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DARK SKINNED AND LOVELY (Part 4) - Meet Sonali Sutharsan

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

This project Dark Skinned and Lovely isn't just about showcasing the beauty of these incredible dark skinned south Asian women, it's also about giving them the chance to tell the world about their lived experience as dark skinned south Asians in western society - meet Sonali Sutharsan.

It’s 2021...businesses really need to step up and start involving dark skinned women...

What does representation mean to you as a dark skinned south Asian women?

"I feel like there are many businesses and people in general claiming that they are representing dark skinned women but fail to convey this. For example, so many fashion businesses have mostly white models. This frustrates me. The same people that are saying there is not enough representation are the same people who have the opportunity to change this but fail to. Why do I hardly see a dark Tamil women on a magazine or being hired as a model? It’s 2021...businesses really need to step up and start involving dark skinned women to feel included."

Growing up in a westernised society....

"Although society has become westernised I really want to showcase my identity as a Tamil women in London through fashion. I want my page to inspire other dark skinned women to also express their identity and not feel ashamed to be dark skinned. I remember a few years ago I hated wearing anything short because my knee was so dark compared to other girls in my school. I have now grown to love my dark skin. I see a lot of other dark skinned women on Instagram feeling confident and beautiful despite being excluded from society. This made me realise we are all in this together and we should feel beautiful regardless of our colour."


Concept: Mathushaa Sagthidas @mathuxphotos

Creative Directors: Mathushaa Sagthidas @mathuxphotos

Photographer/ Photo editor: Mathushaa Sagthidas @mathuxphotos

Crowns/ earrings by Anisha Parmar @anishaparmarlondon

Models: Karishma Leckraz @yasitskrishy, Tabitha Mary @tabithamary_, Sheena Akkulugadu @ak_sheena, Sonali Sutharsan @sobarbiee

Make up and hair: By the models

Styled: All of us

Mathushaa Sagthidas’s photography showcases a strong interest in fine art, contemporary fashion, and styling; skills further studying fashion promotion at Ravensbourne University London and fine art photography at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL. Mathushaa’s work is often examines her identity - Tamil Eelam ethnicity and British nationality, which is a pivotal part of her work. This complex cultural identity is often reflected through traditions, history and strongly by fashion photography. Mathushaa feels that her work surrounding Tamil culture plays an important part in embracing the history and heritage. As Tamils were once considered “an enormous strain on the system” in London during the nineties, the time of mass immigration (5:48 – 6:17, Matangi/ Maya/ M.I.A, 2018). Something she finds ironic as many institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum were built and have financially grown off the backs of colonisation of the sub-Indian continent. From these few glimpses of research that has impacted her artistic growth, she begun to develop to a deeper appreciation of her parents’ background and felt luckily to learn about their history first hand. This has led to an engagement in a new process of constructing south Asian identity through that projects she creates.

View the full project here.

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