Kids love dressing up, and at the age of 3 how many girls wish to be a fairy? Pretty much all of them do, so when Renee Kujur dressed as a fairy at her school competition she did not expect to hear a cry of “Dekho delho kaali pari (look, a black fairy)” and the whole venue shook with laughter. Renee fled the stage in tears, but she used that as a source of inspiration and today is quoted as saying “Kuch pariyan kaali bhi hoti hain…(some fairies are black, too)”
Renee, was determind to succeed as a model, but In India dark girls are not given the same chances that are afforded to light skinned girls. She was even advised to sleep around to get work!
“They told me all models are into prostitution. I won’t become a model unless I pleased clients. Being dark had already killed my chances,” recalls the model.
Photographers would tell makeup artists to make her 3-4 tones lighter and heavily photoshop her pictures. “Sundar ladki ka makeup toh koi bhi kar sakta hai. The real challenge is to make a dark girl look good and I have done it,” said a makeup artist once publically after doing her makeup.
One day, a friend realised that Renee bore a striking resemblance to the beauty Rihanna, and shot her without tempering with her skin tone. “I laughed off the Rihanna part. But soon everyone was saying the same thing.”
It made it easier for her to get work. “Photographers would tell their clients that I resemble Rihanna. That way, it was easier to convince them. No one could deny that Rihanna wasn’t beautiful. That sort of worked in my favour. Those who had called me kaali and unattractive has to take back their words,” she remembers.
But despite the Rihanna factor, she gets only one third of the work that her fair counterparts do. “Few are willing to turn around rules. For most of the people, beauty strictly means fair skin. It will take time to rewrite set norms, but I am happy I am part of the change,” she laughs.
The full article that appeared in the HinduTimes is here