Indian Actress Priyanka Chopra Gets Real About Losing Roles Because Of Her Skin Color

priyanka chopra
PHOTO: NOAM GALAI/GETTY IMAGES

It's sad that stories like these aren't even surprising anymore.

Actress Priyanka Chopra just shared an all-too common Hollywood tale about not getting a part solely because of her appearance.

The Indian actress has had plenty of success in her career, starring in hits like Quantico and Baywatch, but even at her high level she faces discrimination.

"It happened last year,” Chopra explains. “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.'"

"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?’" she recalled. "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.'" Chopra would go on to say that the situation definitely "affected her."

The timing of the interview coincided with Equal Pay Day, where women all over the country wore red and spoke out for closing the distance between men and women's compensation. It's a situation that's doubly hard for Chopra: "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's right; a recent study showed that white women make $.80 to every $1 a white man brings home, but that number drops to just 64 cents for Black women and even lower for Latinas and Native Americans.

The situation's nothing new to Chopra. "When I was growing up, I didn’t see anyone on TV who looked like me... Everyone in America wants to get a tan, and everyone in Asia wants to get their skin lightened. I straddle both countries," she explained in a separate interview. "Girls there are told that they’re too dark or dusky and that lighter skin is better. Because I’m a darker tone, I had issues growing up as a teenager."

But she's quick to point out that, "I’ve achieved what I’ve achieved, and skin color has nothing to do with it — in fact, it might have been an asset. I like the color of my skin very much."

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TOM BOMBADIL

I had a rough childhood. I watched my parents murdered right before my eyes. Shot point-blank by some two-bit thug.

So I ran away from Gotham and wandered the earth, until eventually Liam Neeson found me in an obscure Asian jail. He gave me a home, taught me to fight, and showed me the true meaning of justice meant wearing black rubber latex and speaking really deeply. 

Then I killed him with a flying commuter train.

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