There’s recently been a spike in Google searches for “Priyanka Chopra / Nick Jonas” as news of their engagement flooded our feeds. And earlier in the year, Priyanka made the headlines when she attended the wedding of Prince Harry and her good friend Meghan Markle. Not going to lie, this leading lady is our new #wcw – besides having the hair of our dreams and an acting career that only seems to get bigger and better with each role, Priyanka Chopra also has a voice she’s not afraid to use to fight for others; and herself.
Priyanka Chopra on…
Being a role model for women and women of different ethnicities
“We need to teach people, especially young girls, to be comfortable with what they are born with. Skin tones are what make us beautiful, and I think that’s a bigger conversation about not trying to fit some standard of beauty created by someone else. Who made these rules? Who said that’s what’s beautiful? I always question that.
In America, everyone’s trying to get tan and in Asia, everyone’s trying to get lighter. The grass is always greener, but the idea is the same: it says beauty comes with changing the skin tone you were born with, and that’s a problem all around the world.”
Her growing fame
“I’ve been in the public eye for more than half of my life. This is my normal. If I go out and people don’t know me, I’m like ‘Is something wrong?’ [Laughs] No, I mean... I’m practical. I’m not someone who hides herself away or doesn’t want to be recognised and asked for a picture. That’s fine for other people, but I don’t understand it. There’s no free lunch in the world, and every job has a professional hazard, as I call it. But I am very private about my personal life. I do what I have to do, and I have ways of doing it.”
Right: Priyanka and Nick Jonas arriving at the Met Gala
Left: Priyanka Chopra in Quantico
Making her Hollywood breakthrough in Quantico
“I wanted to play a part that was ethnically ambiguous because what happens with a lot of South Asian actors or actors who come from different countries is you get stereotyped into just what studio execs think that Indians should be.
When I was going to do TV in a different country, I wanted to just be an actor and I wanted the world to see that my ethnicity doesn’t drive my merit and my work.
I told [ABC TV network executives] that I wanted to play a part where I, as an actor, could deliver my job and it had nothing to do with my color or my ethnicity. That’s how they found me for Quantico, which was a huge win for me being a South Asian actor.”
Hating The Simpons’ Apu
“[Quantico was also] a personal win because I went to high school in America and I grew up in a time where the only South Asian representation I saw on television was Apu on The Simpsons — and he was annoying as hell because not all of us speak like that. It just made you feel really small.”
Beauty and becoming a film star in India
“I was from a small town, so I had to learn everything about beauty by myself. I was 18 when I started acting in India. I didn’t understand what ‘movie glamour’ was about, or makeup, or hair styling. It took me a few years to become a version of myself where I wasn’t overdoing everything — the extra eyelashes, the extra jewelry.
By the time I came to the US [to work in Hollywood], I was a lot more confident in myself as a woman because I had spent that time on myself and found what worked for me.”
Women making progress in Hollywood
“We’re getting there, but there is still so much to do. I am now a producer and I want to be instrumental in that change. With all the films I’m doing and all the work I’m developing, I’m creating a lot of parts for women.
I want to be instrumental, I want to talk about it, even if it’s shaming Hollywood into creating opportunities for women — whatever it takes. I hope that in my lifetime or in the next generation, young girls won’t even have to think about it... So I want to be able to create those opportunities and talk about them and make people admit that yes, it’s a problem.”
Priyanka in Jai Gangaajal
Priyanka in Bajirao Mastani
Priyanka in Agneepath
Priyanka arriving at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Making more female-centric films
“I want to see the day when female-led movies get as much of a run as [male-led ones], which means the ticket- buying audience needs to be open to that. People don’t watch females in movies because they don’t believe they can be heroes. The world has to change the way they look at their heroes.
Specifically, men can help by changing the ‘locker-room talk’ conversation. Nothing will change until we break gender stereotypes in our normal, day-to-day life.
It’s all a big, dirty muddle of muck, which we’re here to clean up. It’s going to take years, but we’re doing it. Our voices are louder. We’re standing by each other despite the fact that only a few women will eventually get the job. And I’m hoping that through the fight, it’s going to change for the next generation. I hope I’m a part of that revolution.”
Seeing greater minority representation in films
“When I was growing up and in high school, I never saw anyone who looked like me on TV, but today I do. Hopefully, in my lifetime, we’ll see that representation.
Representation is a problem, because our movies don’t really depict the world as we see it around us, especially for female characters. There are less opportunities for women to play incredible roles. And then if you’re a woman of color, that puts you in an even bigger stereotype.
With Black Panther and Wonder Woman doing as well as they did, it shows that the audience is standing up and saying, ‘We’re ready.’ It’s a great time for people to delve into making movies and TV shows that represent not just diversity but also women. It comes down to filmmaking and telling great stories, and that should be based on merit — not about ethnicity and gender.”
Her approach to life
“At an early age, I concluded that you’ll never know who you really are because you’re constantly changing. ‘Who am I?’ is such an absurd question. Every circumstance or person who comes into your life changes a little piece of you. I’m a bit romantic and philosophical, I guess. I just go with it and make the best of whatever comes my way.”
Her new-found happiness
“There’s just a spring in my step for some reason! I’m fascinated by everything around me. The world feels sparkly and magical... I like the people in my life. I love the apartment I’m in... It’s just the feeling of being in a place where life’s good.”
Images TPG/Click Photos Text © Viva Press UK.