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Amna Ilyas says she tried to achieve fair skin to fit in

Actress and model Amna Ilyas shared her struggle with wanting to be fairer once and highlighted the issue of colourism.

In a recent interview with BBC Urdu, the Baaji actor revealed that she used fairness creams to become what she believed the industry wanted her to be when she entered it.

She said everyone tried to make her look fairer to meet societal beauty standards; be it the makeup artists through two makeup two tones lighter than her natural shade or other people through editing and Photoshop.

“The client would tell them to make me fairer. Then, they would Photoshop and airbrush the pictures,” she said during the interview. “Sometimes, I’d see the final pictures and think, ‘That’s not me,” she said.

Amna Ilyas shared the directors kept comparing her to fairer actresses. “In the drama serials I worked on, I would often overhear directors on set say my skin tone doesn’t ‘match’ with the other actors in the frame. I found that very strange; of course they don’t match, because there are different people, each with their own personalities and skin. How can they ‘match’?”

In order to fit in, the actress admitted she desired to have a fair complexion.“When I was growing up, my aunts and cousins would always make snide comments that, ‘Oh, she’s got a tan because she goes to school. You should use lemon juice and gram flour on your face for a “glow” and “beautiful” skin.’”

A fairness cream ad made her realise that this is not her. “I did a fairness cream ad, and while I was doing that ad, I realised that this not me. After that, I decided I wouldn’t be a part of anything that made me uncomfortable or sell a lie.”

She wants girls who have the same complexion as her to not fall for these beauty standards and think they are ugly.

Commenting on Pakistan’s entertainment industry’s portrayal of women, Amna Ilyas pointed out how the top actresses have a fair complexion. “The top five TV heroines are extremely fair-skinned — and those who weren’t [fair to begin with] have made themselves fairer to be a part of that race.”

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