Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra has definitely made a place for herself in Hollywood. She is one of the most recognised Bollywood actors in the American film industry and she only seems to be rising.
Speaking at the Variety‘s Empowered Brunch, Priyanka commented on how her role and involvement in Quantico was a big step for women of colour and immigrants, considering she became the first-ever South Asian actor to lead a broadcast show in television history.
Speaking about this, Chopra commented, “It seems a little late, considering it happened in 2015.”
“But then even Kerry Washington was the first African American woman to lead a network TV drama in 2012,” she added, referring to the fact that Quantico returned with its third season earlier this week, replacing the Kerry Washington’s Scandal.
Chopra went onto say, “Kerry is so wonderful in what she managed to do for women of colour coming into mainstream network television, and I do think Quanitco is a really big step in that direction as well for expanding the parameters of women of color and also immigrant women who come into the country and want to be part of global entertainment.”
Recalling her early meetings with ABC, Chopra said that she told executives she did not want to play a stereotypical Indian character.
“My only thing was them was that I wanted to play a part that was ethnically ambiguous because what happens with a lot of South Asian actors or actors who come from different countries is you get stereotyped into just what studio execs think that Indians should be.”
“So I told them I wanted to play a part where I, as an actor, could deliver my job and it had nothing to do with my color or my ethnicity. That’s how they found me for ‘Quantico,’ which was a huge win for me being a South Asian actor, but for me, it was a personal win because I went to high school in America and I grew up in a time where the only South Asian representation that I saw on television was Apu on ‘The Simpsons’ — and he was annoying as hell because not all of us speak like that. It just made you feel really small.”
Now that Chopra is the star of a major network TV show, she is doing her best to work toward the momentous progress for equality for women in the entertainment industry.
“We’re getting there, but there is still so much to do,” she says. “I now am a producer and I want to be an instrument in that change. With all the films that I’m doing and all the work that I’m developing, I am creating a lot of parts for women,” she explains, referencing jobs ranging from female directors to technical staff, which are predominantly filled with men on TV and film sets.
“I want to be that instrument, I want to talk about it, even if it’s shaming Hollywood intro creating opportunities for women — whatever it takes so that I hope that in my lifetime or in the next generation, young girls won’t even have to think about it,” Chopra elaborates. “It dwindles down even more with women of color — the opportunities are even less. So I want to be able to create those opportunities and talk about them and make people admit that yes, it’s a problem.”
Looking ahead to Quantico’s Season 3, Chopra said, “I’m very excited about the show coming back this year.”