Client Nina Davuluri Quoted by Reuters and NY Times on Long-Awaited Brand Changes to Skin-Lightening Products in South Asia

Last week, Unilever announced that it would drop the word “fair” from its skin-lightening products line “Fair & Lovely”. The announcement comes after a fresh wave of backlash against the skin-lightening product lines of many brands across the cosmetics industry, including those of industry giants Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble, amidst renewed global fervor for the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racial prejudice.

Skin-lightening products are heavily marketed in South Asia, and the “Fair & Lovely” line’s largest market is in India, where many Bollywood celebrities and other icons have endorsed and promoted the products, further advancing harmful beauty ideals of lighter skin being “better” or more desirable than darker skin.

RPJ client Nina Davuluri, who in 2014 became the first Indian American crowned Miss America, wrote an open letter to Unilever’s CEO pressing him to remove the product line entirely. Davuluri was quoted in Reuters and The New York Times saying, “This is a big win, but it’s only the beginning. While Unilever removing words such as ‘fair, white, & lightening,’ and changing the [. . .] brand name is a step towards inclusion, it’s only one piece of a much larger fight to end colorism.”

We proudly support our client’s activism on this issue and strongly commend her letter to Unilever.