Celebrities are known to switch up their looks from time to time. Whether it’s making bold and different style choices on the red carpet, rocking new hair dos, to even losing and gaining weight for some movie roles — it isn’t uncommon for celebrities to take risks and cause a stir whenever they alter their appearance, no matter how small the change. However, these changes can sometime be dramatic, especially if a celebrity looks like they may have had plastic surgery.
Some plastic surgeries and other procedures to drastically alter your physical appearance are still quite controversial and taboo in certain societies. As well, whether or not celebrities have gone under the knife is still a headline-grabbing topic that everyone seems to want to know about. Because a lot of people consider them to be role models, some people feel that celebrities should be celebrating their natural beauty, so as to set an example for everyone else to embrace their looks and stop trying to reach an unattainable beauty standard. The use of medical procedures to alter one’s appearance is scrutinized even more harshly when it comes to things that are specific to one’s culture – specifically, when people decide to alter their skin colour through lightening methods.
15 Tamar Braxton
Tamar Braxton was known as singer Toni Braxton’s sister. However, in 2012, she released her own R&B album. She’s also been a host for the talk show The Real, as well as had a reality show along with her family called, Braxton Family Values. Since her complexion has appeared to be getting lighter over the years, many people have speculated about whether or not she’s gotten her skin bleached. However, Braxton maintains that she has not.
In an interview with Vibe Magazine in 2013, Braxton tried to clear up any rumours about her newly-fair complexion, by saying that she’d been battling with skin condition vitiligo for years, but that she just has never opened up to the public about it before. “Anybody with skin issues knows that that’s a very sensitive subject and that’s why I’ve never shared that I have vitiligo because I do,” she said.
14 Irene Major
Irene Major began her career as a model, walking the runways of Cameroon (where she’s from) and Paris. However, she would become more famous for her skin tone that her work in fashion. Having been out of the spotlight since her early modeling days, Major appeared on the British television show X-Factor UK in 2014, and caused quite a stir with her startling new appearance.
It seems that Major had undergone some procedures to lighten her skin, and she never tried to deny it, either. In fact, in later interviews with Major, she claimed that having lighter skin made her feel prettier. In defense of her decision, she said, “There are many different types of African skin — from dark charcoal to a lighter version — and you grow up knowing that the lighter ladies are the prettier ones. It’s just a fact.”
Singer Ciara rose to fame in the early 2000s with her unique sound and catchy songs. Since she released her first single, Goodies, Ciara has been singing and dancing her way through the music industry, making a name for herself as a hip hop and R&B artist. However, after a short hiatus, Ciara came back with a whole new look that some people speculated involved more than just her getting a new stylist.
If you look at photos of Ciara from when she first started out, versus most recent images of her, it does appear that her skin looks a fair bit lighter than it used to. Of course, there are many factors to consider about why that it, especially since she has never addressed any of the rumours surrounding her ever-changing complexion, so there’s no way to know for sure.
12 Trina McGee
You might know her as “Angela” from the television show Boy Meets World, but since then, actress Trina McGee has made headlines because of looks, rather than her acting chops. As she appeared in different television shows, people started noticing her lighter complexion. This lead fans to speculate about whether skin bleaching was involved in her new look. However, she tried to shut those rumours down by tweeting, “Black does not crack. The new look is still 100% ME” after the rumors came back to her.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t buying the idea that her new look is a result of her good genes. While McGee does look as if she hasn’t aged since she began her television career, that isn’t what’s in question. People are wondering how her skin has gotten drastically lighter over the years, since she hasn’t claimed to have vitiligo or any other skin condition that could alter her skin’s pigmentation.
11 Latoya Jackson
Much like her brother, Latoya Jackson, one of the famous family members of Michael Jackson, hasn’t been able to escape rumours about plastic surgery and skin bleaching treatments. Since the singer entered the spotlight, people have compared her to her superstar brother, particularly because of both of their complexions getting significantly lighter over time.
While some speculated that Jackson might also have the skin condition, vitiligo, others claimed that she simply decided to get plastic surgery, as well as bleach her skin, in order to look like her famous brother, in order to gain the same kind of fame as he had. Whatever the case may be, Jackson has never admitted to having her skin bleached, although current photos compared to her photos from years ago might suggest otherwise. Let the rumours rage on.
Supermodel Iman is more than just a fashion model. She’s also an actress, an entrepreneur, and the wife of the late David Bowie. She’s had an incredible career, since she began walking down runways almost four decades ago! However, it seems that while Iman seems to be an ageless beauty, her skin tone appears to have gone through some changes.
While her current skin tone doesn’t look as startlingly light as some of our other celebrities, it is important to note that it is still noticeably lighter than it was before. Speculation about Iman potentially undergoing skin lightening procedures, however subtle, have been floating around for a while. Of course, Iman has never addressed these rumours, which means that people will continue to speculate, especially since she does look fairly different from older photos.
9 Nicki Minaj
Rapper Nicki Minaj is no stranger to controversy and rumours. Her body has been the topic of many gossip columns and internet memes, because people can’t believe that her incredible curves are real. However, besides the talk about whether or not her assets are naturally grown, there has also been rumours swirling around about her fair complexion.
People have placed older photos of Minaj next to some current images and have speculated that she’s had some sort of bleaching procedure done to lighten her complexion, because he’s noticeable darker in some of her younger photos before she became famous. While she has denied getting her skin lightened, she did address the rumours and say, “People see my makeup and think all kind of crazy things like I'm doing something to my skin. No, it's just makeup.”
8 Hallie Berry
She’s everyone’s dream girl, and she’s known as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. Although actress Halle Berry has always had a fairer complexion, as time went on, and she became an A-list celebrity in the entertainment industry, people began to speculate as to whether or not she’d gotten any treatments to lighten her skin.
Some people have claimed that Berry has merely bleached her knees, using old photos from her beauty pageant days as evidence. However, some people have speculated that Berry has had some sort of skin lightening treatment done to her skin, as over the years, her complexion has looked lighter — while not as drastically as some of the other celebs on the list. While Berry has never acknowledged these claims, people continue to comment on various forums.
7 Diana Ross
Diana Ross, the legendary singer and diva, has had a illustrious career spanning many decades. However, as the decades have gone by, people have began to note that Ross’ complexion seems to get lighter and lighter. Of course, Ross has never addressed these rumours, but that doesn’t stop anyone from making speculations.
Even celebrities have gotten in on the skin bleaching rumours about Ross, though. Rapper Azealia Banks, who has arguably become more well-known for her drama than her music, even took to Twitter to talk about African American celebrities who she believes have gotten their skin bleached. She called out Nicki Minaj, singer K. Michelle, and Ross was also included in this list and Twitter rant, with Banks calling her “the bleach queen.” We wonder who her source was for this information?
6 Mindy Kaling
Actress and author Mindy Kaling has made a name for herself in Hollywood as someone who promotes body-positivity. She’s an advocate for embracing yourself and your body, no matter what size you are, and her confidence about her own appearance, and her continued stance on not conforming to the often unattainable Hollywood beauty standard is inspiring.
However, she’s recently come under fire as people have claimed that her complexion has gotten significantly lighter over the years. While some people argue that it’s just makeup or photoshop, a lot of people are saying that it’s a lot more than that, based on some of her red carpet images from various events she’s attended in the past, versus events she’s recently attended. While her skin does appear to be lighter, Kaling hasn’t confirmed or denied the rumours.
5 Vybz Kartel
Musician Vybz Kartel became famous as a reggae artist, but later became surrounded in controversy when he bleached his skin. In 2011, Kartel claimed to have used “cake soap,” also known as “blue soap” to lighten his complexion. Cake soap is a type of soap that contains bleach, and is traditionally used to clean white fabrics. However, Kartel used the soap to lighten his skin!
Of course, his comments sparked a lot of controversy, because not only did he essentially bleach his skin, but he did so using a soap that was meant for clothing. While many people questioned his actions, with some even claiming that this was a sign of a mental health issue, he responded by saying, “I’m my own man, and as such I do my own thing.”
4 Lark Voorhies
Lark Voorhies is a 90s television icon in her own right, playing character ‘Lisa Turtle’ on the hit television show Saved By The Bell. However, in recent years, articles have only been written about her because of her appearance, rather than her acting work. Not only have some people suspected that she had her skin bleached, but that the procedure was botched!
In 2014, Voorhies stepped out and was a lot lighter than she used to be. Her appearance alarmed people because it looked as though some parts of face were a lot darker than others, which also lead some people to argue that her strange appearance was simply due to poorly-applied makeup. However, more recent photos of Voorhies suggest that she did, in fact, have procedures to have her skin lightened.
3 Sammy Sosa
Sammy Sosa is a legendary baseball star who was celebrated for his many achievements in the sport, including 545 home runs during his 13-year run. However, in recent years, it’s as if people have forgotten about his many impressive accomplishments, because they can’t help but focus on his appearance — so much so, that his name has become synonymous with skin bleaching.
While Sosa has never denied these claims, saying that he simply used a “bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some.” The term “some” is definitely an understatement, as Sosa’s current skin tone looks significantly lighter than it used to. Sosa does maintain that his skin isn’t as white as some say it is, and that it’s merely lighting that makes it appear lighter.
2 Michael Jackson
When anyone talks about skin lightening in the entertainment industry, everyone immediately thinks about the one and only Michael Jackson. Jackson was an African America superstar, with a career spanning decades, and beginning when he was just 5 years old. However, after being diagnosed with the skin condition vitiligo, Jackson’s complexion began to undergo quite a drastic change. While his vitiligo did change his skin’s pigmentation, many people claim that he underwent skin lightening treatments to get the porcelain complexion he would later become famous for.
Jackson’s appearance was also always a topic for gossip magazines, because aside from his complexion, his facial features continued to change as well. People even went so far as to say Jackson was abandoning his culture by lightening his skin, altering his nose, and straightening his hair.
1 Lil' Kim
Rapper Lil' Kim has lead a troubled life, and although she’s had a very successful career as a musician, her life hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy. Rumours of plastic surgery and skin bleaching have surrounded her for most of her career, even though she adamantly denies ever having either.
However, if you look at photos of Kim, it’s easy to see why those rumours would begin and persist for as long as they have. While one can argue that a lot of the change in her looks can be attributed to makeup and hair, her skin – as well as some of her facial features – look as if they’ve definitely been altered by more than just some cleverly-placed makeup tricks. As far as she’s concerned however, people only speculate about her looks because they’re haters.