Priyanka Chopra says she once lost a movie role because of her skin color.
The Indian-American actress who has starred in blockbusters like “Baywatch” and the hit ABC drama “Quantico” has opened up about her experience with discrimination in Hollywood.
“It happened last year,” she told In Style. “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.’”
Chopra thought it was her weight or body image that was the issue at first.
“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?” Chopra continued. “And then my agent broke it down for me. Like, ‘I think, Priy, they meant that they wanted someone who’s not brown.’
“It affected me,” she added.
The 35-year-old star, who rose to fame in more than 50 Bollywood films, went on to discuss the wage gap that women of color in the industry face.
“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,” she said.
It’s worth noting that white and Asian college-educated women also earn roughly 80% the hourly wages of white college-educated men (around $25 and $27). However, black and Hispanic women with the same college degree earn only about 70% the hourly wages of similarly educated white men ($23 and $22, respectively), according to Pew Research.
Earlier this year, Chopra told “TODAY’s” Willie Geist that she faced vicious bullying and racism as a teen when she moved from India to the U.S.
“That was my first sort of experience and brush with racism in a big way, where I was made to feel so uncomfortable about the way I look or where I came from, I started believing that I probably was less,” the actress said.
Her experiences have prompted her to partake in anti-bullying efforts, and champion for humanitarian causes. Most recently, Chopra, a Unicef goodwill ambassador, visited India in between filming “Quantico” in Ireland to deliver a talk about the importance of child education in rural India.