This Pakistani Model Is Calling Out Brands For ‘Color Shaming' And It's About Time We Talked About It

By Arslan Athar | 17 Jun, 2019

This model lashes back at color shaming. 


Mushk Kaleem is an up and coming model in the Pakistani modeling world. She’s worked on major projects and campaigns in the Pakistani fashion industry.

Source: @mushkkaleem / Instagram


She was very quickly climbed the ranks and has become a force in the industry. 

Source: @mushkkaleem / Instagram


Mushk took to Instagram to talk about the color shaming in the fashion industry. 

Colorism, sometimes referred to as ‘color shaming’, has always existed in our industry, but only recently have people begun to speak up against it. Colorism describes the prejudice against people with darker skin face or the bias towards fairer skinned people over darker skin tones.

The stories are quite horrifying. According to her post, she’s been told that brands want lighter makeup to make a shoot ‘appropriate’ for their clientele.

Source: @mushkkaleem / Instagram


According to her post, brands fear facing backlash, but for all the wrong reasons. 

They want to use models who look ‘lighter’ because it fits in better with their image. She’s been told that they need a ‘pretty feel’ for the shoot. REALLY? Do these brands not realize we live in 2019. Some of her revelations are truly shocking.

Source: @mushkkaleem / Instagram


It was no secret that there was colorism in the fashion industry, however, the fact that it was this blatant is really disturbing. If brands are using words like ‘we need a pretty feel’, and ‘Lahoris have issues with dark models’ then we have a very serious issue on our hands.

It’s refreshing to see a model come out and talk about this so openly; it is such moves from within the industry that might help to push it in the right direction, however, that might take time. The larger responsibility for demanding this change does lay with the customer. The fact that a brand says ‘Lahoris have issues with dark models’, indicates that the customer dictates how these shoots are organized. Our society is wrought with the issue of colorism and favoring light over dark skin.

We judge based on the color of someone’s skin on a constant basis.



From ‘Fair and Lovely’ ads to the hunt we undergo for a ‘gori bahu’, this obsession with fair skin is unhealthy and toxic. More than being obsessed with ‘fair’ skin, we take any opportunity to downgrade darker skin tones. We instantly call someone with darker skin a ‘bechaari’. 

What’s equally concerning is that we are all so nonchalant about this. We see this color shaming on a daily basis, yet we let it go, which continues to make it ‘okay’. Brands and companies respond to customer demand, which is why they’re so bold in their bias towards ‘lighter models’.

Of course, brands can take a bold stance against this culture, but it’s high time that we as customers become more aware of the things happening around us as well as the messaging our brands are sending out to us.

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Cover Photo Courtesy: @MushkKaleem / Instagram

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