“I come from a South Asian background where fairness is synonymous with beautiful. A dark skinned woman may be considered less suitable marriage material. She would rarely be a heroine in a Bollywood film where casting directors are encouraged to use those who are ‘fair and lovely’.
“Unfortunately, this notion has transpired to the UK’s Asian community. I grew up with my mother trying to apply tumeric to my face, buying skin-lightening creams and scolding me for playing out in the sun. I remember the confusion of being told to apply foundation two shades lighter than my skin for Indian dance performances, when I was only 11 years old, because I was the wrong shade of brown to be on stage. And to this day, my dark skin tone is still referenced to in ‘jokes’ and ‘banter’ by friends.
“Despite this, I’ve never understood the concept of my skin tone being used as an insult or why people assure themselves that they are fairer than me. I’m proud of my dark brown skin. Beauty is not defined by skin tone. Dark is beautiful; fair is beautiful – as is everything in between. Everyone’s skin tone should be celebrated.”
A submission sent in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Amsanaa Ponniah
Editing credit: Harriet Evans