PHOTOS: Did Elle India Lighten Aishwarya Rai’s Skin?

Aishwarya Rai‘s name is almost always preceded or followed by the phrase “the most beautiful woman in the world.” The 37-year-old Indian actress (and former Miss World) is without a doubt one of the most stunning women on the planet. But her appearance on the cover of December’s Elle India has caused some raised eyebrows.

Aishwarya is quite fair-skinned to begin with, yet she looks excessively pale on her latest cover. But before we start wagging fingers, let’s remember the Gabourey Sidibé Elle cover debacle. Perhaps this disparity in skin tone is also the work of some extreme studio lighting.

In contrast, Vogue India put out a dark-skinned issue this year and produced one of the 2010′s best covers. And as noted when we first reported on the groundbreaking issue, skin color is a sensitive topic in India. Nirupama Singh, an expert on the sociology of fashion told the Times UK: “Skin color matters a lot for women in India. Fairness is a very valuable thing here, looked on as desirable. The fashion world can be a big agent for change in this area.”

What do you make of the cover?

[via ONTD]

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