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After being crowned Miss World 2000, Priyanka Chopra Jonas began receiving offers for prominent roles in Bollywood in her native India. But in the eyes of some industry leaders, the pageant winner’s looks still weren’t enough.
In “Unfinished,” her new memoir set for release Tuesday, the actress, singer and producer recalls that — shortly after winning the international beauty pageant — a director-producer sized her up and determined that she’d need major plastic surgery.
After a bit of small talk, she writes, the director told her to “stand up and twirl.” Chopra Jonas, who was still a teenager, did as she was told.
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) February 8, 2021
“He stared at me long and hard,” she writes in "Unfinished," according to a passage cited in the U.K.'s Metro.
If she wanted to be an actress, he told her, she’d have to enlarge her breasts and buttocks. She’d also have to “fix” her jaw. And he knew “a great doctor in L.A."
Chopra Jonas' then-manager agreed with the assessment. She left the office “feeling stunned and small,” recalling that she’d been referred to as “dusky” and “different-looking” in the news and wondering if they were right.
Ultimately, Chopra Jonas did not heed the recommendations. And shortly after that encounter, she parted ways with that manager.
After more than two decades in the industry, including her groundbreaking role in the ABC drama “Quantico,” she sees such encounters as a routine part of the industry.
"It’s so normalized that it often doesn’t come up in conversation," Chopra Jonas said in an interview with Metro.
The actress, who stars in and executive produced Ramin Bahrani’s “The White Tiger,” is using her clout to carve out a new normal in the industry.
“I’ve mentioned a bunch of female producers in the book that I really admire,” Chopra Jonas told Metro, “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.'
"We are that generation that is going to see women in roles of power," she added, "so that the next generation that comes after us doesn’t have to inherit these issues."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.