Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian cricket team and Royal Challengers Bangalore, has become well-known for being a relentless run machine for his country. This 28-year-old player has been an inspiration to many around the world for his discipline, hard work, and his knack for fitness.
Apart from carrying the hopes and aspirations of millions of Indians on the cricket ground, Virat Kohli also has a brand image that his hardcore fans would vehemently want to replicate for themselves.
However, Kohli has refused to endorse soft drinks anymore. Considering the amount of sugar in soft drinks, a super-fit athlete like Virat Kohli endorsing them was nothing short of hypocrisy. In an interview with The Telegraph, he once said this about his lifestyle before he decided to get healthy and train harder,
"My training was horrible, I ate so bad, I was up until late, I was having a drink or two regularly. It was a horrible mindset. The season ended and I was so thankful it was over. I went home, came out of the shower one day and looked at myself in the mirror and said ‘you can’t look like this if you want to be a professional cricketer.’ I changed everything from the next morning from what I eat to how I train. I was in the gym for an hour-and-a-half every day. Working really hard, off gluten, off wheat, no cold drinks, no desserts, nothing. It was tough."
The Indian captain has annulled his collaboration with the major soft drink company Pepsi and the fairness products he had been endorsing. He said no to fairness products on the grounds that such creams exacerbate the problem of racism in a country like India which is obsessed with fairness, and by extension, fairness creams.
By practising what he preaches, Kohli proves that it is essential to carry a noble image while being a public icon. According to a report by The Quint, Kohli is the brand ambassador of global nutrition company 'Herbalife' which deals in nutrition and weight management products, and it is only appropriate that he picks his other endorsements carefully.
Given the influence most of these stars have as role models, particularly in a country where we see racism rearing its head time and again, it is important to take a stand. Colour does not define who we are. As Michael Jackson once sang,
"It doesn’t matter if you are black or white."