Renee Kujur, a 23 year old model from Chhattisgarh has been the recent Internet sensation. Why, you ask? Well, it is because this Indian girl is international popstar Rihanna’s lookalike! Yes you heard it right!

We’ve all heard our friends compare us to one celebrity or another at some point, and the same happened with Renee. The only difference is in her case it is actually true! In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Renee Kujur said, “I laughed off the Rihanna part. But soon, everyone was saying the same thing”.

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Although this is a very exciting news for the paparazzi, there is a very unsettling reason as to why Renee is getting more work after this recognition than before. Due to her dark skin, Renee was constantly subjected to racism since her childhood. “When Renee Kujur was three, she participated in a fancy dress competition in her school, dressed as a fairy. As soon as she came on the stage, someone shouted: “Dekho dekho kaali pari (look, a black fairy) and the auditorium shook with laughter. Renee left the stage sobbing,” said a Hindustan Times report.

The ride didn’t get any easier as she was constantly taunted and ridiculed about how she was very dark and her pictures had to be photoshopped or her skin shade was made lighter with makeup. Photographers usually told the make-up artists to lighten her skin tone by 3-4 shades.

Not only that, the make-up artists to flaunt this by saying stuff like, “Sundar ladki ka makeup toh koi bhi kar sakta hai. The real challenge is to make a dark girl look good and I have done it.” This very bluntly implied that because she was dark, she wasn’t good looking. Just because she didn’t fit into the Indian view of beauty that just means fair skin, she didn’t deserve to be called pretty.

What I find ironic in this entire situation is that people across the globe sun bathe solely for the purpose of getting an ‘exotic tan’; and us Indians still can’t appreciate beauty in all its colours and forms! It just proves how far behind we are running.

“Photographers would tell their clients that I resemble Rihanna. That way, it was easier to convince them. No one could deny that Rihanna wasn’t beautiful. That sort of worked in my favour. Those who had called me kaali and unattractive has to take back their words,” said Renee in an interview. She has also kept her Instagram handle as @badgalrene that is similar to Rihanna’s @badgalriri.

#Rensta #Repost: @sushkrish via @renstapp ··· “ The coexistence of rural and urban India is quite magnificent, given how different yet similar the two are to each other. Both of them cheering for each other quietly. I have always been confused by remarks made on physical appearances towards any gender especially related to skin colour. Here is our effort to showcase that beauty exists everywhere and in everyone, provided one has the vision to see it clearly. A quintessential Indian woman, draped in a bright silk saree. Try this look in your next event and send us a picture. Sincerely, Sushmita Singh #fashionshoot #fashionshoot #naanjil #coloursofindia #shoponline #breakingthestereotype #makeinindia #indiansaree #indianjewelry #onlineshopping #hindi ” #likeforlike #followforfollow #thankful #gorgeous #sareelove #fashionstyle #fashionworld #indianmodel #fashionmodel #fashionista #styleicon #shootdiaries #lovemyjob❤️ #lovemylook #colourfullife #colourfull

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This is indeed a bittersweet incident. We are happy for this stunningly beautiful woman and how her career is picking up rapidly. But on the other hand, it just shows our people’s restricted mindset. It is high time we start becoming more accepting and less non- judgemental.

Until then, GO RENEE!