On Friday, actress Priyanka Chopra appeared at the 2023 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, sitting down for a conversation alongside Amazon Studios’ Jennifer Salke. Chopra stars across from Richard Madden in the streaming studio’s upcoming series Citadel and said during their discussion that this project was the first time she was paid the same as her male co-star.
“I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for now 22 years, and I have done about almost 70-plus features and two TV shows,” the star explained. “But when I did Citadel, it was the first time in my career that I had pay parity.”
She continued, “I’m laughing about this, but it’s kind of nuts. 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.’”
Chopra said she wondered if the reason it took so long was 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?” Chopra said. “Those are not conversations that happened very easily.”
Salke responded from her perspective as that Hollywood decision maker.
“There was no question to me that it was the absolute right thing to do,” Salke said. “I see that change and find it inspiring. It takes a woman in the room to make space for stepping back, taking a pause — let’s gut-check this.”
Later, during a Q&A portion, Chopra talked about being body-shamed as recently as just before she flew to Austin.
“I arrived feeling crappy because somebody told me yesterday I wasn’t ‘sample sized,’” the actress admitted. “I was hurt and I discussed it with my family and I cried to my husband and my team and I felt really bad about the fact I’m not sample-sized and that that’s a problem, apparently. Most of us are not. ‘Sample-sized’ is a size 2.”
She then asked the audience, “Who’s a size 2?…I don’t see a lot of hands.”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.