Priyanka Chopra is frequently deemed one of the “most beautiful women in the world,” but even she has struggled with deep-rooted insecurities. For Chopra, that insecurity is the color of her skin. In an interview with Vogue India, the 35-year-old actress opened up about how her insecurities with her “dusky” skin tone led to her experimenting with skin-lightening creams and eventually starring in commercials for them—experiences she deeply regrets.
The “Quantico” star, who spent the bulk of her life in India, explained how rampant colorism (discrimination based on your skin color or shade) in her home country affected her perception of beauty growing up. “I was very conscious of the color of my skin,” Chopra said. “[In India] you’re prettier if you’re fairer.”
Chopra’s insecurities were so severe that, in an attempt make her skin less dark, she began using skin-lightening creams. “A lot of girls with a darker skin hear things like, ‘Oh, poor thing, she’s dark,'” Chopra said. “In India they advertise skin-lightening creams: ‘Your skin’s gonna get lighter in a week.’ I used it [when I was very young].”
It wasn’t until Chopra was in her early 20s and acting in a commercial for a skin-lightening cream that she realized the negative beauty standard she was feeding into and promoting. “I did a commercial for a skin-lightening cream. I was playing that girl with insecurities,” Chopra said. “And when I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh shit. What did I do?’ I started talking about being proud of the way I looked. I actually like my skin tone.”
Though Chopra was able to move past her insecurities, skin-lightening creams (which often use mercury to bleach one’s skin) is still a popular beauty product in many countries, including the United States. We hope other celebs can speak out against colorism and hammer home the point that all shades of skin are beautiful.