Also known as Rihanna 2.0 or India’s very own Rihanna, Renee Kujur is an Indian model. Well, her journey is truly an inspiring one. But how much do you know about her? Not much, we guess! So, here’s a sneak peak into her life and journey so far. Read on to know more!
Born in 1985 in Pirai village of Bagicha Tehsil in the Indian state of Chattisgarh, Renee faced prejudice and criticism for her dark skin tone when she was 3 years old. Her classmates called ‘black-fairy’ to bully her. This incident had a severe impact on her. Her teenage years too were of no difference, she had to face a lot. Soon she started working at a Tommy Hilfiger store as a sales staff where people noticed her uncanny resemblance to the famous pop star, Rihanna. It was the day she realised how strikingly similar they are that changed her life and made her life take a new recourse.
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Renee Kujur is a model based in New Delhi. Despite struggles of years, she became famous and an internet sensation after her photos bore striking resemblance to that of Rihanna. She currently works for Satin Models India and has previously worked with famous designers like Pam Mehta, Chetan Chiller and Vijay Balhara. She has walked the ramp on multiple occasions too. She has walked for India Runway Week and Asian Designer Week to mention a few. Besides these, she has modelled for Reebok and Nike.
- In 2018, Renee Kujur was felicitated by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) at the India Couture Week gala.
- She is also working to combat discrimination against dark-skinned models across the globe
- In 2019, she participated in the 1st season of India’s modelling competition, MTV Supermodel of the Year.
As reported by India Today, photographers would ask to lighten her skin tone and went on to say “Sundar ladki ka makeup toh koi bhi kar sakta hai. The real challenge is to make a dark girl look good and I have done it.” She was ridiculed for her dark skin tone even at work. It took nearly 20 years for her to get over the stigma and enter into the glamour world.
Despite the obstacles faced by her, Renee Kajur didn’t let go of her dream to become a model. And her presence was finally acknowledged at the end of the tunnel when her associates started comparing her to Rihanna. The uncanny resemblance between the two turned Renee Kajur’s destiny around.
Renee Kujur was soon offered some exciting offers which appreciated her bold and unique features. In Spite of the numerous opportunities pouring in for Kujur, what is sad is the fact that these opportunities are apparently just one-third of what “fair-skinned” models would get.
In an interview she was quoted saying, “With such a deep-rooted prejudice in people’s mind, it would’ve been very tough to get work. The Rihanna factor turned out to be a blessing,” who has made her Instagram handle @badgalrene a nod to Rihanna’s, @badgalriri. However, Kujur is thankful for the difference this makes in both her career and in wider perceptions of beauty across India. “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,” Kujur said. “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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This was Renee Kajur’s story so far. Doesn’t this leave you with a thought? It’s unfortunate that even today women are judged by their physical appearance and not by how hard working they are. For women who can’t make it big in this extremely competitive industry, it takes the popularity of a celebrity to chip away this severe kind of discrimination. This story has certainly struck a chord and we hope that there will be a day when we shall be able to look past all these petty differences. For more such content, stay connected to Leverage Edu!