THR's Women in Entertainment 2012: Power 100
If there's a moment when Bela Bajaria's south Asian ancestry reveals itself as an anomaly among Hollywood elite, it's when competition to stand out from the masses is at its fiercest: on the red carpet.
"My first year at the Emmys many years ago, I wore a dress -- this was before Slumdog Millionaire and the Indian resurgence in pop culture -- and my husband asked, 'Why don't you just wear a sari like you do for other occasions?' " says Bajaria, 41, relaxing on a Friday in mid-October on a comfy couch inside her decorative office on the Universal lot.
"I was like, 'Of course!' Saris are so much easier," she says, dressed similarly for comfort today in a flowy gray-blue blouse and black skirt. "My friends can't eat for three days before the show, but I'm comfortable all night. I love my motherland representation in those moments -- and it makes my mom very happy."
Bajaria, Hollywood's highest-ranking Indian-American, has further distinguished herself in the 15 months since NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt recruited Bajaria from her near-16-year tenure at CBS -- where she oversaw cable and miniseries programming -- by positioning NBC's sister studio as a competitor in the bloody battle for hit series.
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