Sorisha speaks out about 'becoming too white' and her skin bleaching 'demons'

Sorisha Naidoo before and after the skin lightening
Sorisha Naidoo before and after the skin lightening
Image: Mohau Mofokeng (left) and Rogan Ward (right)

Businesswoman Sorisha Naidoo says she received criticism from the Indian community because of her dark skin after winning Miss India South Africa in 2002

Coming from a community that perceives fair skin as a sign of high social status, Sorisha was hurt by the fact that although she was beautiful, intelligent and well deserving of the title, the complexion of her skin is what people focused on. 

“I have never shared this, but those comments really hurt me and damaged my self-esteem. I knew I was worthy to be crowned because I’m intelligent. And after so much our country had gone through in terms of racial discrimination, I was shocked people didn’t think a dark girl deserved to win,” Sorisha told Drum.

Self doubt caused Sorisha to begin a downward journey of skin lightening.

After 16 years of trying many different skin lightening products and light peels, Sorisha's skin had become paper thin and was losing the ability to make pigments.

Finally Sorisha found the courage to look deep within herself to find the root of her problem. 

“I had to stop caring about what other people thought of me and I focused on the people who really cared about me. I was becoming too white – my skin was almost paper-thin and I became very paranoid about my looks."

In hindsight the 40-year-old Durban socialite realised that she loved who she was and how she looked before skin lightening.

"Looking back now, I regret doing it. I think I was more beautiful before. I loved who I was. It was an irrational decision.” 

The mother of two has stopped using toxins and chemicals on her skin and maintains that throughout her journey of discovery, husband Vivian Reddy always found her beautiful.

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