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According To ‘Forbes,’ All Of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actresses Are White

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In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend and President Trump’s “both sides” comments, race has taken center stage as a major point of contention in America. This made it a particularly bad time for Forbes to release their list of highest paid actresses for one particular reason — none of them are women of color.

Last year, Indian actress Deepika Padukone and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing were on the list but because they haven’t made that many movies this year they no longer qualified.

BOOM! #vanityfair

A post shared by Deepika Padukone (@deepikapadukone) on

Had so much fun on set with @patrickdemarchelier @voguechina #February2017 .

A post shared by Fan Bingbing 范冰冰 (@bingbing_fan) on

The list of the highest paid women includes Emma Stone, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence, Melissa McCarthy, Mila Kunis, Emma Watson, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchette, Julia Roberts and Amy Adams.

Stone being at the top of the list is not all that surprising because of the insane popularity of La La Land and the others on the list have all had blockbuster hits in the past year.

Having no women of color on the list begs a couple of questions. First, is it just a coincidence that the two actresses who were on the list last year weren’t as active because of other things happening in their lives? It is possible but also seems odd that no other women of color would gain popularity over the year and land a hit role.

Another possibility is that there aren’t roles written for women of color. La La Land in particular received a significant amount of backlash for its two main characters being white, especially considering the movie centered around the jazz scene in Los Angeles, which was made mainstream by the African-American community.

The third possible reason why there are no women on the list has to do with the fact that if a role is written without any necessary physical features casting directors are more likely to choose a white actress because of their inherent racial biases.

Natalie Robehmed, an associate editor at Forbes, released a statement after the controversy around the list and confirmed that it is just harder for non-white actresses to get roles in Hollywood.

“The lack of diversity comes down to roles: Only 28.3% of all speaking roles across formats go to characters from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups, according to a 2016 study. That means that there are simply fewer characters  — and fewer higher paying roles — for women of color. When studios, directors and screenwriters begin creating more main characters for women of color in the types of big budget movies that pay huge upfront fees and backend profits, we’ll see more actors of color on the list.”

Minorities having an equal representation in roles on the big screen is something that could normalize diversity in the United States, so it is more important now more than ever for women of color to be considered more seriously for all of the leading roles in Hollywood.

COLLEGECANDY Writer
Shivani Gonzalez is an editorial intern at College Candy. Originally from Upstate New York but going to school in Canada, Shivani is pursuing a BA in Political Studies from Queen's University. Most importantly, she is obsessed with all things pop culture.