Priyanka Chopra opens up about pay gap, body shaming in Bollywood: Was called a black cat

New DelhiEdited By: Shomini SenUpdated: Dec 07, 2022, 06:51 PM IST
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Global star Priyanka Chopra-Jonas has spoken candidly about the pay disparity that she has faced in Bollywood.

Global star Priyanka Chopra-Jonas has spoken candidly about the pay disparity that she has faced in Bollywood. Priyanka was one of the four Indians named in this year's list of BBC's 100 Women and while speaking to the publication, the actress revealed that Bollywood never paid female actors the same as male leads. 

"I've never had pay parity in Bollywood. I would get paid about 10% of the salary of my male co-actor. It's (the pay gap) large, substantially large. And so many women still deal with that. I'm sure I will too if I worked with a male co-actor now in Bollywood. My generation of female actors has definitely asked (for equal pay). We've asked, but we've not got it," she admitted. 

Priyanka also recalled how in her initial days she would have wait on sets for her male co-actor to arrive and said that she thought it was normal.

"I thought it was absolutely OK to sit for hours and hours on set, while my male co-actor just took his own time, and decided whenever he wanted to show up on set is when we would shoot," she said.

The actress revealed how she was body shamed in the film industry for her complexion and called 'black cat' or 'dusky' by many in the film industry.

“I was called ‘black cat’, ‘dusky’. I mean, what does ‘dusky’ even mean in a country where we are literally all brown? I thought I was not pretty enough, I believed that I would have to work a lot harder, even though I thought I was probably a little bit more talented than my fellow actors who were lighter skinned. But I thought that was right because it was so normalised," she shared.

Priyanka moved to the west in 2015 when she became the first South Asian to be the lead in a network television programme in the US. The show 'Quantico' made her a household name but the actress said it's still difficult to get mainstream work in Hollywood for people of her ethnicity, despite a greater awareness to be more inclusive and diverse.

"I think maybe I've built a certain amount of credibility, and so I'm doing interesting work. We'll see if that's accepted or not. It's really hard to be South Asian and Indian in Hollywood. There's still a long way to go," she said.

The actress will soon be seen in a series called 'Citadel' opposite Richard Madden. She will also be seen in Jim Strouse’s directorial 'It’s All Coming Back To Me.' The film also stars Russell Tovey, Lydia West and Sam Heughan in lead roles. The movie is currently in its post-production stage and is expected to release in May 2023. She also has Farhan Akhtar’s 'Jee Le Zaraa' in her pipeline which will also star Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif in the lead.