Inspiring Women Series – part 3: Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Photo from her Instagram page @priyankachopra.

Who she is

Priyanka Chopra Jonas is a famous actress, film producer and writer. Most of you will now her from her leading role as an FBI agent in the American series Quantico. Before her arrival in the Hollywood industry, she was already well-known in Bollywood. Chopra is of Indian descent, but spent a part of her childhood in the United States. After that, she returned to India and began participating in beauty pageants. In 2000, at the age of 18, she was crowned Miss World as the fifth Indian participant ever. That was the moment her career in the public eye started. Priyanka was planning to go to university, but because of all the opportunities that came her way, she ended up in a whole other world.

Priyanka uses her fame for a good cause. As a philanthropist she defends human rights, women’s rights and supports multiple good causes. In 2018 she married Nick Jonas (1/3th of the Jonas Brothers). The wedding had a lot of media coverage. There were multiple ceremonies, both Christian and traditional Hindu ceremonies, spread over different days. Chopra then officially added her husbands name to hers. During an interview with Jimmy Fallon in The Tonight Show she said she added the name instead of replacing hers “because she is a whole on her own, but he is an addition to her life”, followed by a big applause. 

What she does

By being chosen as Miss World, she received much fame and many opportunities. She quickly got a couple of roles in Indian movies. Not all of them were praised, but she became a well-known person. Her debut in Bollywood was in 2003 with the movie The Hero: Love Story of a Spy and a lot of other roles followed. Her breakthrough in Hollywood was in 2015 when interpreting the role of Alex Parrish in the ABC-series Quantico. In 2017 she was part of the remake of Baywatch alongside among others Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. In 2019 she went back to Hindi language cinema with the film The Sky Is Pink. And recently she played a role in The White Tiger, a movie she also executive produced. Her own production house is called Purple Pebble Pictures, which she makes small-budget movies with and promotes new talent in the Indian film industry.

Furthermore, Priyanka has been active in the music industry. In 2012 her single ‘In My City’ with Will.i.am was released and in 2013 ‘Exotic’ with Pitbull followed. In 2014 she released a third single: a cover of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ originally by Bonnie Raitt. She also built a career in writing. In 2009 she started a column in the Hindustan Times. After the 50 columns she wrote for the newspaper, she kept writing for multiple media brands. In 2012 she wrote a column for The Times of India about the lack of safety for women in the streets of Mumbai. In a text in The Guardian in 2014 she criticized genital mutilation of women and child marriages and in The New York Times she wrote an op-ed about the importance of education for girls. Later in 2014 she started a monthly column in Elle. And finally, in 2021 her long-expected memoir ‘Unfinished’ was released. The book already is on the New York Best Seller List and in the United States and on top of the Nielsen Books Best Seller List in India.

In all of this she never lost her own identity. Her parents had a medical function in the army, which forced them to move a lot through India. In interviews Priyanka claims that she already knew back then that she wanted to help others just like her parents. Today she is a philanthropist. In 2016 she was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian distinctions given by the Indian government. She was also featured on the list of 100 most influential people in the world by Time. Priyanka is also very popular on social media. To finish, she also has wax figures at Madame Tussauds, of which one stands in New York City.

Why she’s an example

Priyanka Chopra has her own foundation: The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. With this, she supports children with chronic illnesses all over the world by for example offering activities that distract them from their disease and give them a normal life in a certain way. Chopra also often speaks about women’s rights, the gender pay gap and the importance of education for young girls. Since 2006 she actively works with UNICEF and in 2016 she was named a Global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She also received multiple awards for her philanthropy.

In India, and by extension the rest of the world, she is very much looked up to. With her Indian descent, she is a pioneer in a lot of things and this way she shows young girls that anything is possible. In her home country she is sees as the ultimate example (because of her prominence in both Bollywood and Hollywood) that there’s also room for their culture in the western world. Priyanka had to deal with a lot of prejudices, especially at the start of her career, but has always remained true to herself. Today she’s still sometimes critisized, for example for marrying a man who’s ten years younger. However, if it would be the other way around, nobody would care. On that matter, we still have a long way to go and Priyanka Chopra is one of the leading figures on that road.

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