Freida Pinto is 'sure' L'Oreal lightened her skin for a 2011 campaign

'That’s not the colour of my skin you saw'

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Freida Pinto attends the UK Premiere of "LOVE SONIA" at Curzon Bloomsbury on January 23, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
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Freida Pinto is the latest star to speak out about the possibility of brands lightening her skin in campaigns, accusing beauty giant L'Oreal of altering her colouring in a 2011 campaign.

In a new interview with The Guardian, the Slumdog Millionaire star claims that L'Oreal – who she had a lucrative seven-year contract with – lightened her skin in some of the images used.

“I’m sure they did, because that’s not the colour of my skin you saw in a few of the campaigns,” she told the newspaper.

When asked if she complained about the image editing, she replied: “I said to my agent after the first controversy that I would like to see the pictures before, and I would like to be able to question them on colour correction.”

From there, she took legal steps to make sure it didn't happen again.

“All the brands, including L’Oréal, have a skin-lightening range that they sell in India and I made them put it in my contract that I would not touch that with a barge pole,” she added. “If you don’t put it in your contract before you sign on, they can come and you will be compelled to do it.”

Actress Freida Pinto poses for a portrait session on July 21, 2009, New York, NY.
Freida Pinto, L'Oreal, July 21, 2009
New York, NY United States
July 21, 2009
Photo by Christopher Lane/Contour by Getty Images

To license this image (17197598), contact Contour by Getty Images
A L'Oreal campaign starring Pinto from 2009. Getty Images

When the campaign was released, L'Oreal denied editing the images in a statement, saying: “It is categorically untrue that L'Oreal Paris altered Ms Pinto's features or skin-tone in the campaign for Project Runway ‘Colours Take Flight’ limited-edition collection.”

'Airbrushing is bad for mental health'

Pinto is not the only star to be caught in skin-editing controversy. The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil has spoken about being made to "look white" in photo shoots throughout her career.

24th Critics Choice Awards - Arrivals - Santa Monica, California, U.S., January 13, 2019 - Jameela Jamil. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Jameela Jamil arriving at the 24th Critics Choice Awards on January 13. Reuters 

"People have made me look white in so many of the magazines and campaigns I've shot for," she told Krishnan Guru-Murthy in podcast Ways to Change the World. "Airbrushing and changing my ethnicity is bad for my mental health, it's not just bad for the mental health of the girls who are looking at it.

“It’s dangerous for the women in this position as much as it is for everyone reading it.”

By contrast, back in December 2018, Khloe Kardashian was accused of choosing to lighten the skin of her daughter, True Thompson, in images posted to Instagram.

Commenting on a festive photo of Kardashian with her daughter and mother, Kris Jenner, fans noticed that the nine-month-old looked lighter in the newer images.

“She definitely lightens the baby’s skin, or at the very least she uses filters to make her appear lighter," one critic commented on Reddit. "In the videos she’s posted of the baby she’s much darker but in pics she’s waaaay lighter.”

A second added: “Lightening your skin when you come out looking more dark or black than they deem acceptable.”