Adri Reksodipoetro
Aug 26, 2019

From Javanese princesses to Rihanna: The rise of the strong dark woman

Though white skin has been seen as a beauty 'ideal' for 50 years, Indonesia's fashion and beauty industries are now employing more ‘indigenous' models, and darker-skinned celebrities are genuine beauty symbols.

Clockwise from left: Indonesian celebrities Tara Basro, Eva Celia, Adinia Wirasti (all photos from their own Instragram posts)

For over 50 years, white skin has been the dominant beauty ideal in Indonesia. Celebrities and models have mostly been white, and most people have aspired to have white skin.  

But this wasn’t always the case. In pre-colonial times skin colour was thought and talked about in a wider variety of shades not just white, but also yellow and brown. There was a time when beauty ideals reflected Indonesians’ broad range...

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