"I had to constantly try and fit in it"
Former actress Sameera Reddy has opened up about how she tried hard to adhere to Bollywood’s beauty standards.
She is one of several actresses who have spoken about the matter.
For many years, Bollywood has glorified lighter skin. Darker skin toned actresses tend to be sidelined in the industry.
Many actresses have even gone through skin lightening and other processes in order to look perfect on screen.
In an interview with Bollywood Bubble, Sameera explained that she had tried everything to fit in the industry.
She said: “I was told I was too dark, too tall, too broad. I didn’t fit into that girl next door look. I had to constantly try and fit in it and it really exhausted and tired me.
“I don’t regret it because that was my learning to learn to come to this point of loving myself unconditionally.
“You have to go through a point where you actually hate yourself because when you come to this point of hating yourself so much and break into pieces, you can put yourself back together in the most beautiful way possible.”
As an actress, Sameera was expected to look a certain way but insisted that it was not discrimination.
“It was not discrimination. More than that it was more of you have to look a certain way, whether you have to pad your chest or hips. There was always something that I had to fix.
“When you meet somebody, you say, ‘Wow, you are looking so good, you have lost so much weight’.
“My problem is that as a society that is something that we applaud. People are always applauding the wrong thing. So, as a society, we need to change.”
During her second pregnancy, Sameera started a campaign called #ImperfectlyPerfect which addressed body image issues and advocated self-love.
She also admitted that after her first pregnancy, she put on weight.
“My campaign comes from the fact that I felt completely disillusioned and broken after being pregnant the first time when I gained weight and was 105 kgs.
“The perfect body and the perfect face that I worked on, for my film career, broke apart and I was completely lost.”
On whether she regrets doing what she did to fit in, Sameera said:
“That was my job and it was expected from me and I had to do it. And I’m sure girls today still have to do it.”
“I can’t blame anybody because that was the requirement of being a glamorous actress.
“There are many girls who have a great body and who are naturally slim and fair and it was not as exhausting as I did.”
Sameera Reddy made her acting debut in the 2002 film Maine Dil Tujhko Diya. She was last seen in the 2013 Kannada film Varadhanayaka.