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Octavia Spencer Says Friend Jessica Chastain ‘Had No Idea’ Black Women Made Less Than White Actresses

Octavia Spencer can’t help but tear up over her friend Jessica Chastain helping her make what she is worth. The Oscar-winner on Sunday, Jan. 20 explained she wanted to break into comedy roles instead of period pieces like “The Help” and it was then that the subject of equal pay came up.

“I said, ‘But here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women,” Spencer said on a Sundance Institute “Women Breaking Barriers” panel. “So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table. And I told her my story, and we talked numbers, and she was quiet, and she said she had no idea that that’s what it was like for women of color.”

Then came the tears, which “The Shape of Water” Oscar nominee joked with attendees are happy ones.

“I love that woman because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” she continued. She said, ‘Octavia, we’re gonna get you paid on this film. … You and I are gonna be tied together. We’re gonna be favored nations, and we’re gonna make the same thing, you are going to make that amount.’ And fast-forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”

Spencer and Chastain are set to star in an upcoming holiday comedy film, according to Variety. And while Spencer acknowledged they aren’t making what male actors are pulling in, she said it “feels really good to be in that conversation.”

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