Priyanka Chopra said she missed out on a role in a film last year due to her skin color.
‘It affected me,’ the 35-year-old told InStyle Tuesday, as she was up ‘for a movie’ when studio executives followed up with a rep using vague language to explain their decision.
They ‘called one of my agents and said, “She’s the wrong – what word did they use? “Physicality.”‘
The star of ABC’s terrorism thriller Quantico initially didn’t understand the implication.
‘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?
Eventually, the Baywatch star told the magazine, her agent explained to her the ugly truth of the situation.
‘My agent broke it down for me. Like, ‘I think, Priy, they meant that they wanted someone who’s not brown,”‘ said Priyanka, who hails from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India.
Priyanka, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, said statistics usually bear out the harsh reality.
‘No one will say that a woman is getting paid less because she’s a woman of color, but the numbers mostly end up reflecting that.’
The former Miss World said a sea change is coming, as women are less and less buying into systemic flaws stacking the deck against them professionally.
‘We’ve been taught for eons that women need to fight each other, clamber and climb on top of each other to get that one job,’ she said. ‘And, now we’re seeing through it.’
Priyanka, an enormous star in Bollywood before crossing over into American show business, said she’s dealt with pay inequality against women in both places. She said, ‘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.’