August 8, 2008
When she was hired as the face of L'Oreal, Beyonce Knowles signed a contract pledging she would not make any 'radical changes' to her appearance.
However, it seems the beauty giant made no such promises in return.
The 27-year-old singer, whose father is African-American and whose mother is Creole, appears in L'Oreal's latest campaign with pale skin and strawberry-blonde hair.
The change in her hair colour can be attributed to the product she is advertising - a Feria highlighting kit.
But L'Oreal has been accused of 'whitewashing' her by digitally lightening her skin.
U.S. newspaper The New York Post, under the headline 'Beyonce The Pale', called the advert 'shocking' and accused the company of making the singer look like a 'weird, nearly white version of herself'.
Celebrity website TMZ, calling the shot 'severely Photoshopped', added: 'L'Oreal has some serious explaining to do about its bleached-out Beyonce ad!'
Hundreds of readers added fuel to the controversy, attacking L'Oreal - and even Miss Knowles for not 'being herself'.
The actress and singer's contract with L'Oreal is worth 2.3million over five years.
For that, she has to work only ten days a year, turning up for photoshoots and promotional and personal appearances.
L'Oreal has the option to extend those ten days to 12 but has to pay 12,500 a day for the extra time.
When she signed the contract, Miss Knowles had to agree to keep her hair in 'excellent condition' and tell the company before making ' radical' alterations to her image.
Her spokesman yesterday declined to comment, and Elle magazine, which first ran the advert, said it would investigate.
L'Oreal said yesterday: 'It is categorically untrue that L'Oreal Paris altered Ms Knowles' features or skin tone in the campaign.'