Priyanka Chopra has revealed she was refused a movie role last year because of the colour of her skin.
In a recent interview with In Style, the Baywatch actor recalled, ““It happened last year. I was out for a movie, and somebody [from the studio] called one of my agents and said, ‘She’s the wrong — what word did they use? — ‘physicality’.”
Initially thinking ‘physicality’ had to do with her body frame, Chopra wondered if she needed to lose weight.
“So in my defense as an actor, I’m like, ‘Do I need to be skinnier? Do I need to get in shape? Do I need to have abs?’ Like, what does ‘wrong physicality’ mean?” she said.
However, she added that her agent then told her it meant the colour of her skin.
“And then my agent broke it down for me. Like, ‘I think, Priy, they meant that they wanted someone who’s not brown,’ ” she shared. “It affected me.”
The actor continued, “No one will say that a woman is getting paid less because she’s a woman of colour, but the numbers mostly end up reflecting that.”
Although Chopra is now the leading lady of ABC drama Quantico, she has repeatedly spoken about the discrimination she had to face in the US.
Chopra who attended high school in Queens, New York, and later Newton, Massachusetts said, “When I went to school here, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me.”
“I was called ‘Brownie’ and told, ‘Take your curry and go back to your country.’ It was hard. I wanted to go home, and I did,” she added.
The actor further told the magazine that she has dealt with pay inequality against women in both India and the US.
“I feel it every year, especially when you’re doing movies with really big actors, whether it’s in India or America. If an actor is getting 100 bucks, the conversation will start with max, like, 8 bucks. The gap is that staggering.”
“In America, we don’t talk about it as brashly, whereas in India the issue is not skirted around. I’ve been told straight up, if it’s a female role in a movie with big, male actors attached, your worth is not really considered as much,” she said.
Chopra who has worked in 50 Bollywood films to date, said she was brought up in an environment where a woman led the household and her father was “a progressive who celebrated her and her mother’s talents.”
The actor is convinced that if more people took her parents’ approach, “so many of these problems wouldn’t exist. I just think merit should be the name of the game. Stop looking at women as women and men as men—just look at us as our ability to deliver at the job given to us.”