Dia Mirza Says Looking Too Good Can Also Be A Disadvantage For An Actor, And Her Reason Makes Sense!
Having always been overweight and body shamed for it, I always thought people who’re thin have it so easy. Their’s is the life, you know? Eating whatever they want, never worrying about calories or not being able to find clothes their size when the go out shopping. How did it feel to be God’s favourite? I wondered. It would take me a very, very long time, and lots of conscious effort to accept that the other side of the spectrum could have serious issues with their body image too. And today, having learnt and unlearnt all of that, I now understand that the grass always feels greener on the other side. And even if it is greener, it’s not necessarily without some worms in the soil of its own. The reason I remember this little lesson today is because of a revelation made by Dia Mirza recently, about how her skin colour, which is on the fairer side, was sometimes a major disadvantage for her as an actor.
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I know, you can’t help but feel somewhat of a disbelief when you hear this. Isn’t it a norm for the heroines to look beautiful with luscious long hair, milky white skin and a peaches and cream complexion? It’s the basis of our restrictive beauty standards. At least in Bollywood, we still haven’t been able to move past them. So how can Dia Mirza, who was once crowned Miss Asia Pacific, and who looks like a beautiful, delicate porcelain doll, ever feel disadvantaged because of her skin colour? Bollywood would totally lap that up.
And then she made a point in a recent interview that had me convinced.
“I may be sounding very ungrateful. But because of the colour of my skin I am at a disadvantage. As much as I know and am acutely aware of the fact that darker complexioned women have it hard as well. But there is a certain type of cinema I love. I love the thinking cinema but the stereotypes attached to the thinking cinema and women who play those parts are so limiting.”
Of course! What Dia Mirza said makes sense. Mainstream commercial cinema has always had an inclination towards those ‘ideal beauty standards’ that somehow don’t apply to its heroes so much, but are solely made for the actresses who play the female lead. Fair skin, long hair, curvaceous figure, and so on.
But then, when you look at arthouse cinema, the kind that wants to make serious movies with substance, they are also, consciously or subconsciously, biased toward a certain kind of standard for their actors and actresses. It may have started off as a way for serious actors who just want to worship their craft but don’t look the part of your ’typical Bollywood hero/heroine’ to find a way to showcase their talent. But over the years, even this has become somewhat of a norm where the actors have to look a certain way to, for the lack of a better phrase, ‘be perceived seriously’. Isn’t that why actors and actresses who play small-town residents or poor villagers are often brown-faced and made to lose weight to look a certain way? It’s some kind of a mental barrier that prevents us for perceiving the character over the actor.
And just like that, what Dia Mirza has managed to change another perception that we might have been living with for far too long. We’ve often seen examples of how people who look good are considered vain and their achievements dismissed as a result of their good looks. They’re never taken seriously. Remember how, in Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods, was often perceived as the dumb blonde stereotype because of how she looked. She aced her LSATs (entrance exams for law students), won a high profile case, and was really intuitive and a hard worker. And yet, she continued to be perceived with a certain disdain. We saw the same thing happen with Blake Lively’s Serena Van Der Woodsen in Gossip Girl, where her good looks prevented her from keeping professional and sometimes even personal relationships because her beauty was considered a bit too overwhelming by some,
Also Read: Chitrangda Singh Talks About Losing Modelling Assignments Because Of Her Dusky Skin Colour. Why Are Woman Judged For Being Dusky?
The Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein actor is also celebrating 20 years of being crowned Miss Asia Pacific. She posted about it on Instagram with a nostalgia infused video, captioned with a verse from the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.
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And while our attitude towards beauty pageants has become slightly cold, considering they tend to celebrate superficial beauty over anything else, Dia Mirza says that winning the title did help her in more ways than one.
“I totally recognize the fact that winning this international pageant was a big deal. It gave me a voice, it gave me a platform, it empowered me financially, it gave me opportunities to work. I am still discovering. There is so much more I know about myself than when I was 18 and there is also just so much that is still to be discovered.”
Well, congratulations to Dia Mirza on this milestone. And we hope she gets to play the roles that she wants to, and isn’t hindered by her physical attributes. It has to be about talent, always!