Bridgerton’s Charithra Chandran reveals she faced colourism in India as she covers Teen Vogue

Charithra Chandran has candidly detailed her experiences facing colourism growing up, and how it has become a ‘lifelong struggle’, as she graced the cover of Teen Vogue.

The Bridgerton star, 25, skyrocketed to fame playing the role of Edwina Sharma on the hit Netflix show. 

She dazzled in the spread, donning an elegant patterned ballgown and tucking into a variety of Indian snacks.

Opening up: Charithra Chandran has candidly detailed her experiences facing colourism growing up, and how it has become a ‘lifelong struggle’, as she graced the cover of Teen Vogue

Sporting traditional gold jewellery including bangles and dangling earrings, she posed up a storm in a variety of Bollywood dance positions, before slipping into a white and red embroidered dress.

Her silky raven tresses were swept up in an elegant plait, braided with a mustard scarf, and she sported minimal makeup, allowing her natural beauty to shine through.

Bridgerton has been lauded for its representation and its introduction of the Sharma family, and the decision to cast two dark-skinned leads – Charithra and her on-screen sister Simone Ashley – has been praised.  

Stunning: She dazzled in the Teen Vogue spread, donning an elegant patterned ballgown and tucking into a variety of Indian snacks

Stunning: She dazzled in the Teen Vogue spread, donning an elegant patterned ballgown and tucking into a variety of Indian snacks

Leading lady: Charithra looked sensational as she covered Teen Vogue magazine and gave a candid interview to go alongside the shoot

Leading lady: Charithra looked sensational as she covered Teen Vogue magazine and gave a candid interview to go alongside the shoot 

However, Charithra admits to struggling with the colour of her skin growing up, finding the experience ‘really traumatising’.   

Speaking to the publication, she said: ‘No one let me forget that I was dark-skinned growing up. My grandma was very light-skinned. Whenever we’d go around in India, they’d always say, “Oh, you’d be pretty if you had your grandmother’s coloring.” “Shame about the color of her skin.” “She’s pretty for being dark-skinned.” All of these comments, all the time. 

‘My grandparents — I don’t hold this against them at all, they were trying to make my life easier — I wouldn’t be allowed to play outside. I’d have to play early in the morning or in the evening [to avoid the sun].’ 

The actress confessed that she finds colourism in some ways ‘more painful because it feels like a betrayal of your own’.

Charithra is aware of the power that she has now and the positive influence she can use, but confesses to still feeling the societal pressures to look a certain way.

Flawless: Sporting traditional gold jewellery, she posed up a storm in a variety of Bollywood dance positions, before slipping into a white and red embroidered dress

Flawless: Sporting traditional gold jewellery, she posed up a storm in a variety of Bollywood dance positions, before slipping into a white and red embroidered dress

She continued: ‘When the sun is shining and I tan, my instinct is like, “oh f**k, I tanned.” I’m trying to unlearn it. It’s going to be a lifelong struggle. 

‘Or like when I’m editing a photo for Instagram, of course the temptations are there, because for most of my life I’ve been taught that that’s what is beautiful. It’s really, really traumatizing. I just desperately don’t want that for my cousins. I just pray, pray, pray that it’s not like that for them.’ 

Speaking to Bustle this week about her experience on the Regency drama, Charithra revealed that she also feels ‘self inflicted’ pressure to positively represent her community.

She added: ‘I do feel the pressure of representing my community, and for the show being a success. But no one is putting that on me. It’s entirely self-inflicted.’

Sensational: Her silky raven tresses were swept up in an elegant plait, braided with a mustard scarf, and she sported minimal makeup, allowing her natural beauty to shine through

Sensational: Her silky raven tresses were swept up in an elegant plait, braided with a mustard scarf, and she sported minimal makeup, allowing her natural beauty to shine through

Charithra went on to speak about Simone, 27, who plays Kate Sharma. She said: ‘I had a scene partner who is not only another woman of colour, but who’s also from the same part of India as me. 

‘There’s a negligible chance of that happening, but it did, so it’s super exciting.’  

Adapted from The Viscount Who Loved Me, the new season focuses on Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and his search to find a wife.

Progress: Bridgerton has been lauded for its representation and its introduction of the Sharma family, and the decision to cast two dark-skinned leads - Charithra and her on-screen sister Simone Ashley - has been praised

Progress: Bridgerton has been lauded for its representation and its introduction of the Sharma family, and the decision to cast two dark-skinned leads – Charithra and her on-screen sister Simone Ashley – has been praised

But in true Bridgerton fashion, ‘a considerable scandal’ is promised to ensue when he gets caught up in a love triangle with two sisters, played by Charithra and Simone.

Speaking about working with Jonathan, Charithra said: ‘Jonny is so generous. He sent me a ‘good luck’ message on Instagram before my chemistry read with him. He didn’t need to do that, but he knew how daunting it can be, and he just wanted to assure me that everyone was rooting for me. 

She continued: ‘I knew from that moment that we would get along… Not to be a pretentious ar*ehole, but acting is reacting, and Jonny gives you a lot to react to.’

Challenges: However, Charithra admits to struggling with the colour of her skin growing up, finding the experience 'really traumatising'

Challenges: However, Charithra admits to struggling with the colour of her skin growing up, finding the experience ‘really traumatising’

'Painful': The actress confessed that she finds colourism in some ways 'more painful because it feels like a betrayal of your own'

‘Painful’: The actress confessed that she finds colourism in some ways ‘more painful because it feels like a betrayal of your own’

Pressure: Charithra is aware of the power that she has now and the positive influence she can use, but confesses to still feeling the societal pressures to look a certain way

Pressure: Charithra is aware of the power that she has now and the positive influence she can use, but confesses to still feeling the societal pressures to look a certain way

‘A lot of the directors would say, “Where’s my diamond?” I enjoyed that. It made me feel special: it’s quite the ego boost.’    

Charithra had a career in law before diving into acting and admitted she knows her current lifestyle isn’t ‘reality’. 

The Alex Rider star said: ‘I’m aware my lifestyle is not reality at the moment. And I don’t want to start thinking it is. My support network actually do live real lives. So it is important for me to maintain those friendships, away from the industry.’ 

‘You have to be a bit of a d*ckhead to believe you’re going to be famous. I just don’t believe people will recognise me.’ 

One to watch: The Bridgerton star, 25, skyrocketed to fame playing the role of Edwina Sharma on the hit Netflix show

One to watch: The Bridgerton star, 25, skyrocketed to fame playing the role of Edwina Sharma on the hit Netflix show


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