Even when you’ve officially been crowned as one of the most beautiful women in the world, you’re still not exempt from the ingrained colourism that’s rampant in our country. Former Miss World and current global superstar Priyanka Chopra recently revealed in an interview that she was made to feel not “pretty enough” early on in her career as she was not fair-skinned.
Chopra, who has been named as one of BBC’s 100 Women in the list of influential figures of 2022, shared that she had to face overt colourism when she started out in the industry.
“I was called ‘black cat’, ‘dusky’. I mean, what does ‘dusky’ even mean in a country where we are literally all brown? I thought I was not pretty enough, I believed that I would have to work a lot harder, even though I thought I was probably a little bit more talented than my fellow actors who were lighter skinned. But I thought that was right because it was so normalised,” she said.
The Quantico actress credited this mentality to “our colonial past”. “It’s not even been 100 years since we shed the British Raj, so we still hold on to it, I think. But it is up to our generation to be able to cut those ties and change it so that the next generation doesn’t inherit the equity placed on light skin.”
Back in 2021, as the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining momentum across the world, Chopra clarified her stance on endorsing skin-lightening and fairness creams in the past.
“(Skin lightening) was so normalised in South Asia; it’s such a large industry that everyone was doing it. In fact, doing it is still a check (mark) when you are a female actor, but it’s awful.”
In her memoir Unfinished, she wrote about what it was like growing up surrounded by people who would make her feel bad for having dusky skin. “And it was awful for me, for a little girl who used to put talcum-powder cream on my face because I believed that dark skin was not pretty.”
What do you think of PC’s comments on colourism in the Indian film industry?