The first thing I do in The Sims is make a sim of myself. But it’s not always easy finding the right hair or skin tone, and often my self sims don’t look like me much at all. At least, they don’t until I start downloading and installing mods.

The tools for building out bodies and faces has never been better than in The Sims 4, but there are still problems. Curly hair and brown skin are tricky in most character creators, but it always feels like a real shame that The Sims doesn’t quite get it right. I was especially excited to make myself in The Sims 4's cartoon-y style, but the hair was lacking and the skins were just a little off. This was the skin I ended up using in the base game:

It’s paler than I actually am, and it has a cool undertone where my skin has a warm one. It doesn’t have any dimension. My sim looks dead.

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The hair in The Sims is even worse. There’s a complete lack of options for people with naturally curly hair that’s more tightly coiled than wavy. Well, that’s not quite true. If you have a cartoonish 70s afro or a very specific style of braids, you’ll be fine.

It’s disappointing but par for the course. Still, it stings to know that I can’t make myself in a game where that’s part of the fun. So I started looking around for custom content.

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Most popular sites for Sims mods, like Mod The Sims, are so flooded with custom content that it’s hard to sort through. I had an inking on where to look for skin tones: Modder XMiraMira made a set of skins called The Melanin Pack, which adds 8 new skin tones and new make-up sets to the game. She followed it up with The Melanin Pack 2, which added over 50 more skin tones. Here’s the one I settled on:

XMiraMira has an entire blog of mods she’s curated from other creators, which made the rest of my exploration much easier. It’s where I found the hair I ultimately used for my sim.

I don’t usually part my hair on the side like that, but this hair by Leeleesims1 is full, thick and textured.

After that I went uh, a little nuts on makeup and clothing. I love the lipstick I used from Weepingsimmer and Screaming_Mustard, and I even found a modder who made the exact pair of sneakers I wear.

It feels amazing to see myself, finally, in The Sims. While I wish it didn’t need mods to make it happen, I’m happy that there are people in the Sims community filling the gaps in the game. The only flaw in this newfound discovery is that my mods folder keeps growing and growing.