At a time when women in showbiz are opening up about facing sexual abuse, actress Priyanka Chopra, counted among India’s top-earning film celebrities, says she has faced “abuse of power” in her professional life.
The National Award winner spoke here on Dec. 26 during a question and answer session with an anchor, after she delivered the Penguin Annual Lecture on “Breaking The Glass Ceiling: Chasing a dream” at the 11th edition of the event.
I am very fierce. People are a little bit scared of me. When I walk into a room, I make sure that no one can… Yes, I have had situations when I have been thrown out of films because someone else was recommended; A girlfriend was recommended after I was signed for a movie. So, that’s an abuse of power… Girlfriend of the hero or girlfriend of the director.”
“I couldn’t do anything about it. I was removed last minute from many such situations because I never catered to the whims and fancies of powerful men. I only cater to my colleagues and friends who give me respect.
“I was treated in a different way because I commanded that, and it was because I had the strength and support of my family,” said the 35-year-old actress, who has found popularity in Hollywood.
In a release, Penguin stated: “Priyanka Chopra is an icon for today’s young Indians who identify with her drive, passion, intelligence and charisma. She has been a social media trendsetter and has a massive fan base across the globe. Much loved and admired as an artist by people in India and around the world, she is also recognized as a global Indian – a woman who has broken the glass ceiling to reach the highest echelons of international stardom – and for her philanthropic work as UNICEF’s global goodwill ambassador.”
Touching upon the issue of racism, Priyanka said it exists everywhere and she realised that “South Asian actors are still a novelty in the West”. But she said she did not want to be the “Big Fat Punjabi Wedding stereotype” and rather be seen as “a kickass actor”.
She also recalled how she faced racism in her school. “I was called ‘brownie’, ‘curry’ in school,” she said.