Padma Lakshmi is calling out a line of cosmetics that “did a number” on her self-esteem when she was a child.
Taking to Twitter, the “Top Chef” host slammed Fair & Lovely, a skin-lightening cream that was introduced to the Indian market in the 1970s.
In her tweet, Lakshmi takes aim at the cream, which is marketed toward people of colour, implying they’ll be more “lovely” if their skin is less dark.
“For years I‘ve been saying that ‘Fair & Lovely’ needs to pack their fake cosmetics and GO!!” she wrote. “Anyone else out there sick and tired of being told that fair=lovely? Because I sure as hell am.”
According to Lakshmi, she’s “been hearing that crap since my girlhood and it did a number on my self-esteem.”
For people who don’t know what I’m referring to, “Fair & Lovely” is a skin-lightening cream marketed to POC: pic.twitter.com/pwd93iSPEE
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 9, 2020
Laksmi’s tweet was praised on Twitter for calling out a very subtle form of racism that has become a bone of contention with South Asians, with numerous Twitter users thanking her for illuminating the issue.
Yes! I once had a revealing moment with Unilever’s CEO about it: https://t.co/c8yaHWH9R6
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) June 9, 2020
I've written and spoken on this issue: https://t.co/9FwPGLu4xm
— Anushay Hossain (@AnushayHossain) June 9, 2020
Yep it messed me up. I always thought my skin color wasn’t good and that’s such a batshit thing to think about your own skin. Never ever making my niblings feel that way
— Amina Akhtar (@Drrramina) June 9, 2020
Fair & Lovely is the embodiment of colorism. My parents were dismayed when I married a guy who was browner. Aunties unconsciously praise my daughter for her fair complexion, inherited from her paternal grandma. My son, @ a tender age, cried over why he was the darkest of us.
— Staying@Home! (@AnitaSachariah) June 9, 2020
My father used Fair and Lovely products for over 4 decades…We just come for a place in India where Dark Skin is considered inferior unfortunately…And I want to be extremely clear..Fair and Lovely DOES NOT WORK…
— divesh gopal (@gopaldivesh) June 9, 2020
It's always appalled me, since the first time I heard of it. I imagine teenagers feeling like they need to lighten their skin to be loved, and it hurts my heart. By the time they've grown up, the damage is internalized.
— Susieus Maximus (@SusieusMaximus) June 9, 2020