Elle.com (by Priyanka Chopra):
Priyanka Chopra can’t easily be summed up in a sentence. The former Miss World (she won the title in 2000) is a Bollywood star, recording artist, model (in December 2013 she became the first Indian GUESS girl), humanitarian (she’s a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador), and activist (she promotes the education of girls in India through her namesake charity, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation). All that in one person? Sounds like Chopra, or PC as her friends call her, would have to be superhuman to pull it all off. Only she isn’t. Like us, she struggles to get enough sleep, worries too much, and can’t resist her junk food cravings.
How do we know? Because she told us. And every month on, in a new column, “Pret-a-Priyanka,” Chopra will open up about her life, struggles, and her guilty pleasures. In this month’s column, PC talks diversity.
I consider myself a citizen of a world. I’ve gone to school in India and the U.S. My career in entertainment has allowed me to travel the globe and interact with many cultures. But my first brush with the world of entertainment—and, really, the world in general—happened in 2000 at the Miss World competition, where I had the privilege of interacting and competing with girls from over 130 countries. It was an overwhelming experience for me to learn so many aspects of so many different cultures, to experience first-hand the similarities and the differences that we had, and most importantly to seamlessly come together into one big unit.
I remember returning to India following my win and meeting so many young girls who told me that my achievement on a world stage was an inspiration for them, giving them hope that the world was truly their oyster. At 17, all that kind of talk was a little too intense for me to compute but I heard it very very often through the various stages of my career. It gave me a few ‘pat yourself on your back’ kind of moments, but I mostly chalked it off to people being kind.
I am a girl from a small town in India, the daughter of two hard-working army doctors who achieved a certain success through hard work and determination. I understood that it was my underdog story that offered hope to all the young people who nurtured a dream for themselves. I tried my best to encourage people to look at the world as a place of opportunity and to just give their dreams a shot.
But the actual reality of my ‘celebrity status’ (for lack of a better phrase) and what it meant hit me quite recently. It wasn’t until I made my debut internationally, first with my music (I have released four singles so far in English) and then with the campaign I did for Guess Worldwide, that my “fame” really sunk in.
My debut single ‘In My City‘ featuring will.I.am was chosen as the theme song for NFL‘s Thursday Night Football for two years in a row. Suddenly, there was this brown girl (their words not mine) from India who became a part of this quintessential American culture. And then came the Guess campaign. The all-American blonde bombshell was replaced by a dusky, brunette Indian girl!