It’s not surprising when you read a news piece about an African model finding it difficult to get work in India because of her skin colour is it? Haven’t we been dealing with the issue of colour from the time we were colonised by the British?
Back then it was an outside country deciding what was beautiful and “brown” wasn’t considered beautiful or even deserving of many things. Looks like “looks” are judged very conventionally and India did take that from the British when they left. We have been obsessed with “far skin” for ages and no number of campaigns and ads about all colours being beautiful have been enough to change the core of our outlook. But this time it’s not just the looks that’s making life difficult for this woman from Nigeria. It’s also her not being “Indian”.
Ugochi Igwilo, a Nigerian model who has been working in India as a model and says that initiatives such as the India-Africa Forum Summit should happen more often. She thinks the relationship between India and Africa needs more nurturing. Both Indians and Africans are doing great work in India but India makes it very difficult for Africans to work in the country with strict laws.
Igwilo came to India to pursue higher studies and then got into the modelling industry which looked like an easy enough field from the outside but only when she got into it did she realise that India has preferences when it comes to colour. They do prefer fairer Indian models and white models over people like Igwilo who is dark and has short hair.
Igwilo is returning to her own country because she is not able to keep up with the Indian laws and also the modelling industry’s preferences. She will travel to Europe and then to her country without giving up on her modelling dreams of course.