Pakistani Model Does Blackface Photoshoot, Claims She’s a Victim of Discrimination

A popular model in Pakistan has defended herself after coming under fire for wearing blackface in an advertisement for a local salon.

Zara Abid, who has nearly 73,000 followers on Instagram, posted the series of controversial photos for Nabila, a stylist based in Karachi, Sindh province last week.

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

Abid credited the team behind her spread, with Ikram Gohar — who works at the salon — being responsible for her hair and makeup.

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

“For art’s sake,” she captioned one of the photos.

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

Abid’s other Instagram posts show her with much lighter complexions, which some believe support Pakistan’s “obsession” with fair skin.

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

The series has since attracted a massive backlash, with people criticizing the salon and the 35-year-old model for promoting blackface.

Over the weekend, Abid posted a series of notes defending the photoshoot, claiming that she is “a proud dark-skinned model” and “a first-hand victim of discrimination and colourism.”

“When I initially started modelling professionally, people would refuse to hire me because of my dark skin tone.

“I am first-hand victim of discrimination and colourism that exists within our society.

“However, I fought tooth and nail to get where I am today and I am very grateful for all the opportunities I received purely on the basis of my talent.”

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

Abid went on to explain that the photos, which have been “misconstrued,” enhanced her color as she wanted to “empower” the “darker-skinned population” in the name of representation.

“On multiple occasions, I have been made two to three tones lighter, so why not darker?”

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial
Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

Abid concluded her defense with a call to stop shaming dark skin.

“I live to see the day when all skin tones are equally represented within our society and we can proudly celebrate our natural skin tones.”

Image via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

Unfortunately, Abid’s statement did not exactly pacify critics, who argued that blackface is not representation.

Featured Images via Instagram / @zaraabidofficial

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