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.

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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.”

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“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.”

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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.

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“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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