The Miss India contest, which kick-started many superstar careers in Bollywood is a competition that has the power to change lives. However, this year, the selected contestants found themselves in the middle of a storm because of a photo collage that depicted all the finalists as lookalikes.
What is wrong with this picture? pic.twitter.com/61B23aYFr6— Sameer Sewak (@Naa_Cheese) May 28, 2019
Critics suggested that the aforementioned photo, portraying 30 headshots of scintillatingly beautiful finalists with wide smiles in their publicity shots showed that the organisers are obsessed with fair skin.
But it began to gain traction when netizens started to share and flood it with comments all over the internet. Some said the skin tone and shoulder-length hair were the same and others joked about how they all looked as eachother. Maybe the lack of diversity in skin color highlighted Indian women’s obsession of looking fair even though nothing was wrong with the image of the women themselves.
While talking to a foreign news outlet, the beauty pageant’s grooming expert, Shamita Singh, relayed that the original images were edited as the finalists looked like “plastic.”
She further added that the photoshop team were asked not to alter skin and blamed a tight publication deadline for the change in appearance of the models.
"This is not the skin tones of the actual pictures," she said. “Some of the show's past winners like Nehal Chudasama, Srinidhi Shetty and Anukreethy Vas had darker skin.” She concluded that, “these are just some of our girls in the last year. Everyone's skin colour is kept as is."
These contests have turned out to be very profitable since the mid-1990’s. India has produced Miss India’s that have gone to have lucrative careers in Bollywood. These include Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen and Priyanka Chopra who also won global titles.
“Light skinned” women have been the most successful throughout these contests. There has been a surge in the beauty institutions that train young women and aspire them to participate and win beauty pageant contests.