Quantico starlet Priyanka Chopra is featured in the September 2016 issue of FLARE Canada.
First, Priyanka Chopra dominated Bollywood. Now she’s headlining the hit show Quantico and set to steal scenes as the villain in blockbuster-to-be Baywatch. Charlotte Herrold grabs a spare second with the actress primed to overtake every star in Hollywood
Born in the city of Jamshedpur in eastern India and raised all over the country (her parents were both physicians in the Indian army), Chopra began her career at age 17 when her mother—without her knowing—submitted headshots to the Miss India pageant. “I don’t know what got into her,” Chopra eye-rolls. After having spent her first three years of high school living with an aunt in the United States, she had just returned to Bareilly, the northern Indian city where her family had since settled, and had her sights set on studying engineering. “I just went to the pageant to skip my exams,” she admits. But she won. Then a few months later, Chopra took the crown at Miss World in London.
“It wasn’t my dream to be a pageant queen,” Chopra says. “It was just drive. I don’t like losing.” She’s also quick to clarify that pageants in India and the U.K. are quite different from the Trump-endorsed spectacles in the States: “They didn’t even have a swimsuit competition in Miss World. They were more focused on whether you’re a leader; how compassionate you are. At 17, I was asked to speak about the economic structures of foreign countries.”
Give or take about 50 (!) Hindi films later, made over just 12 years, she was already a multi-award-winning megastar in India when an ABC executive approached her about starring in the network’s new drama. Although she had never really planned on moving her career to the U.S., she found the pilot script for Quantico too irresistible to pass up: “It tackles so many issues— diversity, equality, feminism, terrorism.” Chopra plays Alex Parrish, a self-assured, straight-talking young FBI recruit who spends most of season one trying to track down the terrorist who attempted to frame her for bombing Grand Central Station.
The show was an instant hit, becoming the number-two new series in Canada. Season two premieres September 25 on CTV—pretty soon Chopra will be as recognizable here as she is in India. “Mainstream America is getting to know me through Quantico, and now they’re discovering my Indian films,” she says. “It’s such a cool cultural exchange for me, because I get people writing to me, saying, ‘We watched our first Indian movie on Netflix.’ I feel amazing that I’ve been able to introduce a new audience to those films—and an Indian audience to an American show.”
Quantico premieres September 25th on ABC.
Photo Credit: Peter Ash Lee for FLARE Canada