Recently, Netflix released its first original series in Africa, Queen Sono, which tells the tale of a spy who becomes entangled in a tangled web of commerce and politics while investigating her mother’s murder. From the heartbreaking tell-all Delhi Crime (2019)—the tale of an honest policeman discovering the horrific rape and death of a young girl—to the newly released Kiara Advani-starrer Guilty, Netflix India has seen its fair share of female-led movies.
There is a clear story here—women are expressing their experiences, bringing much-needed voices to film, and altering the way we consume material, not only in front of but also behind the camera.
Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s vice president of programming, is one such change agent. She has greenlit successful shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Master of None, and The Good Place throughout her more than two-decade tenure, first at CBS as a long-time network manager, then as president of Universal Television. In a nutshell, she’s the lady who chooses what you and I watch on a daily basis. Keep reading to learn more about Bela Bajaria.
Bajaria was born in London, England, to Indian parents and spent her childhood in both London and Zambia. When Bajaria was four years old, her parents relocated from London to the West Coast of the United States with her brother to pursue business possibilities. Her parents, however, overstayed their visas and became illegal immigrants, forcing her to be raised by her grandparents until they could acquire permanent residence.
When she shifted to the United States with her parents in 1978, she enrolled in local Los Angeles public schools at a period when it was “not popular to be Indian.” She attended Torrance High School and Rolling Hills High School while working as a cashier as a teenager.
After graduating from high school, a buddy persuaded Bajaria to compete in beauty pageants. She went on to win the Miss LA India pageant, Miss India USA, and Miss India Worldwide in 1991. Bajaria earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Long Beach’s College of Liberal Arts in 1995.
Bajaria got a job with CBS as an assistant in the movies and miniseries department after graduating from university in 1996. As an assistant, she studied all of the screenplays and spent hours researching vintage films in CBS’ basement VHS collection. She left CBS for a managerial job at Warner Bros. Television Studios but returned as a director in 1997. Bajaria was elevated to vice president towards the end of the 1990s, and then to superior vice president for movies and mini-series in 2002.
However, when the popularity of television films started to dwindle, she sought a transfer to CBS’ production studio to create cable programs. She joined Universal Television as executive vice president in 2011 and was named president soon after.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, Bajaria joined Netflix as a senior executive in charge of all English and vernacular Original content. In the same year, she was placed 43rd on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Powerful Women.
Bajaria and her writer-producer husband, Doug Prochilo, have three children: two girls and one boy.
Bill Holmes – Chief Business Development Officer – Netflix, Inc.
Netflix was established by Reed Hastings, who yet owns the company and is also the CEO of Netflix. Hastings has constantly been in the technology enterprise. He sold his initial business, Pure Software, the corresponding year he co-founded Netflix, which was somewhere in 1995.
Bela Bajaria is 50 years old as of 2021.
Monika Shergill is the Vice President of Netflix India
As per a source, she has a net worth of $700,000.
We hope you enjoyed this comprehensive bio on Bela Bajaria and were inspired by her determination to change the narrative of content on Netflix and her career graph that has been extremely successful. To learn more about other notable personalities, keep reading Seema.