Would Aishwarya Rai, the stunning former Miss World and Bollywood darling, be as popular if her eyes weren't a glowing green-blue? Would she have snagged a L'Oreal cosmetics contract or crossed over to Hollywood?
Since color contacts by FreshLook became available in 1984, women of color - including Naomi Campbell, Lil' Kim, and Ziyi Zhang - have been eager to experiment. "Our largest market is with dark-eyed and dark-complected women," says Jeff Cohen, vice president of global marketing for CIBA Vision (makers of FreshLook), citing African-American, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern women as the top customers in the U.S. "Color contacts are huge with Middle Eastern women because their clothing often covers everything except their eyes. It's one of the only ways they have to express their originality."
With this uniquely exotic notion of lighter eyes coming into vogue, colored-lens users climbed to 2.7 million in the U.S. alone last year.