“I was a third born girl child to my parents. At the time, my relatives weren’t happy that I was a girl. They asked my parents to abandon me but my parents knew better and moved to Bangalore. Being brought up here was challenging. Everyone except my parents and sister, assumed that I’d be bound to failure no matter what ‘cause of my gender. I wanted to prove them wrong. And the first step to do was “DREAM”. I dreamt of becoming an astronaut or a doctor like any other kid but eventually, modeling called out to me the most.”

“The journey wasn’t as easy. While I was studying in Mangalore, I was the kid with the darkest complexion in class and everyone kept me at arm’s length. That was the first time I stumbled upon colourism.”

“It wasn’t any different during my 11th and 12th in National College, Bangalore. I was bullied constantly for how I looked. For 2 years, I suffered from body dysmorphic disorder and depression.”

“It was when I was pursuing Bachelors that I realised I’d been wasting my time. I started modeling and doing photo shoots often. Eventually, my confidence boosted.”

“The biggest shock was to find out that some bigger brands hold prejudicial values too. Sometime back, I was supposed to model for a popular motorbike brand in Coimbatore. During my stay in a hotel, I overheard a rep saying, ‘She’s dark. She can’t be in the shoot.’ They had asked me to leave in the middle of the night. I stood my ground and told them I would respond to this legally. Only then did they cooperate with me. I didn’t model for their shoots though.”

Equality for all

“I have had my share of troubles in the industry but the tables have turned. Modeling is about marketing and they’ve finally realised the importance of connecting on a global level. Thankfully, there are more opportunities for people with every skin colour.”

Dream on

“One thing that kept me going despite discrimination in my life was that I made sure I didn’t stop dreaming. I wasn’t treated for depression. I came out of it with a desire to become something. It would’ve been hard for me to achieve anything without dreaming. I am Niveditha Rajan.”