pearl thusi

Pearl Thusi has spoken candidly about colourism and other topics. Image via Twitter @PearlThusi

Pearl Thusi talks colourism and how she used to burn her skin to fit in

The lead actress of Netflix’s ‘Queen Sono’ says she used to burn her skin as a child.

pearl thusi

Pearl Thusi has spoken candidly about colourism and other topics. Image via Twitter @PearlThusi

Thusi, real name Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi, made the admission in an interview on Podcast with Mac G that premiered earlier in December. 


In the interview with Mac G the actress talked about colourism and her thoughts on light skin privilege. She revealed that, growing up, she was the only light-skinned person in her group, and was often teased and bullied for being different. 

When asked if she wished she was darker-skinned, she said she used to burn her skin as a child because of the teasing.

“Uh, I used to like burn my skin when I was a kid to stop the teasing,” Thusi told Mac G. 

The conversation was sparked by a previous incident experienced by Thusi on the controversial topic of colourism and light skin privilege on Twitter.


In 2019, the Quantico star was called out by Tweeps who said the reason she was a successful actress was her light skin and not her talent. 

Rhythm City actress Bonnie Mbuli, whom Thusi said she regarded as an older sister, joined the heated colourism conversation on Twitter. The tweet that has since been removed read:

“So when a light-skinned actress complains abt the one or two roles they didn’t get coz they weren’t dark enuf; I’m like but the part ur crying abt was being the slave who gets raped and beat up in the thing, ppl who look like u have never had to be in that position to begin with.” 


On the Podcast with Mac G, the actress cleared up the issue, saying that she was not saying colourism was not a thing; the point she was making was that being told she was only successful because of her skin colour was not fair. She added this had brought up her childhood issues around skin colour and had made her emotional.

She then added:

“They want someone to be upset with, people need someone to be a villain in their story and when you’ve been the chosen one to be the villain, sometimes you’ve just got to accept that and keep walking.” 

“My journey has been an interesting one and one day I’ll tell it, but I’m so exhausted defending what I am and who I am,” she added.

The podcast episode covered more than colourism, but also Queen Sono, the loss of Thusi’s father, depression and the US.

Watch it here:


Twitter was more than impressed by Thusi speaking out so boldly. 

ALSO READ: Pearl Thusi responds to the cancellation of ‘Queen Sono’ season 2