Priyanka Chopra Jonas has revealed that, after 22 years in the industry and roles in more than 70 films, she achieved pay parity for the first time while filming the upcoming Amazon Prime series Citadel.
The actress was speaking on stage with Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, at the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival, more commonly known as SXSW, in Austin, Texas.
“I might get into trouble … depends on who’s watching,” the Indian actress said on Friday. “I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for 22 years, and I have done about 70-plus features and two TV shows. But when I did Citadel, it was the first time in my career that I had pay parity.
“I’m laughing about this, but it’s kind of nuts,” she continued. “I put in the same amount of investment and work, but I get paid much less. But the ease in which Amazon Studios said: ‘That’s what you deserve, you are co-leads, that’s just fair.’
“And I was like: ‘You’re right, it’s fair.’ And I wonder: 'Did that happen because there are very few female decision-makers in Hollywood? Would that have been a different conversation if a woman didn’t make that decision?' Those are not conversations that happened very easily.”
Chopra has previously spoken about the lack of pay parity in Bollywood, revealing in a BBC interview last year that even during her heyday in India, she only earned 10 per cent of her male co-star's salary.
"I've never had pay parity in Bollywood. [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."
Citadel is a spy thriller produced by the Russo Brothers, starring Chopra Jonas alongside Richard Madden. The series premiere will be released on Prime Video on April 28 with two episodes.
The duo also used to opportunity to present a new clip from the big-budget series. Chopra Jonas and Madden play two former spies from a now-defunct global spy agency called the Citadel, which, according to Amazon, was “tasked to uphold the safety and security of all people — but was destroyed by operatives of Manticore, a powerful syndicate manipulating the world from the shadows".
To prevent Manticore from establishing a new world order, “the two spies embark on a mission that takes them around the world, all while contending with a relationship built on secrets, lies, and a dangerous-yet-undying love".
Chopra Jonas gave further insight into her character during the discussion. “Nadia is a complex woman. She bears the weight of the world — as most women do," she said. "She doesn’t like to show her real feelings and weaknesses. She’s the toughest one in the room. She’s always the one making decisions, making sure everyone gets home safe. And then you see her vulnerabilities when she’s alone, and I felt the burden of her character, it was just so much fun for me to chew into.”
The Hollywood pay gap became a topic of discussion last year after Jennifer Lawrence spoke out about her experiences in an interview with Vogue. “It doesn’t matter how much I do,” Lawrence said. “I’m still not going to get paid as much as that guy.
“What I have seen — and I’m sure other women in the workforce have seen as well — is that it’s extremely uncomfortable to inquire about equal pay. And if you do question something that appears unequal, you’re told it’s not gender disparity but they can’t tell you what exactly it is.”
Citadel will be released on Amazon Prime Video on April 28