Priyanka Chopra won Miss World in 2000—at 18 years old—and shortly after, met with a director-producer to jumpstart her career in Hollywood.
She outlined this initial experience in her new memoir, Unfinished, recalling said director’s gross, sexist behavior—and how her then-manager supported it.
“After a few minutes of small talk, the director/producer told me to stand up and twirl for him,” Chopra writes in her book, according to Metro. “I did. 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.”
She continues in the 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 L.A. he could send me to. My then-manager voiced his agreement with the assessment.”
“It’s so normalized that it doesn’t come up in conversation,” she said. “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.”
She continued, “I never had the courage to stand up for myself, and actually admit it. 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 of 35, I know that’s a normalized thing that girls hear so often.”
The industry is changing slowly but surely. Chopra notes the added presence of women behind the camera is helping move things along—so, hopefully, what happened to her at 18 never happens to anyone again.
“I’ve mentioned a bunch of female producers in the book that I really admire, who’ve taken charge of their own lives and said, ‘Alright, you’re not going to make a part for me or the movie that I want to be in, I’m going to produce it myself,’” she told Metro. “We see so many women that have banded together to be able to do it ourselves and [are] taking back our power. Now we’re seeing, 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.”