A model who was once rejected for her dark skin says her likeness to the star has helped to boost her career. Renee Kujur from Bagicha, Chhattisgarh in India struggled to break in to the modelling industry for years due to her dark complexion and had her skin frequently lightened by makeup artists.
But she revealed in an interview with the Hindustan Times how her popularity soared after photographers began comparing her to the Bajan pop star.
Renee said: ‘Photographers would tell their clients that I resemble Rihanna. That way, it was easier to convince them. No one could deny that Rihanna wasn’t beautiful.’
Renee, who says she still gets only a third of the work light-skinned models in the industry get, says that being compared to Rihanna has worked in her favour.
She continued: ‘That sort of worked in my favour. Those who had called me kaali (black) and unattractive has to take back their words. ‘Few are willing to turn around rules.
For most of the people, beauty strictly means fair skin. It will take time to rewrite set norms, but I am happy I am part of the change.’
Renee was publicly insulted as a toddler when she took part in a fancy dress competition, and the crowd laughed at her skin saying ‘Dekho delho kaali pari (look, a black fairy)’.
Twenty years since the incident, she has gained a legion of support from fans on Twitter who believe she looks like Rihanna. One fan recently wrote: ‘At first glimpse I thought it was RiRi!’ Another commented: ‘Wow didn’t read the headline I thought all day it was Rihanna.’
Others have been less convinced by the model’s resemblance to the singer but call on her to be recognised in her own right.
One person said: ‘She’s a very beautiful lady, but they were forcing it with saying ‘lookalike’. They have similar eye shape and thicker lips, but other than that, she doesn’t really look like Rihanna. Another wrote: ‘Stop comparing, let her make her own name.’
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