Priyanka Chopra Jonas is celebrating a career first: She’s finally receiving equal pay with her male co-stars.
Chopra Jonas, who has been acting in Bollywood since 2001, revealed that upcoming Prime Video series “Citadel” is the first time her salary matches that of her male counterparts. The sci-fi series is co-created by the Russo Brothers, and comes on the heels of Chopra Jonas’ foray into Hollywood with films like “Baywatch,” “Isn’t It Romantic,” and “The Matrix Resurrections,” as well as ABC series “Quantico.”
“I’ve never had pay parity in Bollywood,” Chopra Jonas said during the BBC’s 100 Women interview (via The Independent). “I would get paid about 10 percent of the salary of my male co-actor.”
Chopra Jonas continued, “[The pay gap] is 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 have definitely asked [for equal pay]. We’ve asked, but we’ve not got it.”
Chopra Jonas added that the dynamics on set were also tied to gender, not just paychecks.
“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,” Chopra Jonas said. She added that she’s endured racial slurs like “black cat” and “dusky” from critics.
“I mean, what does ‘dusky’ even mean in a country where we are literally all brown?” the Indian actress said. “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 normalized. Of course, that comes from our colonial past, it’s not even been 100 years since we shed the British Raj, so we still hold on to it, I think. But it is up to our generation to be able to cut those ties and change it so that the next generation doesn’t inherit the equity placed on light skin.”
Chopra Jonas previously admitted that a director told her to undergo cosmetic surgery to land roles in Hollywood, shortly after she was crowned Miss World in 2000.
“After a few minutes of small talk, the director/producer told me to stand up and twirl for him,” Chopra Jonas wrote in her memoir, “Unfinished,” released in 2021. “I did. He stared at me long and hard, assessing me, and then suggested that I get a boob job, fix my jaw, and add a little more cushioning to my butt. If I wanted to be an actress, he said, I’d need to have my proportions ‘fixed,’ and he knew a great doctor in [Los Angeles] he could send me to. My then-manager voiced his agreement with the assessment.”