It's quite flattering to be told that we look like a certain celebrity, but rarely is the resemblance striking. However, that's not the case with Renee Kujur, an Indian national who got a modeling career because she looks like Rihanna.
Her resemblance to the international superstar landed her a thriving modeling career in India. The 23-year-old has been booking runway shows and editorial shoots left and right, and this was thanks to people on the internet noticing that she was actually like Rihanna's doppelganger.
Born in Chhattisgarh, India, her newfound career has her based in New Delhi, where she does most of her modeling. When asked about how she feels being compared to Riri, she said:
"I laughed off the Rihanna part. But soon, everyone was saying the same thing,”
Prior to having people notice her resemblance to Rihanna, she wasn't booking a lot of modeling gigs, and it was because of a disturbing reason that someone once told her. A makeup artist said that while it's easy to do makeup for a beautiful girl, it's a challenge to make a dark girl [like her] look good.
After having a hard time booking jobs due to the color of her skin, people started agreeing that she looked like Rihanna, and it's been such a blessing for her. She even made her Instagram handle "@badgalrene", just like how Rihanna's is "@badgalriri".
"Photographers would tell their clients that I resemble Rihanna. That way, it was easier to convince them. No one could deny that Rihanna was beautiful."
While being called a Rihanna look-a-like has been quite helpful for Renee, it doesn't take away the fact that she got lucky. India's beauty standards still discriminate against other girls like her, and this is still something she wants to advocate about.
"Rihanna has already convinced people that she’s sexy and beautiful, and the West is crazy about her. If I resemble her, how can I be unattractive? That’s how our mind works. I don’t know where I would’ve landed without Rihanna. Few are willing to bend rules. For most people, beauty strictly means fair skin. It’ll take time to rewrite norms, but I’m happy that I’m part of the change."
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