Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil says she was racially bullied over skin


Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil reveals she used BLEACHING creams to lighten her skin after racist school bullies called her ‘dirty Indian brown’


Maria Thattil has been dubbed one of the most beautiful women in the world.

But growing up, the Miss Universe Australia 2020 says she was bullied for her brown skin and Indian heritage. 

The 28-year-old tells Body+Soul Magazine this week that her at age 15, a schoolmate was praised for her  ‘beautiful, European, golden brown tan’ while slamming Maria’s tone as ‘dirty, Indian brown’. 

Bullied: Maria Thattil has been dubbed one of the most beautiful women in the world. But growing up, the Miss Universe Australia 2020 says she was bullied for her brown skin and Indian heritage. Pictured in this week's Body+Soul Magazine

Bullied: Maria Thattil has been dubbed one of the most beautiful women in the world. But growing up, the Miss Universe Australia 2020 says she was bullied for her brown skin and Indian heritage. Pictured in this week’s Body+Soul Magazine 

‘Skin is a sensitive subject. Up until 27, I’d never self-tanned, as I had a tumultuous relationship with my skin’ she tells the magazine. 

The model even turned to bleaching creams to lighten her skin. 

‘While I no longer use bleaching creams, for a long time I wanted to wash away the brown that made me an outsider, that was never celebrated in the public eye and made me feel ‘less than” she said. 

Painful: The 28-year-old tells Body+Soul Magazine this week that her at age 15, a schoolmate was praised for her 'beautiful, European, golden brown tan' while slamming Maria's tone as 'dirty, Indian brown'. Pictured as a child

Painful: The 28-year-old tells Body+Soul Magazine this week that her at age 15, a schoolmate was praised for her ‘beautiful, European, golden brown tan’ while slamming Maria’s tone as ‘dirty, Indian brown’. Pictured as a child 

The model even turned to bleaching creams to lighten her skin: 'While I no longer use bleaching creams, for a long time I wanted to wash away the brown that made me an outsider, that was never celebrated in the public eye and made me feel 'less than'' she said

The model even turned to bleaching creams to lighten her skin: ‘While I no longer use bleaching creams, for a long time I wanted to wash away the brown that made me an outsider, that was never celebrated in the public eye and made me feel ‘less than” she said

Maria added that deeply tanned skin is now in fashion – but she finds it upsetting to see light-skinned people praised for painting on the same skin tone for which she was mocked.  

‘It’s triggering to see our skin commodified in a can, celebrated on white bodies but derided on ours. They have the beautiful, golden, sun-kissed glow – whereas brown and black skin is considered dirty’ she said. 

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the beauty admitted she was bullied so badly as a teenager she tried to abandon her Indian heritage. 

Winner! Maria was crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2020 and represented the country at the 69th Miss Universe Pageant in Florida (pictured)

Winner! Maria was crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2020 and represented the country at the 69th Miss Universe Pageant in Florida (pictured) 

Platform: Maria is now using her platform to help other people of colour

 Platform: Maria is now using her platform to help other people of colour

‘In my teens, I stopped listening to Bollywood music, I stopped eating the food and even stopped speaking to my extended family. 

‘That is what a lack of representation and bullying and racism will do to a person – it can make them wish that they occupied skin that was not theirs.’

After placing in the top 10 at the Miss Universe pageant in Florida in May, Maria is now using her platform to help other people of colour. 

Read more: In this week's Body+Soul with Maria Thattil on the cover

Read more: In this week’s Body+Soul with Maria Thattil on the cover 

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