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Jessica Chastain is doing something a lot of white women across the country should be doing: listening. When her friend and former co-star Octavia Spencer told her that women of color are hurt the most when it comes to pay disparity, Chastain decided to use her privilege to help.
As IndieWire pointed out, Spencer shared this story during a panel at the Sundance Film Festival. “I have a story, and you guys are gonna be the first to hear it,” the actress said during the Women Breaking Barriers panel. Spencer went on to explain how the two were talking about acting in a film together, when the topic of wage disparity came up. “We were dropping F-bombs and getting it all out there. And then I said, ‘But here’s the thing, women of color on that spectrum, we make far less than white women. So, if we’re gonna have that conversation about pay equity, we gotta bring the women of color to the table,’” Spencer says. “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.”
Chastain and Spencer have been friends since the two starred in the 2011 film The Help. While telling the story, Spencer began to choke up. She explained that Chastain devised a “favored nations” plan that tied their salaries together in negotiations. “I love that woman, because she’s walking the walk and she’s actually talking the talk,” Spencer says. “Fast forward to last week, we’re making five times what we asked for.”
Both women have been outspoken supporters of the Time’s Up movement. They're set to reunite for an untitled holiday film that is being produced by Chastain’s company Freckle Films, and the two actresses are going to be making the same amount.
Watch Spencer tell the full story above starting at 19:30.