian in complexion. Their skin looks like chocolate butter. It appears the entire country invested in rhinoplasty, so exquisite are their noses.

The women are so gorgeous, it’s almost ridiculous. Most pull their hair straight back, giving their stunning faces center stage. I gape at them in utter appreciation and a moderate-to-high amount of envy. It’s all I can do not to kiss their high cheekbones, or at the very least ask to stroll down the street holding their hand and laughing like their other girlfriends are getting to do. I want them to love me like I love them, but I’m just an awkward white girl wearing a Freebirds t-shirt.

Most of the young Ethiopian guys are strikingly good-looking. Like cover-of-a-magazine-Taye-Diggs good-looking. They wouldn’t last a nanosecond on The cutest ones are tall and lean with that crazy pretty Ethiopian face. They have a casual fashion sensibility, pulling off faded jeans and t-shirts like African Matthew McHonaheys. I particularly like the longer hair dreadlocked into three-inch coils sticking straight out from their heads. I cannot wait to do Ben’s hair like this. Brandon likes buzz cuts. He says we’re going to fight about this. I’m prepared to die on this hill.

Americans are a complete smorgasbord of races and features. There is no “American look.” Sure, we have our own beauty, but we are completely indistinct, a result of centuries of melding and crossbreeding. Ethiopians are completely homogenous. Everyone in Ethiopia is totally Ethiopian, except visiting white people who stand out like a donkey-drawn cart on a freeway. I spent most of my time in Africa feeling unexotic and stared at.

But here is the good news: I get two beautiful Ethiopians in my very own family, and one day they will give me grandbabies. BOOYAH.

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Rachel Miller - July 1st, 2011 at 11:15 PM
JEN!! I love how you say what I think but can't find the words for! This is the best description. I was stunned while in ET...literally! These women could walk straight from those dusty streets on to a catwalk! GORGEOUS! "unexotic and stared at" is exactly how I felt, add gigantic, super white and pasty...ugh...crack me up!!! And I love your description of the men and their style..."African Matthew McHonaheys". nail.on.the.head. We stare at our Aamina-Kate in envy! Every color is absolutely breathtaking on her, those lashes and full lips are a dream and her curls are ridiculous. So glad she forever linked our family to these pretty people! Oh, I want to go back!!!
Jenny Pruet - July 2nd, 2011 at 1:39 AM
Jen didn't tell everyone that the pic above was just a random lady we met in a shop that she couldn't quit staring out and finally said, "You are so beautiful...can I take your picture?" And so she did.
Konnette - July 2nd, 2011 at 7:13 PM
Oh my gosh, i feel the same way! When i tell people how pretty the people are there, i dont think they believe me! There were SO many women that I wanted to say "you are ridiculously gorgeous! Can I take your pic?" ....but I never did. I feel so lucky to be raising a girl who is part of a race of people who are the prettiest in the whole world!!
zolba - December 16th, 2011 at 3:15 PM
Ethiopians are not homogeneous. they are far from it. Ethiopia is a mosaic of genetic diversity.
God_Is_Real - February 22nd, 2016 at 12:13 PM
She meant homogeneous in look, not in ethnic diversity. Genetically, actually, the Habesha people (not Oromo people) have the same genetic origin.
roxy - August 15th, 2012 at 1:52 PM
I want to go to Ethiopia now!! I liked this :) thanks
qondile Dlodloyi - January 5th, 2013 at 2:08 AM
Hi I'm so suprise abt ethiopia ladys ar to beauty I'm must get a wife there soon I'm south african
Adam - June 16th, 2017 at 2:44 AM
thank you jen...
Beth - July 22nd, 2017 at 10:33 AM
Jen, as an Ethiopian woman I want to thank you for writing such a humble article about us. Just know beauty is also on the inside and people like you give me the same struck feeling as you mentioned which perhaps made you stare at us. Right now am staring at your inner beauty. God bless you and good luck on the upcoming grand babies :)
Negussie - November 3rd, 2018 at 5:11 PM
Ethiopians are certainly beauty-endowed. Beauty comes out in different ways. And your honest, direct writing is one of them.
Yared - December 5th, 2019 at 8:44 PM
Yikes if only I was as handsome as you described my demographic to be as an Ethiopian male.
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