Priyanka Chopra Jonas says she is finally earning as much as her male co-star, after two decades in the movie industry.
In an interview with the BBC, the actress and activist revealed that she never had “pay parity” in all the years she worked in Bollywood.
Chopra Jonas was among the women to feature in the UK broadcaster’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world, published Tuesday.
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The BBC posted a short video clip on its website from a wide-ranging interview with the Indian star, due to be broadcast next year.
In the clip, Chopra Jonas said: “I’ve never had pay parity in Bollywood. I’ve done 60-something movies, I think, but I’ve never got paid the same amount as my male co-actor. I would get paid about 10 per cent of my male co-actor.”
In addition to the video clip, the BBC included excerpts from the interview in an article on its website.
In this, the actress and former Miss World revealed that she has just received pay parity for the first time ever, for her role in Amazon Prime Video’s upcoming sci-fi spy series Citadel.
Comparing the situation in Hollywood to that in Bollywood, she said: “Well, the first time it’s happened to me, it has happened in Hollywood. So I don’t know, going forward. Because this was my first show with a male actor as a co-lead.”
Chopra Jonas became a Hollywood regular after starring as an FBI agent in ABC’s Quantico from 2015 to 2018.
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Although she did not name him in the interview, Citadel also stars Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden.
The actress made her first Bollywood movie in 2002, after winning the Miss World pageant two years earlier. In the BBC’s written interview, she recalled how men were treated differently on set.
“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.
She also spoke about her experience of body-shaming in the entertainment business, describing in the video clip how she was called names like “black cat” and “dusky”.
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“I did think that I was dark-skinned. I did think that I was not pretty enough. I did think that I would have to work a lot harder even though I thought I was probably a little bit more talented than my co-actors who were lighter-skinned. I thought that was right,” she said.
“I thought that because it was so normalised, so, I think, as I grew up, I saw things in my career that I didn’t even know were right or wrong and I had to be educated and learn along the way.”
In addition to her international acting career, Chopra Jonas has her own production company and is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, campaigning for children’s rights and education for girls.
Speaking on camera, she talked about how fame can be a double-edged sword.
“I count myself as the lucky one, part of the lucky few that are able to stand up for themselves,” she said. “I faced racism, people called me names, or you know, said mean things to me, but people around the world get killed for it.”
That position in the public eye comes with a certain responsibility, she said.
“I’m not a politician, I’m an entertainer and I can’t change laws, I can’t create laws, but I have influence. All I think about is what am I doing every single day, can I be a good person and make sure that I create actions within my own life that maybe have a butterfly effect.”
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