In terms of what is considered beautiful, there is no doubt that Priyanka Chopra possesses those qualities. The 35-year-old star of Quantico is a stunner and a trailblazer for ethnic women everywhere, as she currently holds the distinction of being the first Indian actor to star as the lead a primetime drama on an American television. But, as she shares with Vogue India, she didn’t always feel comfortable in her own skin and regrets endorsing a product that alters one of her best features.
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When asked about getting attention for her looks, Chopra says she was a late bloomer. “Before 15, I had a lot of self-esteem issues. I was very conscious of the color of my skin. I was very conscious of being, like, a super-gawky, skinny teenager.” When asked whether she felt more self-conscious about her skin when she lived in the U.S. as a teen or back home in India, she clarified, “[In] India, because there you’re prettier if you’re fairer.”
Speaking about the underlying messages women in her country receive equating skin color to value, she goes on to describe how she made a choice she now regrets: “A lot of girls with a darker skin hear things like, ‘Oh, poor thing, she’s dark.’ In India, they advertise skin-lightening creams: ‘Your skin’s gonna get lighter in a week.’ I used it [when I was very young]. Then when I was an actor, around my early 20s, I did a commercial for a skin-lightening cream. I was playing that girl with insecurities. And when I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh shit. What did I do?’”
Eventually the Bollywood and Hollywood star says she was able to see her darker skin tone as one of her assets, and thankfully so, because she represents a more diverse and inclusive beauty standard for many women of different ethnicities. “I started talking about being proud of the way I looked,” she added. “I actually like my skin tone.”