Priyanka Chopra Says She Was Called ‘Black, Dark Cat’ In Bollywood: ‘Even When I Was A Bit More Talented Than My Lighter-Skinned Co-Actors’


Global star Priyanka Chopra recently opened up about pay disparity and body shaming in Bollywood, sharing that she wouldn’t even be paid 10% on what her male co-stars got. In an interview, the actor shared that his generation of actresses definitely demanded equal pay but never got it.

“This [the pay gap] is large, noticeably large. And so many women still face this. I’m sure I would too if I worked with a male co-actor now in Bollywood,” she told the BBC. The interview was included in the BBC’s “100 Women” list of influencers of the year, and Priyanka is one of four Indian women to make the list.

She also opened up about how, as a young actor in the industry, she accepted deep-rooted patriarchy as something normal. Priyanka said, “I thought it was totally okay to sit for hours and hours on set, while my male co-actor just took his time and decided that whenever he wanted to show up on the set was when we would shoot.”

The actor entered Bollywood after winning Miss India in 2000. She debuted with The Hero opposite Sunny Deol in 2002, and followed with Andaaz and Aitraaz with Akshay Kumar, Mujhse Shaadi Karoge with Salman Khan and Akshay. After giving hits like Don with Shah Rukh Khan and Krrish with Hrithik Roshan, the actor established himself in the industry and even got a National Fashion Award from Madhur Bhandarkar. She has also given award-winning performances in films like Barrfi, 7 Khoon Maaf, Mary Kom and Bajirao Mastani, among others.

However, according to the actor, she didn’t have it easy, as she was subjected to body shaming for her complexion. In the same interview, Priyanka Chopra said, “I was called ‘black cat’, ‘dark’. I mean, what does “dark” even mean in a country where we’re literally all brown? I thought I wasn’t pretty enough, I thought I should work a lot harder, even though I thought I was probably a bit more talented than my fellow actors who were lighter skinned. But I thought that was just because it was so normalized.

Sharing more about her struggle to find a place in Hollywood, Priyanka explained how she would go to meetings, show up and even take her show-reel. She cried after being rejected at the auditions, but continued. “I got the push I needed to succeed in any new industry. It was a humbling experience,” she said.

After moving to America, Priyanka became the first South Asian to lead a show, Quantico in 2015. The actor is now well settled in the United States, having a family with her husband Nick Jonas and their daughter Malti Marie Chopra Jonas .