Priyanka Chopra is a red carpet pro — but she struggled with body image long before she became one. The Quantico star, 35, used to be insecure about her skin tone, and even starred in a commercial for a skin-lightening cream years ago.
Growing up in India, the actress says she was made to feel self-conscious because fairer skin tones were valued over “dusky” ones such as hers. “A lot of girls with a darker skin hear things like, ‘Oh, poor thing, she’s dark,'” she told Vogue India in a new interview. “In India they advertise skin-lightening creams: ‘Your skin’s gonna get lighter in a week.'”
Chopra says she used the creams on her own skin, and even endorsed one herself, which she immediately regretted: “I used it [when I was very young]. Then when I was an actor, around my early twenties, 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?'”
Since then, the star has used the experience to make an impact promoting positivity and diversity. “I started talking about being proud of the way I looked,” she recalled, adding “I actually like my skin tone.”
Chopra also opened up about being bullied as a high schooler in school in America — and eventually moving back to India in the 11th grade because of it. “There was this girl who was a major bully,” she said. “I think she didn’t like me because her boyfriend liked me, or some high-school dynamic. She made my life hell. She used to call me names and would push me against the locker. High school’s hard for everybody, and then there’s this woman. I asked my mom [who lived in India], ‘What do you think about me coming back?’ She flew down and picked me up.”
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