Priyanka Chopra reveals she lost an acting job as they 'wanted someone who’s not brown'
Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood... what are we going to do with you?
For years now, you have had issues with whitewashing, sexual abuse, miscasting of LGBTQ people, inequalities in pay for women, and poor representation of minorities in films. So why is it still happening? We responded with #MeToo and #TimesUp, we gave a platform to actors who have firsthand experience of these problems, and we've told you time and time again that we want you guys to change.
And yet, we're still having to deal with actresses like Priyanka Chopra coming forward to say that she was turned down for a role because of the color of her skin.
Speaking with InStyle, the 35-year-old Quantico actress and former Miss World winner spoke about all the times she's been turned down for film roles - including a recent incident in which she was essentially told that the studio wanted someone who was "not brown".
"It happened last year," she said. "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 used?—‘physicality.’"
And Chopra didn't quite get the hint 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? 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."
But this wasn't the first time that Chopra was denied a movie role for unfair reasons. In India, especially, the actress found herself getting offered a measly paycheque in comparison to her male co-stars, simply because women aren't valued as highly in the film industry.
"A producer-director said to me, ‘Well, you know how it is in these big tentpole movies with the big boys. This is the budget for the girl, and we can’t move beyond that,’ which was, like, a measly five per cent of what [the male lead] was getting," she said.
But the issue isn't isolated to India.
"It happens in both countries [India and America], it’s just that here, it’s hidden behind other things," she explained. "In America, everyone is so worried about being liable that they don’t want to say anything wrong, but they end up doing it anyway."
Unlike many of her predecessors in Hollywood, though, Chopra is making a stand on the issue.
"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."
For too long, women - especially women of color - have been told that they are not worth as much as their white, male co-stars, and it's simply not acceptable. If you do the same job as someone else, you should be paid the same. If you do a better job, you should be paid more. Gender doesn't come into it, race doesn't come into it, orientation doesn't come into it.
So come on, Hollywood, what have you got to say to that?