Being an actor is not an easy task, often actors have to do projects that they are not happy with or don't want to do. However, not always can they deny such projects because, in the end, they have to survive in the industry. One such incident happened with Priyanka Chopra as well and she regrets it till today.
Priyanka Chopra recently talked about the issue of colourism in Bollywood when she joined the industry. She talked about how it was normal to prefer fair-skinned female actors and she was often referred to as dusky. Chopra talked about a fairness cream ad she did during the 2000s in which she was shown as a dark-skinned flower girl who was ignored by a guy but when she used the fairness cream and became fair, she not only got the guy but also a good job. She said that she knew it was problematic yet she had to do it because it was a big beauty brand and as a female actor, beauty brands really elevate your career. She also said that she was often made fair-skinned for movies and projects using lighting and make-up because people were obsessed with fair skin back in those days.
Priyanka Chopra on Fairness Cream Ad
No matter how opinionated and feminist Priyanka Chopra is now, there was a time when she was a struggling Bollywood actor who often had projects that she wasn't interested in. Even when she became successful, actors have always found it difficult to continue their careers if they went against a director or any influential person. Female actors especially had very little say in the projects they did and they had to dress and look the way the makers wanted them to. If they did not, they were boycotted, called difficult, portrayed in a bad light and won't receive projects anymore. That is the harsh reality of the industry.
Considering how important beauty brands are to a female actor's career, actors had to take up projects they were offered to survive. There was a time when Bollywood had many projects that were misogynistic and sexist like these fairness cream ads. When most of the projects were problematic, it was often a choice between bad and worse for female actors. Though the industry has changed a lot since then and beauty brands are embracing all Indian skin tones, there are still some problematic beauty standards that still prevail such as body shape and flawless skin. And actors are taking them up because to survive in the industry, they have to be in the spotlight and perceived a certain way by the industry.
People only see the fame and fan following of actors and models but what they don't see is the pressure on them to constantly be careful of what they do and say in case they offend someone and their career is ruined forever. They can't be very opinionated, they cannot even be dumb, and they have to maintain that balance between holding on to their principles and pleasing the industry people and media even when they are emotionally exhausted.
This often takes a toll on their mental health and the results don't need to be mentioned here. That is why when you are in awe of an actor's life, remember they have to sacrifice their own right to express themselves to get where they are.
Views expressed by the author are their own