A reader comment on a recent news article on Lakshmi Menon says, “She kind of looks like that model married to Salman Rushdie?” Another comment on the blog, High Heel Confidential, reads, “Ujjwala looks so much like Padma Lakshmi!” Blogger That’s So Fetch says, “I always get Padma mixed up with Freida Pinto from Slumdog Millionaire, ‘coz they’re both Indian and attractive.”
Take a look. Frieda Pinto, Padma Lakshmi, Ujjwala Raut and Lakshmi Menon — the four most popular Indian faces on the international fashion front bear such stark similarities to each other that one wonders if the only kind of Indian beauty that sells abroad is the stereotypical dusky, svelte kind.
Model Krishna Somani agrees, “Today people only want copies of everyone. Indians have a market abroad but for a certain kind of look. And Lakshmi, Ujjwala Padma and Frieda — all fit that mould. One look works and everyone promotes a copy of that look. Frieda is plain lucky.”
While Menon herself has confessed to being stereotyped as “exotic” often, a popular designer on the circuit says, “The West has always had a fascination for the exotic look. And dark skin with a swelte figure is just that... since Indian women are generally known to be voluptuous and short.”
A source at a leading Delhi-based modeling agency, who does not wish to be named, says, “It’s only in India that we are hung up on fair skin. Abroad, they have so much fair skin that they are keen on dusky browns. That’s why they love that look.”
Alyque Padamse, CEO, Advertising, says, “Yes, the world has a stereotype of Indian beauty — forgetting that we have beautiful women not only from South India, but also from Kashmir who are fair and have grey eyes.”