What does Nina's win mean for Indian women in America?


The second generation Indian-American woman.

We've all seen, met or interacted with her at some point in our lives.

She orders her Venti latte at a Brooklyn Starbucks with the same ease as she does butter chicken at the leading Indian restaurant in SoHo. She walks into a club in LA strutting an Hervé Léger dress and Jimmy Choo shoes with the same confidence as she does a Lehenga-Sari at her cousins wedding in Jersey. She switches with ease between her American accent at a Morgan Stanley presentation to her Indian accent during a conversation in Hindi with her grandma in Mumbai. She enjoys a weekend at Coachella just as much as jamming out to an AR Rahman tune. She enjoys watching an all American slapstick comedy just as much as she does a melodramatic Bollywood film.

You know who she is. She knows who she is.

She's confident in the color of her skin and wouldn't dare apply a skin lightening fairness cream like so many women do in India. But she knows that no matter how pretty she feels in her sun kissed dark brown skin, HER BEAUTY will never be seen as the ideal by the masses.

Not in the country she calls home and Not in the country her parents call home.

So what does Nina's win mean for Indian women in America? The format of the Miss America pageant isn't exactly the ideal way to measure a woman's worth, BUT it is after all a highly publicized proclamation of beauty. 

From national TV coverage and appearances on Kimmel and Conan to makeup aisle displays at Wal-Mart and Target, Nina is going to be everywhere! That and all the support received to counteract the hateful twitter aftermath gives me hope.

Hope that maybe eventually her beauty will also be seen
as AMERICAN beauty
as INDIAN beauty 
or just BEAUTY!

- Tanya Pereira
Creator of Not Fair, Still Lovely - an online platform aimed at changing the perception in the Indian community of color-prejudiced beauty standards defined by the billion dollar fairness cream industry.



Nina vs. past Miss World and Miss Universe pageant winners (Click to Enlarge)

Posted on September 27, 2013 and filed under current events, press, skin tone.