Sherlyn Chopra in Playboy: Bollywood Actress Makes Powerful Diversity Statement in the Nude

Playboy is a magazine of firsts; it was the first to feature an unknown ingénue who went by the name of Marilyn Monroe, the first magazine to incorporate in-depth interviews alongside pictures of scantily clad women, and now it’s the first magazine to feature a nude Indian actress. Bollywood bombshell, Sheralyn Chopra is the first Indian woman to pose for Playboy Magazine. Despite the scandalous nature of the publication, Playboy has always been progressive for its time. Featuring models of all ethnicities way before it was a societal standard, it puts other fashion magazines like Vogue to shame for its lack of diversity.

Playboy published its first issue in 1953 and the magazine has only grown in popularity developing a cult following. Since its debut, Playboy has always been before its time, bucking the trends of other popular men’s magazines by showing women posing tastefully in the nude. Although the magazine has always gotten heat for its subject matter, it does a much better job at promoting diversity than most conventional fashion magazines. 


In the midst of the Civil Rights mMovement, Jennifer Jackson became the first African American women featured in 1965. Jackson made her appearance only a year after China Lee graced the magazine as the first Asian American to pose for Playboy in 1964. By 1973, Ester Cordet was the first woman of Hispanic-American heritage to make into the magazine. Over the years, Playboy has continued to show women that beauty exists at all ages, shapes, and colors through the wide of array of women featured.


Compare that to an illustrious fashion magazine like Vogue, which is touted as the epitome of high fashion and culture, and it becomes clear that something the fashion magazine is missing. The magazine has been around since the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until 1974 that they finally put an African -American face on the cover in 1973. Even Italian Vogue has published an issue that only featured Bblack models after they noticed the dearth of them in the fashion world. It was a bestseller and showed fashion editors worldwide that people want to see more colors in the pages of their magazines. Vogue has done a little better in adding a more diverse range of models, but it still gets flack for not doing a very good job at it. For instance, the April 2008 Vogue cover featured a King Kong-ified Lebron James clasping the dainty Gisele Bundchen created a huge controversy. Although the magazine was meant to celebrate bodies, James came off as an angry, beast-like Bblack man stereotype instead. Thus, as Vogue continues to struggle to be more inclusive, it becomes clear that Playboy is doing something right.

After her announcement that she would be in Playboy, Chopra faced some backlash from people who believe the starlet is only degrading herself by posing in the magazine. Yet in an open letter to the public, Chopra responded by saying that she has the right to do with her body as she pleases. Although she didn’t mention it in her letter, Chopra could have added that her decision to be in the magazine makes her a part a legion of women that promote different types of beauty and freedom of expression with every pose.