Bela Bajaria is an Indian American businesswoman and a media executive. She is the Vice President of International Originals at Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.
Bela Bajaria was born in 1966 (age 55 years; as of 2021) in London, England. She spent a part of her childhood in the U.K., Zambia, and Los Angeles. Her grandparents belonged to India, but they moved to Africa for establishing a business there. Later, her parents, who were born in East Africa, moved to London. After the birth of Bela, her parents moved to the United States, when Bela was just 4. Variety In 1978, she was enrolled in local Los Angeles public schools, and she worked as a cashier while studying at Torrance High School and Rolling Hills High School. She graduated from College of Liberal Arts, California State University, Long Beach, in 1995, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. The Times of India
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Light Brown
Figure Measurements (approx.): 34-30-34
Parents & Siblings
In the 1970s, when Bela was just 4, her parents moved to the US along with her 4-month-old brother and a younger sister to set up the business of car washers. Soon, Bajaria’s parents became illegal immigrants as they overstayed their visas. Meanwhile her parents arranged investor visa , Bela lived with her grandparents. Bela met her parents in 1978, and recalls how she spent her life without her parents. She said,
Moving to Los Angeles at 8 was very jarring. Being the oldest child, I absolutely felt a need and responsibility to succeed, to make good on my parents sacrifice. So that absolutely informed a lot of who I am.” Variety
Husband & Children
Her husband’s name is Doug Prochilo. He is a writer and producer. The couple has three children, two daughters, Rami and Sofia Prochilo and, a son Enzo Porchilo.  The Hollywood Reporter In an interview, Rami and Sofia, while talking about their mother, said,
“She’s taught us to put 100 percent into everything and I’m proud that she does such a hard job and still has time for us.”
While talking about their mother’s profession, Rami and Sofia said,
It’s cool she gets to work with interesting people, and I like visiting the lot with my friends. But I don’t think I’d want to go into entertainment,” said Rami. It seems like everything is too different every day! I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. And Sofia said, “I want to play soccer.”
She started working as a cashier when she was studying in high school. After completing high school, she entered beauty pageants and won the Miss LA India contest, Miss India USA, and Miss India Worldwide 1991. When asked by an interviewer that how it all happened, she said,
I was 19. I was trying to make sense of being proud of my heritage while assimilating in America. My family said, “You should do this. You’d meet Indian girls from all over the world.” The pageant made me embrace Indian culture on my terms. People were surprised that I won, but I think I did well because there were no stakes in it for me. I was confident because I didn’t have my identity riding on it.”
In 2006, she recalled the days when she was a contestant in Indian American pageant. Sharing her memories of the pageant contest, she said,
I took the title very seriously. I used my platform to talk about the issues that really concerned me. How much you can achieve depends solely on you. I took every opportuinity that came my way.”
After completing her graduation, she started working as a creative executive incharge of production at Vijay Amritraj’s company, First Serve Entertainment. In 1996, she worked with CBS in the movies and mini-series department. She left CBS for a short period of time and joined Warner Bros Television, where she was the manager of movies and mini-series. Then, she again joined CBS in 1997 as director for movies and mini-series. In 1999, she was promoted to vice president and was named senior vice president, movies and mini-series, in January 2002. In 2011, she joined Universal Television as executive vice president and was soon promoted to president of the studio. Universal Media Studios boasts 49 Emmy nominations that year including six nominations for “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” Bajaria joined Netflix in November 2016 as VP of local language originals, where she led non-English TV programming. Bajaria oversees Netflix’s original content for India, Asia, the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, and Latin America. She is famous for her shows like “Indian Matchmaking,” “Never Have I,” and “Sacred Games”. In the year 2020, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos made an announcement and said,
“Since joining Netflix in 2016, Bela has demonstrated her versatility and creativity – building out our unscripted team and helping to take our local language slate, which is increasingly important for our members, to the next level. In her new position, Bajaria will be taking over all the Netflix TV programming, including in English, scripted and unscripted, series and limited series.”
Awards & Honours
- Bela Bajaria has been honoured by the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Los Angeles, The March of Dimes Foundation.
- Bela Bajaria was given the Industry Leadership Award at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.
- Bajaria was honoured with Lenny Somberg Award in 2018
- Bajaria has been honoured by THR’s Women in Entertainment list, Variety’s LA Women’s Impact Report.
- She shares a very strong bond with her family. She once said,
I was lucky to grow up in a very close family, so we have a very strong foundation.
- Bela Bajaria shared in an interview that she found her job of serving Netflix as VP, challenging and fun.
- Sharing her childhood memories with her daughters, she said
It was not cool to be Indian back in those days.”
- She had also worked with her parents, who owned the business of car washes.
- In an interview, Bela revealed, what helped her in winning the Miss India competition. She said,
One reason I did so well in the Miss India competition was that my identity wasn’t wrapped up in it.”
- She never wanted to be a Bollywood actress. She admitted this in an interview and said,
I was not interested in becoming an actress or going to Bollywood. But i was predisposed to the entertainment industry.”
- In 2020, she was ranked 43rd on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list.
- Fortune writes that Bela Bajaria is responsible for the remarkable success of squid games,
Behind Squid Game’s sudden success is Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s Global TV chief who took the helm a year ago and oversees production of local language originals in 40 countries.”
|↑2||The Times of India|
|↑4||The Hollywood Reporter|