Elle magazine has stumbled into a race row after allegedly whitening the skin of a Bollywood actress on its cover.
Readers reacted with fury after it was suggested that the fashion magazine might have digitally ‘bleached’ the complexion of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a former Miss World who has also starred in Bride & Prejudice and The Pink Panther 2.
The 37-year-old appears on the cover of this month’s Indian edition of the magazine. However, her skin appears to be several shades lighter than her normal color.
Inside the magazine, she is again pictured in a series of shots, all showing her with pale skin.
It is not the first time that Elle has been attacked for appearing to lighten the skin of its non-white models.
In September this year, black actress Gabourey Sidibe appeared on the cover of the U.S. magazine with a much paler complexion. On that occasion Elle claimed it had not altered the Precious star’s skin any more than that of the other models photographed alongside her.
Fans have been posting angry comments online about the latest cover, with one saying: ‘It’s annoying because it seems like lighter skin is always in fashion as if darker skin is something to be frowned upon.’
Skin lightening is a controversial issue in India and those with a lighter complexion are often perceived to be more successful and wealthy. Skin-lightening products aimed at young men and women now form a multi-million-pound industry.
Yesterday, spokesmen for Mrs Bachchan and Elle were unavailable for comment.