Priyanka Chopra Talks Female Beauty Standards for Allure’s First Digital Cover

Courtesy of Allure

“Love yourself, ladies,” the self-identifying “super feminist” declares.

Priyanka Chopra went makeup-free for Allure magazine’s first digital cover package, in which she opens up about beauty standards for women. Released on Thursday, the feature reveals her own insecurities as she encourages women to change how they view themselves.

For the cover shoot on the Greenpoint waterfront in Brooklyn, Chopra wore only moisturizer and lip gloss, in an effort to provoke conversation about how beauty relates to identity, Allure’s digital editorial director Kelly Bales tells The Hollywood Reporter.

“A lot of the things media has perpetuated have created false standards around beauty. People that have not grown up seeing themselves in the space have a harder time accessing self love and acceptance. That's something we really push,” Bales says. “It's been a huge mission for Allure — how can we right some of these wrongs of the past, re-educate both ourselves and our audience to have a larger scope of what we consider beautiful?”

Chopra discusses how women have been conditioned to think about the need to constantly change themselves. "We’ve always been treated as second-class citizens. We’ve always been told that only one of us can win and only the best one will get the cutest boy … Can we for a second love ourselves and say ‘I do not need all of these magazines to tell me to how to lose the weight or how should I starve because I want to please a man?’”

The Quantico actress, 35, advises readers: “Start with just recognizing what you’re doing. That’s called self-hate, self-doubt, you’re berating yourself. We have enough people doing that to us anyway, why do we need to do it to ourselves? Love yourself, ladies. You're your best friend.”

That’s why Bales felt Chopra was the ideal cover star; because she, too, feels vulnerable and is on the same journey of self-acceptance.

"When Priyanka and I got into this conversation, we were in her trailer after wrapping, just passionately talking like, 'This is so messed up! We're conditioned! We start doubting ourselves and having all of these negative voices in our head!” Bales says. “Since that day, even I personally have been walking around, and when I find myself feeling insecure, I'm like, 'Wait, this isn't real. Priyanka thought she looked ugly, so I must not look ugly.' It's this amazing tool; that day with her has continued to inspire me to keep up this fight of changing these definitions.”

She’s hoping digital covers can reach new readers. After all, many magazine publishers are struggling; although Allure is also maintaining its monthly print edition, another Conde Nast title, Teen Vogue, has gone entirely digital.

“I love the idea of bringing a digital cover to Allure and am thrilled with the amazing job that the team did on our very first one, starring Priyanka,” Allure editor-in-chief Michelle Lee tells THR in a statement. “She’s a global superstar who is seriously one of the most beautiful people on Earth. And let’s face it, Asians and South Asians are still severely underrepresented in media. So I love that we can shine a light on an Indian woman who’s changing the game.”

Lee adds, “In my time with the brand, Allure has really expanded conversations around beauty and specifically about diversity, and I’m so proud of how digital has leaned into that in a meaningful way.”

An Allure video titled “Priyanka Chopra Reads 5 Regrettable Headlines from the ‘90s” shows Chopra reading problematic headlines and making jokes. For “Lose the Last Five Pounds Fast — You Can Eat on the Honeymoon,” she responds, “Yeah, how about we all starve until we get married, because that’s the end of our lives anyway?”

For the cover, Chopra — winner of Miss World in 2000 — talks about pageants in India, which are more substantive. “I feel like in an evolved world, where we are today, as long as a woman understands that that's not [her] only option. And then chooses to do it. Who is anyone to judge her?” Chopra adds, “But when women are made to feel like your only option to succeed is to be OK with being objectified or being made to feel stupid ... then it's wrong.”

The story also refers to qualifiers that have been used to categorize women and women of color with description such as, "girl boss," "plus-sized model" and "Indian actress.”

Chopra ultimately tells Allure: “You see so many women, different sizes, modeling, acting, taking their strength, but it's the mindset that needs to change, of society, of men, of people — that view where a woman in a plus size should not be a check in the box. Or a woman of color should not be a check in the box. Or a woman shouldn't be a check in the box.”

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