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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 28 February 2021

Priyanka Chopra expresses regret over advertising skin-lightening creams: 'I am deeply sorry'

The star had previously endorsed 'fairness' formulas by Ponds and Garnier

Priyanka Chopra Jonas has apologised for advertising skin-lightening creams in the past. Reuters
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has apologised for advertising skin-lightening creams in the past. Reuters

Priyanka Chopra Jonas has revealed one of the biggest "missteps" in her career, as she expressed her regret over appearing in adverts for skin-lightening cosmetics.

The Indian actress, 38, had previously endorsed "fairness" creams for beauty brands Ponds and Garnier.

Chopra Jonas revealed she used to lighten her skin with talcum powder as a child in her new memoir, Unfinished, which was released this week.

“I thought about how pained I’d felt when I was called kaali [a derogatory term meaning dark-skinned] as a child,” she wrote. “I was now promoting the destructive messages that had so eaten away at my sense of self-worth when I was growing up, and I knew the only person I could blame was myself.”

The actress was criticised last year after releasing a statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, yet not addressing her earlier skin-lightening campaigns.

An interview she had given in 2017 also resurfaced in the wake of her BLM comments, in which she said: "I am very proud to be dusky myself. I would never go round saying you need to become fair and that’s the only way you’ll be beautiful, because I don’t endorse that.”

Calling such endorsements “one of my most profound regrets”, Chopra Jonas added in her memoir: “I can’t go back and change what I did, but I can apologise, and I do so sincerely.

“To all the people who saw the harmful messaging that I contributed to, to all the people who still have to see commercials like these in every medium – I am deeply sorry.”

The White Tiger star was previously the face for a Garnier cream that promotes “fairness plus dark spots reduction". In another advert promoting a Ponds skin-lightening cream, the actress played a woman who lost her boyfriend to a lighter-skinned girl, before winning back her love after using the "fairness" product.

Addressing the latter advert in a new interview with The Guardian, Chopra Jonas admitted she "felt sad" when she saw the campaign.

"I saw myself through my 13-year-old eyes when I was making concoctions in my bathroom trying to lighten my skin tone.”

Last year, beauty giants including L'Oreal and Johnson & Johnson scrapped marketing that promoted fairness amid widespread criticism of skin-lightening products, with Unilever and Procter & Gamble also called out for ranges that promise to lighten or brighten skin tones.

In her new book, Chopra Jonas recounts the highs and lows of her 20-year career, which has taken her from beauty queen to Hollywood star, via Bollywood.

The actress also gets candid about her personal life, delving into her regrets, her personal grief and her whirlwind romance with pop star husband Nick Jonas, whom she married in December 2018.

Updated: February 11, 2021 11:55 AM

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