Dark Skinned Model Uses Her Resemblance To Rihanna To Challenge Prejudice
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Looking a lot like someone who is famous can't be an easy thing to have to deal with. You'd imagine that you'd get all of the bad parts of being a famous person - people taking photos of you, being harassed in public places - but none of the wealth and fun stuff that comes with it.
However, one Indian model has used the fact that she looks quite a bit like the Bajan singer Rihanna to her advantage.
You see, in India, some people are criticised and shunned for having dark skin, but Renee Kajur has used her resemblance to Rihanna to develop and grow her modelling career.
Speaking to The Hindustan Times, she said: "Photographers would tell their clients that I resemble Rihanna,
"That way, it was easier to convince them. No one could deny that Rihanna was beautiful. That sort of worked in my favour. Those who had called me kaali [a pejorative term for dark-skinned people] and unattractive had to take back their words."
"With such a deep-rooted prejudice in people's mind, it would've been very tough to get work. The Rihanna factor turned out to be a blessing,
"Rihanna has already convinced people that she's sexy and beautiful, and the West is crazy about her. If I resemble her, how can I be unattractive? That's how our mind works. I don't know where I would've landed without Rihanna.
At the beginning of her career, Kajur was constantly rejected by agents for her dark complexion. She has also faced off the advances that are common in the modelling industry from people trying to convince her that she must have sex with people to get work.
She continued: "They told me all models are into prostitution. I wouldn't become a model unless I pleased clients. Being dark had already killed my chances."
She also recounted the tale of a make-up artist who told her: "Anyone can do the make-up for a beautiful girl; the real challenge is to make a dark girl look good and I've done it."
Despite her resemblance to the famous singer, she still has to fight to get work and only manages to get around a third of the work that other, lighter skinned models receive.
That said, she is confident that through her work she is turning the tide, albeit slowly.
She said: "Few are willing to bend rules. For most people, beauty strictly means fair skin. It'll take time to rewrite norms, but I'm happy that I'm part of the change,"
She also said that one day she would like to meet Rihanna, she added: "she has, in a way, turned around my destiny. I'd love to meet her, surprise her, and thank her,"