White Pearl Synopsis

It begins with a string of YouTube comments on an anonymously uploaded draft of an ad for White Pearl, the Singaporean company Clearday’s™ new skin whitening cream. The ad is racist, very racist. Like, how-did-anyone-in-their-right-mind-ever-approve-this racist. Clearday’s™ autocrat, Priya Singh, races against the clock, trying to handle this “incident” before the ad is picked up by the Western media. She is determined to find out who is responsible, and she’s out for blood. Priya and her sidekick, Sunny Lee, set their eyes on Xiao Chen, the head of the Chinese branch responsible for the ad campaign. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to wait for Xiao to stop crying in bathroom first.

This search for a scapegoat suggests that Clearday’s™ “alternative corporate culture” might be as much of a myth as its marketing promises of beauty and purity. As Xiao’s colleague Soo-Jin Park, a Korean chemist, attempts to console her on the bathroom floor, the women concoct a way to make Xiao’s firing a bit less inevitable. With time running out (and Buzzfeed on the scent), cultural misconceptions and clashing ideals are put on display as the women prepare a press statement able to withstand the onslaught of “PC” Western outrage.  Just when things could not get any worse, Built Suttikul, the head of the Thai branch, gets a call from her toxic ex-boyfriend, claiming that he can save the day.

 A story of intracultural racism and toxic corporate culture gone viral, White Pearl follows Priya as she desperately tries to save her company. But can she save Clearday™  without exposing its (and her own) darkest secrets? “Women need beauty products in general, because women—all women—hate the way they look. They hate themselves,” Priya explains to her corporate underlings.  In their attempt to beat the clock and cover up the ever-growing dark spot on the company's bright future, the six women of Clearday™ investigate this proposition through dark satire, cold-blooded jabs, and shifting alliances, forged in beauty and now tested in war.

Fiona Selmi