A day after Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb questioned the "beauty" of Diana Hayden, the former Miss World has slammed the thought that 'light skin is better', and said she is proud of her exotic brown skin colour.
Deb reportedly said in Agartala on Thursday that international beauty contests were a farce as the results were all predetermined. He also said he failed to understand the "process of judgement" of the crowning of the Miss World contest in 1997, in which Diana was crowned.
"We see women as goddess Laxmi, Saraswati. Aishwarya Rai represents the Indian women. She became the Miss World and that's all right. But I do not understand the beauty of Diana Hayden," Deb said.
Diana is hurt.
"That's some strong disapproval of me winning the Miss World title," Diana said in a statement.
"With regards to me winning the Miss World, it's a pity and shame, that when you win the biggest and most respected beauty pageant in the world, you get criticised and put down as opposed to being appreciated and respected for bringing more accolades back home and further appreciation of our Indian brown exotic beauty.
"It's also hurtful," she added.
Pointing out at the bigger issue, Diana said: "Being brown skinned, I've had to fight the 'light skin is better' issue we have in India. I felt so strongly about it that I turned down a fairness cream ad because it went against my belief. We are Indians and predominantly our skin colour is brown and we should be really proud of it and learn to appreciate it like it's appreciated around the world.
"It's obviously that our skin colour difference is on his mind as he is comparing me to Ash (Aishwarya) and not Priyanka (Priyanka Chopra) or Manushi (Manushi Chhillar) who currently holds the Miss World title, and very deservedly so.
"Shame on him as our beautiful, exotic brown colouring is to be proud of. I sure am!"
Celebrities from the film industry took a dig at Deb's comment.
"Is Lara Dutta (Miss Universe 2000) an Indian beauty? (Just trying to confuse him)," tweeted film editor-director Shirish Kunder.
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit tweeted: "I condemn the irresponsible statements issued by Biplab Deb, the CM of Tripura on Diana Hayden. He should realise that it takes lots of hard work to be Miss World. He has not insulted Diana Hayden, but the entire women fraternity."