Meeting Nicole Kidman up close, I realised that she looks like a beautiful doll.
I have never met any woman as tall as her. I thought all the women from my slum would be so small in front of her. But her skin, lips and hands, they were all perfect. I thought if I touched her, she might get dirty. [More troubling stuff here]
What sounds like a heart-warming story of a girl meeting a world-famous starlet and wishing to be as beautiful as her (white, blonde, and very thin), is the stuff of fairy tales. But the meeting between Australian Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman and the child star of Slumdog Millionaire, Rubina Ali, recalls to our postcolonialist mind the history of imperialist worship and testament to a racist standard of beauty that sees women of the subcontinent subject to the alluring promises of skin whitening creams. What’s even sadder is that at a young and impressionable age, Rubina Ali has already formed the view that her skin, her race, her caste, are dirty and contaminating.
Update: Gareth alerted me to the new advert for Schweppes that Rubina and Kidman collaborated on. It’s just a little more than a minute long, but it’s long enough to hurt my eyes from rolling.
“What did you expect?” Orientalism, Miss Kidman.