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Although our country is progressing in several ways, there are still certain stereotypes when it comes to women and their looks. When I come across such mindsets, I take heart in the fact that some of my favourite Bollywood celebrities have actually taken a stand against these issues. Here are 3 inspiring women who have broken beauty stereotypes.

1. Radhika Apte

With the rate at which Radhika is going (she’s literally all over Netflix), it was no surprise to see her on the cover of Grazia. What was surprising was the fact that she opted to show her real face, without any airbrushing or Photoshop!

In a world where people are battling with self-esteem issues every single day, the actress’ stand against digital distortion really makes a difference. We tend to compare ourselves to celebrities and how perfect their skin is, without realising that most of the images have been retouched.

I’m not denying that the right skincare and makeup can make you feel powerful. If doing up your face and exfoliating your skin makes your happy, go ahead and do it! These products shouldn’t be used to conform into somebody else’s idea of beauty. True beauty is all about embracing your natural self and this cover proves just that.

2. Sonam Kapoor

It’s easy to imagine that Sonam leads a blissful life. After all, as someone who has access to the most luxurious things in life, what could she possibly be down about?

Unfortunately, the image we all have of her is just an image. The actress penned a heartbreaking essay on Buzzfeed, detailing her struggles with self-confidence. From dieting fads to callous comments by relatives, Sonam’s problems seem like those we all deal with every day.

By opening up, she showed us that being famous doesn’t necessarily excuse you from body issues. In fact, it sounds worse to have every inch of your body scrutinised and criticised by strangers. Personally, I can’t thank her enough for shattering the notion that all celebrities are confident and flawless. It helps knowing that we all go through the same struggles, despite leading very different lives.

3. Nandita Das

As a country, we have an unhealthy obsession with lighter skin tones. You literally cannot go a day without spotting some sort of advertisement that is promoting fairness creams. Luckily, we have people like Nandita to advocate for deeper complexions.

When we recently interviewed her for #TheGirlTribe, she spoke about the colour discrimination that most people face every day. From being whitewashed on magazine covers to being told that she would have been prettier if not for her skin tone, she vocalised all the ways in which she’s been targeted. To bring awareness about the bias against dark skin, she has become an integral part of the campaign, ‘Dark Is Beautiful’.

Considering that majority of our citizens do have darker skin tones, this is an issue that needs urgent attention. So often, we hear of mothers asking their children not to play in the sun or berating their daughters for their tanned skin. Instead of telling them that they won’t be successful or loved because of their complexions, or handing them bottles of fairness creams, it’s essential to teach them that their skin colour is as beautiful as any other.

It’s easy to keep quiet and stay within society’s rules, but it takes real bravery to open up and take a stand. I hope we can all take inspiration from these ladies and speak up when it matters!

P.S: Follow @missmalinifashion and @missmalinibeauty on Instagram for more updates.