“Fairer is better?”

Mr. Abdul Alim, owner of UK Skin Lightening brand Nur76 appeared on BBC 1Xtra back in 2012 for an interview with host Mike Anthony.

The interview set out to discuss and debate the concept of skin-bleaching – and answer questions about why people (particularly women) feel the need to do it, and why it’s a growing ideal in Black and Asian communities to be whiter and lighter.


Here are my thoughts:

One comment from Mr Alim stuck in my mind after listening to the discussion:

Most men, prefer fairer skinned Black and Asian women

What’s a listener meant to do with this information? Surely it’s damaging enough for an adult to hear it on the radio, but what about a young person hearing such a self-assured sentence?

It’s frustrating to hear such a ‘fact’ uttered in 21st Century Britain, the mentality behind these words is disturbing and distorted.

Backed up by what Mr. Alim deems as “his own research”. Interviewer, Mike Anthony admits he finds Mr. Alim’s words, “insulting‘.

Mr. Alim admits he is perhaps creating “more hatred”  by making these skin-lightening products, because it’s encouraging “more segregation”.

So if people are so worried and aware about the damages –  even if there’s a “market for it” – why do people feel the need to pump money into harmful practice?

Dangerous side effects from using the creams include: swelling or thinning of the skin, cataracts, osteoporosis, birth defects and neurological and kidney damage due to high level of mercury used in the creams – but it doesn’t stop there.

Mr Alim’s lightening creams and serums work by reducing the level of melanin* in the body.

But with melanin known as the biggest preventer of skin-cancer, why would they want to stop your body producing the polymer that could stop you developing skin cancer? His answer –

But obviously, you don’t need that much melanin to prevent skin cancer

This naive and astonishing utterance proves to me that as long as these mind-boggling ‘fairer is better’ ideals are in existance, we’re still no closer to solving the Shadeism enigma.

Do you agree with Mr. Alim?

Vote anonymously here:


*Melanin is the pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their color. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people have.


Filming with GirlsTalkLondon

On the first Saturday of February 2015, history was made for a start-up organisation that is all about connecting women with Senior and leading women in competitive & male dominated industries. Girls Talk London filmed a new panel web series aimed … Continue reading

#HeForShe Campaign

“So much potential remains untapped”   Since her appointment in July 2014 last year, Emma Watson, British actress turned UN Women Goodwill Ambassador – has encouraged a new audience to break down the barriers prohibiting gender-equality. Fierce Watson is back, building … Continue reading

Reporting for City News

“Ashna Hurynag. City News”

As part of my journalism course, every Thursday we make an as-live news programme called ‘City News’.

Yesterday, I joined up with two other peers to form our mini news squad. Our task was to go out and fetch a story in order to build a television news package to fit into the live show.



We decided to pursue the story of Camden Council launching a new petition to get fairer compensation for residents of the Borough who’s housing will be affected by the new High Speed 2 railway line.

With some luck, raw journalistic talent and haphazard FCP editing skills, here’s what came of our newsgathering.


Fair Skin Obsession

‘Be brown and be proud’

BBC Asian Network’s Nihal has dedicated 6 minutes of his show to a public phone-in regarding the matter of the fair skinned obsession of the Asian community.

I makes for a interesting listen, these ideologies are hundreds and thousands of years old, yet affluence, beauty and education is still associated with the skin tone of one’s skin.

Click here for the ‘Fair skin obsession’ radio package.

For more on the topic of Shadeism, visit:

The Shady Minority‘ & ‘Shadeism. An Update


Why female empowerment is important


When you meet another female your age that wants to follow the exact same career path as you, do you see her as competition?


It is jealousy in its harshest form – jealousy of success.

These feelings are real and unfortunately seem to exist in society.

Of the few networking events and career advice talks I’ve attended, I’ve consistently encountered these types of young women.

These girls always seem judgemental and never are genuinely pleased when they learn the career path I want to lead is the same as theirs.

In contrast, when speaking to a guy who’s career ambition mirrors mine – there is no jealousy or judgement there at all.


But why does this jealousy amongst females exist?

I have always wondered why there is a need to compete, or get to your dream quicker or faster than another woman. Why can’t you both succeed?

Young women, in particular, need to stop being jealous of another’s success. There is no use in obsessing over someone else’s accomplishments or failures. 


Where did this competition begin and why do girls feel the need to compare themselves with others? Surely, we should be motivating our fellow females to succeed – what ever happened to ‘Girl Power’ after all!

Googling ‘female empowerment’ pulls up 18,600,000 results online of plenty of news articles featuring senior women in the limelight who are promoting the term.

Simply by diverting all the negative energy into something positive, can ultimately help you lead a better life and help you in your own successes.

Social networking means it’s easy to constantly compare yourself to your peers.

While healthy competition can be a good thing, blatant jealousy is not.female5

I’ve learnt that if you want to be successful in life, being your own competition is far better than fixating on someone else’s triumphs.

So what if your classmate got 90% in a test, and you only got 60%?

So what if she’s been promoted, and you are only an intern?

The world is sometimes unfair – deal with it. Some people have better opportunities and make the most of thier luck.

You can do nothing of it, except create your own successes.

Fantasizing about your jealousy will take you nowhere – but you know this already, and you certainly don’t need me to lecture you on that!


I firmly champion the ideal that women need to encourage fellow females to rise to the top in their career paths, rather than be jealous of them, or see them as competition.

All I’m saying is, be self-motivated, and celebrate your achievements.

Be passionate about your life and respect your own ambition.

Great article on this topic: ‘How to Stop being Jealous of Someone Else’s Success?’ 


University, done. Now what?

As seen on Girls Talk London (https://www.girlstalklondon.com/university-done-now-what/). Published 19th August 2014.

While you’re rigorously studying for a Shakespeare exam, life after university and the working world seem so far away that you need not worry about them. But suddenly before you have time to even consider the future – your life is thrust into your hands and you find yourself with a degree and your whole life ahead of you. ashgrad

I find myself in this exact position. Except, unlike many of my fellow graduates, I had resourcefully managed to tailor every part of my university student experience to what I wanted to do when I left. That’s my top tip for you university students, plan ahead. You may not know what exactly you want to do as a job, but you need to have an idea of the industry you want to enter – is it Finance, Media, Law or? For me, I was intent on a career in the Media. Whilst at university I ensured every activity and project I undertook outside my studies was purely Media related. I knew I needed extra-curricular activities that had a media thread running through them, because in the industry I wanted to flourish in, an English Literature degree just wasn’t going to make me stand out from the crowd.


It’s daunting, stepping out into this ‘world of work’ that old people speak of. I always imagined it as an ominous world filled with businessmen and women dressed in sharp suits from M&S and dapper shoes from Clarks. It seemed like a whole new universe of dreary routine and misery. But positivity is paramount in climbing the career ladder and it is with an open mind that I enter the next chapter of my profession.

There are so many paths available to you once the university portal closes. You can apply for a graduate trainee scheme, find a graduate job or continue with education. These are easier said than done, and all require a significant amount of time and effort. For many jobs and postgraduate courses you need to apply for these prior to graduating, this may add another level of stress to exam period but believe me it’s worth it. Some of my lucky friends had job offers before they even sat their first exam!


Contrary to popular belief the job market is dense, if you look in the right places and make yourself out to be the hottest candidate on the market. Sell yourself and don’t sell yourself short. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished at university! It’s made you who you are today, and three years of independence has allowed you to blossom into a young, employable person.

For me, I’ve chosen to commit to one more year in education. I’ve been itching to dive into this particular Masters course since I started my Bachelor degree. I’ve always known I’d want to become a Broadcast Journalist and the Postgraduate course I am starting in September I hope will fulfil that ambition. Continuing with education may not be for everyone, but my chosen course balances vocational, practical elements with theory and law – so I hope it will facilitate me to become an ethical, competent Asian, female journalist who is proud of her working class background.

I’m nervous and excited to start this new journey, but turning my back on university hasn’t been easy. I’ve often been guilty of looking back at photos from Fresher’s Week and of Googling the university name in an effort to reconnect with the place I loved so dearly for three years. Letting go is tough, and I feel some pressure to suddenly be a grown up. My life has spread it’s self out before me like a blank canvas and it’s time for me to pick up the paintbrush and start mapping out my journey.

Good luck to you all, and as Walt Disney once said – if you can dream it, you can do it.


The UK Education System

Students really do work hard. If you think about it, university students have been striving in education since the age of five. We’re pushed to consistently meet expectations of teachers and excel in the curriculum constructed by the government. Education as far as I’ve observed from a young age is forcing students to regurgitate force-fed information onto an exam paper. It’s not fair and doesn’t inspire children to think for themselves or use their imaginations. It also causes unnecessary stress during the exam period.


I’m not saying the education system is awful, I’ve simply seen that the strict regiments enforced upon children to ensure we’re kept in line, and are made to think, feel and believe the same principles, is completely wrong. I’m also saying that the way we test education through exams papers with strict time limits in huge, echoic exam halls aren’t a sound way to test intelligence.

You begin to see changes as you grow older and move up the education ladder. The lack of spoon feeding when you enter the college and university years of education opens your eyes to independent thinking. Suddenly it’s okay to reject the norm, and think outside the box and counter argue against huge critical thinkers. Its part of the reason I’ve stuck with the education system up until thus far.

I don’t yet know whether a Postgraduate degree is in the pipeline for me, but I’m thankful that I’ve succeeded in doing an Undergraduate degree so far. I’d love to continue in education, I think I like the security of it. It means I don’t need to worry about the working world since being in education is somewhat a safe, secure bubble. I don’t know what the future holds, but I certainly don’t think that I’d reject the idea of doing another degree somewhere in the future.