Not too long ago, being ‘Fair and Lovely’ seemed to be the only indicator of fame, adoration or success. But those days, miladies, are long gone. Today, little brown girls need not filter their faces or tone down their fire to feel beautiful they have so many role models ruling ramps, TV screens, stages and scripts everywhere and they’re all unapologetically brown, badass and beautiful.
Here are our favorite desi girls running the world:
If you haven’t heard of Neelam Gill yet, it won’t be long before you do. She’s the girl with big, brown eyes and honied skin peering down from Burberry campaigns across the world. What’s the big deal about her? Once an awkward, glasses-and-braces-clad teenager, 19-year-old Gill’s quickly become fashion’s poster child for diversity as the first ever model of Indian descent to sign Burberry that too, as her first job! Not only that, she recently graced the cover of Elle UK and has worked for other prestigious fashion houses, including Kanye’s. The Grammy-award-winning artist even gave her a pep talk on breaking boundaries and reaching for the stars. Talk about reppin’ us real good!
When Mindy Kaling’s parents left India for America, they probably had little idea that their daughter would become a household name. Trailblazing through Hollywood with hold-your-tummy-funny roles in The Office and The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, the comedian-turned-actress now plays triple roles as writer, producer and actor in her eponymously titled show, The Mindy Project. She’s also signed up to the much-awaited Oceans 8 alongside an award-winning ensemble cast. Unapologetically funny, smart and multitalented, Kaling just gave birth to a baby girl and we’ve got to say, we’re jelly about those genes.
Sometimes, the best things in life happen by accident and it so happened that one of the most memorable faces in the beauty industry came to us the same way. Pooja Mor was an engineering graduate when she won a Fresh Faces contest that landed her on the roster of top modelling agencies in Mumbai, New York, London, Paris and Milan. Today, she’s got Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Cavalli, Givenchy and many others tucked away in her brand-belt. She ain’t showing any signs of slowing down either. In an unforgivably fair and lovely world, Mor makes a case for driven, dusky girls who can accomplish anything they put their minds to.
Can you remember when Padma Lakshmi was perceived as not much else but the paramour of a Booker-Prize-winning novelist? We sure as a hell can’t. Then model, now a bona fide empress of the entertainment industry, there’s not much Padma can’t do. The Chennai-born beauty was actually the first-ever Indian model to have a career internationally, but she’s since retired the ramp to host several successful TV shows, including the Emmy-nominated Top Chef, write columns for Vogue, Harper’s and The New York Times, and pen an award-winning cookbook. A beauty with brains? You better believe it!
Lily Singh was born to make people laugh and she’s done a damn good job of it. The Canadian-born comedian and actress, better known as her moniker ‘Superwoman’ made us all belly laugh with her regular vlogged-routines, so much so that she became and still remains one of YouTube’s highest-paid influencers. Since then, she’s won several awards for her work, released a feature film, and authored a number-one-bestselling book How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life a fair title, because conquer it she has.
Can a list of #BrownGirlGoals go without any mention of our much-loved Piggy Chops? The nation first fell in love with Priyanka when she took home the Miss World crown in 2000. Next, she broke Bollywood. Today, the actress and singer has set an unbeatable precedent, blazing her way through Hollywood with the hugely successful Quantico. Oh, and let’s not forgot her Padma Shri and National Award, or the fact that she was ranked as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. AND Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. AND UNICEF’S global Goodwill Ambassador twice over. That’s more life goals than we could conjure in 10 lifetimes, wouldn’t you agree?