Tanisha Gorey spoke to us all about Asha's confidence issues and the lengths she's willing to go to fit in.
How is Asha feeling when she comes back from India? She seems a bit secretive…
While she’s been in India she’s become fixated with lightening her skin. It’s very normalised over there, so when she comes back she thinks why shouldn’t I be doing this here too. In India she’s seen all the Bollywood actresses she looks up to sponsoring these skin lightening creams, she wants to be successful and pretty like them, so she thinks 'what’s wrong with it?'. But ultimately we’ll find out it’s a lot more about Asha’s low self-esteem.
How has Asha got hold of these creams?
She got it while she was in India and she’s brought it home with her. It’s very easy to get hold of there, you can just walk into a shop and buy it, that’s how normalised it is. She’s seen what girls are doing, she wants to follow the crowd and it’s making her feel a bit better about herself. Her self-esteem is low and this is a way she feels she can fit in.
Do you think it’s something that has been on her mind before she went to India?
Asha’s been struggling getting attention from boys, for parts in school plays and she thinks maybe if she can change herself then she'll get more of that.
Why doesn’t Asha talk to Dev about this?
She feels she can’t really talk to her dad because deep down she does know that over here in England it’s not the right thing to be doing and she doesn’t think he’d understand - so when the cream falls out of her bag she’s very quick to pick it up and avoid getting into any sort of conversation about it. She’s not ready to answer all the questions just yet.
How is her behaviour when she returns?
She’s very hostile with both Dev and Mary, insisting they let her do her own thing. Asha lost her mum a long time ago and Dev tries to take on both roles, and Mary does her best to step in, but for Asha they’re too far removed from what she feels she’s going through and she just wants her own freedom now she’s getting a bit older.
Mary tries to talk to Asha, does she open up to her at all?
Asha is close to Mary, but there’s too much of an age gap there, she feels like more of a grandmother figure and she can’t open up to her about how she’s feeling.
How did you feel when you found out you were going to be working on this storyline?
I knew nothing about these skin lightening creams really, I’d heard it happened but I had no idea it was as common as it actually is. I’ve tried to find out a lot more about the issue and now I’m really excited to try and get the message across that this is something young girls are turning to as they struggle with their self-esteem.
I want to make sure I do it justice because if you’re going to cover such a serious issue, which is not shown a lot, then you need to do it in the right way. I’m really looking forward to taking it on and hopefully help educate other young girls about it. It’s all about self-esteem.
What research have you done into skin lightening?
I’ve spoken a lot with our research team and I’ve met with a lady called Narinda Chana at Rethink Mental Illness Bristol, as well as the British Skin Foundation who look into the issue. I’ve read a lot of stories, looked at a lot of facts and looked into people’s thought processes as to why they turn to skin lightening.