Even though Indian American actors are still fighting for visibility on American television, one cannot ignore the fact that recent months have seen Indian actors in prominent roles across all networks and steaming services. And this major screen time for some has translated into serious paychecks.
At No. 9 last year, Kaling, popular for her Hulu series, “The Mindy Project,” has this year grabbed the No. 3 spot raking in a cool $15 million between June 2015 to June 2016. Chopra, who made her U.S. debut with ABC’s runaway hit “Quantico,” on the other hand, is a new addition, which also makes her the first Indian star to enter this coveted list. She stands at No. 8 with earnings of $11 million.
“For years and years, the role of the lead actress on a sitcom was to do two things: look amazing and to make one-third of what my male co-star makes,” Forbes quoted Kaling as saying earlier this year. “So I want to be clear, I do always look amazing on the show, and no man on my show makes more money than me.”
Like most television actresses (and actresses, in general), Forbes notes, Chopra’s millions are not made from screen time alone.
Being one of India’s top picks for advertisers, recently winning a seven-figure deal with sparkling juice brand Appy Fizz, the former Miss World was also busy back home delivering hits such as “Bajirao Mastani” and “Jai Gangaajal.” Her first Hollywood film comes in the Dwayne Johnson starrer “Baywatch.” Chopra, recently crowned Hollywood’s ‘New Royal’ by W Magazine, is gearing up for Season 2 of “Quantico,” which will premiere Sept. 25.
The Forbes list is topped by Sofia Vergara, who went home with a whopping $43 million before management fees and taxes, which is also more than any TV actor made. The second place on the list has been claimed by “Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco, with earnings of $24.5 million.
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’s” Mariska Hargita and “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Ellen Pompeo tied for the fourth place with $14.5 million each.
Other actresses who have found place on the list include “Castle” star Stana Katric and “Veep” star Julia Louis-Drefyus.
Previously, another Bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone, who is awaiting the release of her debut Hollywood film, “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” with Vin Diesel, made it to the 2016 Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid actresses.