Priyanka Chopra believes sexual harassment had become a norm with women, but women had become stronger now and could no longer be “shut down” now.
In conversation with the Women in the World’s founder Tina Brown at the Women in World Summit 2019, the actor opened up about the #MeToo movement, her career, her relationship with husband Nick Jonas, and gender equality.
She spoke about what it was like to see the number of women speaking up about harassment, both in Hollywood and in Bollywood, since the rise of #Metoo movement.
No degree of acquired composure could keep women safe from harassment, she told womenintheworld.com, lamenting that it had till recently become normal everywhere, excused with “boys will be boys”.
“We always had a voice. Just nobody heard us. Now because of the support we are giving each other, people don’t have the power to shut us down.”
“And that’s an incredibly powerful thing to see,” she added.
“Now if I have a story I don’t feel I’m alone anymore – and I’m not ashamed of it,” Priyanka continued.
When asked if she had ever faced sexual harassment, she raised her hand saying everybody in that room had probably faced one because it had since so long become a norm.
Explaining why not a lot of Indian actors wish to crossover to the West, she said:
“A lot of actors that I speak to don’t have ambitions to move out of the industry. Bollywood is the biggest, if not the first industry to make films and the demographic is so large, they don’t want to leave that.”
Chopra also highlighted casting issues in the West, particularly when it came to South Asians.
“I played ethnically ambiguous parts,” she said, adding: “It took me all those ethnically ambiguous parts to be where I am today. I did not want to do stereotype roles because then all you will see is what I already know I can do. I am Indian, I can do that.”
Priyanka also spoke of her marriage and that it was all well for Nick was a supportive husband.
She said, “I am a wild child, I do whatever I want whenever I want and he always supports me.” Sharing an anecdote from one of their first dates, she said that once when they were out with friends, and Priyanka had a meeting, she began dropping hints to the group about needing an excuse to cancel her meeting but Nick wouldn’t take the hint.
Later, Jonas pulled her aside and said ‘Look, I’m not stupid, I know what you’re trying to do. But I will never be the one that tells you to cancel work, because I know how hard you work to be where you are’. I was like, this is the first (time) anyone has ever done that for me, the first person who gave me credit for what I have done,” Priyanka said.