Allure
March 22, 2017 3:41 PM EDT

Allure’s April issue sends a powerful message about beauty and diversity.

The magazine tapped 41 women of color, including Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu, Women’s March on Washington national co-chair Tamika Mallory and Top Chef executive producer and host Padma Lakshmi, to “tell us the story of their lives through their skin — and skin tone.” Many of the women featured said that they were affected by discrimination and a lack of diversity in films, television and other forms of media.

Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata told Allure that she was frequently told growing up that it was less desirable to have darker skin, and that thinking was reinforced when she noticed that most of the black actors on television had lighter skin. “Sometimes when casting directors are looking for a black woman, they’re looking for whatever the closest option is to white — straight hair, Anglo features, light skin,” she said. “I am darker than a lot of women who are on TV, and my hair is natural. To a lot of people, it’s really important to see me on TV, and I’m so happy to be there and do that.”

Jessica Alba told the magazine that she’s seen the conversation about representation in Hollywood dramatically shift since she began acting 20 years ago, thanks to powerhouses like Jennifer Lopez, Shonda Rimes and Kerry Washington. And she wants to keep celebrating diversity by teaching the next generation that beauty isn’t defined by any specific set of standards.

“What makes someone beautiful is the power of owning who they are and confidence, and being kind, and having compassion. Those types of themes are what I really try to nail into my girls’ heads, and reiterate over and over again,” Alba said.

See the full spread at Allure.

Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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