Konnie Huq says she wanted lighter skin as a child

Natalie Cornish
·2-min read
Photo credit: Jenny Lewis for Red Magazine
Photo credit: Jenny Lewis for Red Magazine

Konnie Huq has recalled 'fantasising' about having lighter skin as a child.

The former Blue Peter was born to Bengali parents in west London. She told The Times that, growing up as a British Bangladeshi child, she never saw herself reflected back in kids' books or on TV, so – desperately wanting to fit in – she became quite ashamed of her skin colour and culture.

'People forget the 1980s and 1990s was a time before any concept of inclusivity and diversity,' Huq told the newspaper.

'I was a young girl who totally wanted to fit in with the world around me. I have older sisters, but there was a big age gap because after them my mum had a miscarriage and then another child who died very young.

She added: 'I was looking for role models and I didn’t see myself in kids' books or on TV, so I fantasised about being lighter. Wanting to have lighter skin is terrible for any child — it’s insidious. And if there is someone in a powerful position judging skin colour [as the Sussexes have suggested in their Oprah interview], then that’s just plain wrong.'

Now, Huq is a mother herself to the two boys she shares with her husband Charlie Brooker – Covey, 8, and Huxley, 7.

She realises that 'having family connections to help your children get to know their cultural roots is invaluable', especially since losing both her parents. But, the issue of representation remains the same. That's why she has written and illustrated her own series of children's books with a British Bangladeshi female lead.

She explained: 'I think mixed-race or BAME children need to see people who look and behave like they do in books and films and on TV. When I was growing up there was the odd library book about an Indian girl in a village collecting water or picking mangoes and that wasn’t me. If mixed-race or BAME kids can’t see it, they won’t be it.'

You can read Konnie Huq's full interview with The Times here.

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