Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The Washington Post recently ran a piece called, "In India's huge marketplace, fair skin sells."

It discusses how Eastern European models with dark hair and light skin are being featured in Indian adverts.

"Indians have a longing for that pure, beautiful white skin. It is too deep-rooted in our psyche," said Enakshi Chakraborty, who heads Eskimo India, a modeling agency that brings East European models here. "Advertisers for international as well as Indian brands call me and say, 'We are looking for a gori [Hindi for white] model with dark hair.' Some ask, 'Do you have white girls who are Indian-looking?' They want white girls who suit the Indian palate."

Indians' color fixation is also evident in classified newspaper ads and on Web sites that help arrange marriages. The descriptive terms used for skin color run the gamut: "very fair," "fair," "wheat-ish," "wheat-ish-medium," "wheat-ish-dark," "dark" and "very dark."

Family elders here commonly comment on a newborn baby's color, after checking out the gender. One of the best-selling skin creams in India is called Fair & Lovely. A men's version, Fair and Handsome, was launched last year.

"The Indian mind-set prefers light skin. My pictures are routinely Photoshopped to make me look a bit lighter -- a lot lighter, actually," Riya Ray, 23, a dark-skinned Indian model, said with a laugh. "But when I work in Britain and France, my color is praised as exotic. It is a two-way trend: Indian models are going abroad, and foreign models are coming here."

I can't help but think of Raj, from my first trip in India back in 2002.

He made frequent trips between Mysore and Bangalore on his silver Honda Hero Super Special motorcycle, and was seriously thinking about getting a helmet.

To protect your head? I asked.

"No, Cadda. To protect face from sun."


"So I do not become too dark."

Even Desi TJ - who's lived here for eight years - was concerned last month that his skin looked darker after two months in the Subcontinental sun.

Silly man. Doesn't he know that gori girls dig that sh-t?

Apparently not.

Click here for the full article.


  1. 50 ft. QE1:04 AM

    Hello dear,
    Can I post your blog in my blog? I could site it like you sited Mr.C It is very relevent!

    They did the baby doll experiment again last year and young African American children today are still choosing the white doll over the brown one!

    It makes me want to weep.

  2. i need that photo ad of srk please

  3. I always do find this cultural thing quite puzzling. In Mein Meri Patni Aur Woh, it is said, "How did you find such a fair girl in these parts?". What? I also do hear my in-laws speak like this, and am always baffled.

  4. Anonymous8:06 AM

    If the Bolly/Kolly/Tooly wood actors are any indicators of the quest for "fairness", then Tamil movies have the most dark skinned actors, including some superstars (Rajini, Vijaykanth etc.). I can't think of one Bollywood actor who is not "fair" skinned. Interesting.

  5. I recently got addicted to Tamil movies, and then discovered that many Bollywood movies copy the Tamil ones. Didn't know that. Oh, well, this is off-topic, but anyhow.

  6. Apparently the Tamil film industry is far bigger than the Hindi one. And their stars command bigger salaries (and, dare I say, are far more talented). And the Tamil language is more similar to Sanskrit than Hindi is, and, and, and -- ...... the cheekbones!

  7. and they are deliciously very dark...mmmm and dance like there's no tomorrow
    well...that seems to be enough for me.