Here's one of the more ridiculous "scandals" (picture me saying that super-sarcastically while doing that annoying air quote thing with my fingers) I've seen lately in celebrity news: Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi was recently on the cover of TV Guide, and people flipped out because they thought her skin color had been digitally lightened—for, apparently, ethnocentric reasons.
It appears that Lakshmi, the Indian-born host of 'Top Chef,' has had her skin color digitally lightened. The radiant host and food writer is hailed for her jaw-dropping beauty, so it comes as a surprise TV Guide would retouch her image so excessively. Lakshmi's glow has been replaced by a chalky and unsettling skin tone. It's heartbreaking to think TV Guide would alter the image of Lakshmi, a role model not only for South Asian women, but for everyone who doesn't fit Hollywood's rail-thin, Caucasian mold.
Okay, first of all ... is this insinuating that Padma Lakshmi is some sort of Hollywood role model for curvy women? Because she's 5'10" and looks to be a size 4. I mean, I guess I wouldn't call her rail-thin, but she's hardly average-sized.
Secondly, "chalky and unsettling"? Really? I look at that cover and it looks like every single professional photo shoot out there, using lots of strategic lighting to remove shadows and lines and any other facial flaw the subject might have. If you do a Google Image search for Padma photos, you'll see that aside from tabloid images, they ALL look like that.
TV Guide's editorial team issued a response to the accusation, saying,
If her skin appears lighter, it's because we shot her in a brightly lit diner as part of the cover concept. We did our normal color correcting, which is standard for printing. Padma's skin tone is beautiful, and we did nothing to adjust it.
It seems insane they even had to defend such an overly-PC and downright stupid claim. As for Lakshmi herself, she spoke out on Twitter:
Many thx to TVGuide for a great and gorgeous cover. Delightful team, and a really fun and easy shoot.
Well, you know my opinion—what's yours? Do you think Padma's skin was purposefully lightened in the photo?
Image via TV Guide