Priyanka Chopra can still recall when a film director suggested she should undergo plastic surgery to launch a successful film career.
It was 2000 when the then-18-year-old took home the Miss World crown, immediately embarking on acting. And according to the now-38-year-old, the first person she met with insisted she should have a “boob job” and fix her “proportions.” Her then-manager agreed with the assessment.
Chopra revealed her experience in a new autobiography titled “Unfinished.”
“It’s so normalized that it doesn’t come up in conversation,” she told U.K.’s Metro on Monday. “I talked about a movie that I walked out of because of how I was spoken to by the director. It was early in my career, but I never told him why I walked out.
“I never had the courage to stand up for myself, and actually admit it,” Chopra continued. “Because I heard so often, ‘Don’t be a nuisance, you’re new in the industry, you don’t want to have a reputation that you cause trouble or you’re not easy to work with.’ Now on the other side… I know that’s a normalized thing that girls hear so often.
“I fell for it too, even though I considered myself a forward-thinking, smart girl. I learned from that over time, but at that time, I was terrified. Yes, I faced that then, I faced that like everybody else when you’re in patriarchal industries, which ours has been for a very long time.”
According to the outlet, Chopra was first asked to “stand up and twirl” for the director.
“He stared at me long and hard, assessing me, and then suggested that I get a boob job, fix my jaw and add a little more cushioning to my butt,” Chopra wrote in her book. “If I wanted to be an actress, he said, I’d need to have my proportions ‘fixed,’ and he knew a great doctor in LA he could send me to. My then-manager voiced his agreement with the assessment.”
“I left the director/producer’s office feeling stunned and small,” Chopra shared. “Was he right that I couldn’t be successful unless I had so many body parts ‘fixed’? I thought of how individuals in the media and others in the industry had referred to me as ‘dusky’ and ‘different-looking’ and I wondered if I was cut out for this business after all.”
Chopra said she didn’t listen to the director’s advice and instead, parted ways with her then-manager.
Today, Chopra is grateful more women are involved in the entertainment industry and banding together.
“… We are that generation that is hopefully going to see women in leadership roles, that is going to see women in roles of power so that the next generation that comes after us doesn’t have to inherit these issues,” said Chopra.
“… The show I did, ‘Quantico,’ I was the first South Asian to ever [front] a network TV show, in 2015,” she shared. “It was crazy to think about that. To me, if I had had that, maybe I wouldn’t have been so insecure in the hallways of my high school, or felt that I was so different.”