KARACHI: Pakistani model Mushk Kaleem is so gorgeous, it’s blinding. So, to hear that brands often whitewash her images or altering her makeup in order for her to appear fair-skinned is quite devastating.
The model took to Instagram to call out clients for making her wear lighter makeup and photoshopping her images to make her more “acceptable”.
“No. I’m not a pearlescent white-skinned girl, I’m dusky and bronze. To all the clients who book me for shoots and then expect me to douse myself in lighter makeup to make me look ‘acceptable for lawn’, I’d rather say you not book me at all,” she wrote.
She went on to state, “My skin colour defines me, it’s who I am, so if you feel like you need to whiten me up so that I match the ‘requirements of the brief, or the shoot’ or because ‘Lahoris have issues with dark models for summer lawn’ or whatever, please don’t consider me for your shoots.”
Whitewashing and colourism is rampant in our fashion industry and media, and is rarely called out. South Asian skin is more commonly dark but it’s hard to accept our own brown skin when we’re constantly being fed unrealistic beauty standards by an industry in which every detail is manipulated to appear ‘perfect’.
“In the past few weeks I’ve had photographers and designers tell me that they’re only making my skin whiter because ‘the brand can’t afford to get hate comments on luxury collections’, because ‘we need a pretty feel for the shoot’. Fuck that,” Mushk went on to say.
We couldn’t agree more. We need more to do more to challenge the notion that dark is not synonymous lovely, and to normalise dark-skin tones.