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WHAT COLOR IS BEAUTY?

Born in Hong Kong to a Chinese architect and English fashion model, Nancy Kwan played a pivotal role in the acceptance of actors of Asian descent in major Hollywood films.

Kwan became an international style icon after Vidal Sassoon cut her hair into a sleek bob for her role in The Wild Affair, and Terence Donovan’s image of the cut was published in British and American Vogue.

As Vidal Sassoon recounted, “My first seminal cut had come in 1963 when I was asked to do the hair of the girl of the moment - an actress called Nancy Kwan, who was about to star in a new film.  How the director managed to persuade Nancy to give up four feet of hair I’ll never know - she had a curtain of inky-black shiny locks reaching way beyond her waistline to the curve of her bottom.  But she showed no emotion as I cut her hair shorter and still shorter. Instead, she played chess with her manager until I was finished.  When she looked in the mirror, I wasn’t sure whether she liked the cut or not, but I could feel it in my bones that this would become the classic bob forever and it did.”

Lakshmi Menon is one of the most well-known models to emerge from India. 

She was featured on the cover of Indian Vogue’s premiere issue in September 2007, along with Gemma Ward and other leading Indian models.  In 2008, she became the face of the global brands Hermes and Givenchy.  She appears in magazines internationally and has walked in high-profile fashion shows in both the U.S. and Europe. 

Despite her success, she still occasionally encounters people whose image of India has remained unchanged.  “I look at myself as any other model. But yes, sometimes I’m looked upon as an exotic thing that’s landed on their shores…They want to keep the myth of India being the land of elephants, and colorful women with pots on their heads intact. They are not comfortable with the new India emerging…the multicultural and global India.  They’ve still not come to terms with it yet…there’s still wonder in their eyes."