“I have not made friends with failure,” says Priyanka Chopra during her Elle Canada May 2018 cover interview. “I’ve been in this business for 18 years now, and you reach a point where you know what you’re doing. I don’t want that.”
Definitely more than just a beautiful face, the 35-year-old is one of the most brilliant talents and fast-rising actress to come around in a long time. Although she got her first recognition after winning the Miss World 2000 pageant, Priyanka has come a long way now: She is a celebrated actress, brand ambassador, singer, producer and businesswoman. And while she is enjoying moderate success and celebrity in the US thanks to her hit TV show Quantico, she’s one of the most popular movie stars in India.
Furthermore, the former beauty queen has also received her share of accolades. For one, she has been nominated several times for her work on Bollywood productions, and 2016, she won the People’s Choice Award for Favourite Actress in a New TV Series. Plus, she was named to the Time 100 list in 2016 and one of the most influential people in the world.
The motivation Priyanka needs to make herself ‘irreplaceable’
To have both her parents as India’s army doctors means she had to move a lot throughout her childhood. Priyanka even attended the 10thgrade in Boston, where she admitted to being bullied. “It broke my spirit. It made me question who I was. Why was it so uncool being Indian?” However, it was her father that gave her the strength to move through. “My father always told me, ‘You should not want to fit into someone else’s glass slipper. You should shatter the glass ceiling’,” she said. After her father passed away out of an illness, she put a tattoo on her wrist reads “Daddy’s lil girl” in her father’s handwriting.
“Early in my career, when I was 18 or 19, a director told me that if I wouldn’t work on ridiculous terms or low salary, then he would replace me. Because girls are replaceable in an entertainment business. That was a memorable one, made me decide to make myself irreplaceable.’’
The first South Asian actress to lead an American series
Priyanka began her acting career in 2003 and has since appeared in more than 50 Bollywood films, making her U.S. big-screen debut in Baywatch(2017). The star of ABC’s Quantico, she is one of TV’s highest earning actresses and the first Indian actor to lead a drama series on American television. In 2017, she was ranked no.8 in the Forbes list of Highest Paid TV Actresses (USD 10 million).
She was featured along with Pitbull and will.i.am
Before Quantico, Priyanka may have been best known to Americans for her song In My City, which featured artist will.i.am and was the theme song for Thursday Night Football in 2013. Her second single, Exotic featured Pitbull as well. On the side note, she has been chosen as the face of many brands, including Pepsi, Nokia, Garnier, Nestle and Guess.
Like her character, there’s more to Priyanka than meets the eye
In 2008’s Fashion, Priyanka played a model and received backlash from the media, which accused her of trying to lose weight for the part. But in her defence, she said that she actually had to gain weight and then lose it as the film progressed. Since then, she has been an advocate for positive body image who believes in a woman having curves. Additionally, she began writing an opinion column, The Priyanka Chopra Column for the Hindustan Times in 2009. She wrote several controversial columns regarding women’s lives and safety in the county. She also writes a column for Elle. As a producer, she founded Mumbai-based Purple Pebble Pictures, which strives to promote regional filmmakers and up-and-coming Indian talent.
Passionate about protecting children’s rights, she was appointed India’s official UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for child rights in 2010. In addition to that, she is a spokeswoman for the United Nations Foundation Girl Up campaign and an ambassador for Girl Rising, the global campaign for female education. She also founded The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education, a non-profit organisation that provides schooling and medical care for children in India.