More than a week ago, Rihanna dropped her latest music video featuring one of her most aggressive songs yet, "Bitch Better Have My Money." The video has close to 21 million views and has people talking about many aspects of the video. Its graphic content is unforgettable and "in-your-face," everything is stylish, and Rihanna clearly establishes to the world that no one messes with her. But one of the most compelling aspects of the music video is Rihanna's Indian henchwoman. Her name is Sanam and she was, quite literally, singled out in a pool of selfies while Rih was scrolling through Instagram (below is the famous selfie). Sanam's Instagram is filled with captivating, bold, and chic photos that showcase her specific style and attitude. The world-famous singer got in contact with Sanam and in a few days, Sanam flew from her home in Seattle to Los Angeles to film a music video.
Rihanna, upon making contact with her, described Sanam as "rare," so when BBHMM was released, one of many things were declared: Traditional physical beauty standards are changing. Traditional beauty is what was once often seen in popular media: skinny and white. Other body types and different ethnicities and cultures weren't considered the ideal. But in recent years, those standards are changing and Sanam's presence in Rihanna's music video is an example of that. Sanam is not white or skinny, but she's beautiful. And what makes her beautiful is that she fully embraces herself, her features, and her background. She accentuates herself and her style and doesn't try to be what she's not. Having Sanam in BBHMM is suggestive that there needs to be more of this perspective when it comes to putting a standard on beauty and women are trying to revising it. Beauty, then, isn't limited to any physical feature or race, but is empowered by confident attitude and self-acceptance. And it shouldn't be rare.