It's a name you may have never heard before, but after the new ABC series Quantico premieres, you won't hear it enough. Priyanka Chopra is the star of Quantico as Alex Parrish, a new FBI recruit who, after only three months on the job, is accused of orchestrating a huge terrorist plot in the heart of New York City and must discover which of her fellow recruits is the actual mole. Chopra's name might sound totally new to many viewers, but for those who have any knowledge about the Indian film industry for films in the Hindi-language, also known as Bollywood, Chopra is not only a well-known name, she's actually synonymous with the word "blockbuster."
Needless to say, Chopra is no stranger to the screen. She's been acting for more than a decade and has won numerous awards in Bollywood. But there's more to Chopra than just her acting chops; she's also a well-rounded celebrity and that's precisely the type of South Asian, female voice we need more of in Hollywood as well. From the first moment she appeared onstage and screen, it was clear that Chopra was going to be a star. Anyone who has seen her debut Bollywood film Andaaz can attest to this fact. But Chopra has taken that film success and translated into a diverse career on and off screen, too.
1. She's Ridiculously Huge In Bollywood
As I said, Chopra could not be a bigger star in India. Sure she's starred in several Blockbuster Bollywood films, but what makes Chopra different from most Indian film actresses is that she actively pursues and takes on roles that challenge Bollywood and gender stereotypes. She recently starred in the Indian biopic Mary Kom about the Indian female boxer. Though she may not exactly look the part, she still took on the role with ferocity and won critical acclaim. She's also portrayed numerous other diverse female characters in films like Fashion, 7 Khoon Maaf, and Dil Dhadakne Do.
2. She's A Popular Singer
In recent years, Chopra has tried her hand at singing and it's gone quite well in her favor. Chopra performed her single "In My City," featuring Will.I.Am as part of the 2013 Thursday Night Football spots for CBS and she's released other world hit singles including a song with Pitbull entitled "Exotic."
3. She's A Model & Former Beauty Queen
Before Chopra made waves as a Bollywood A-lister, she began her career in modeling and in the pageant world. In 2000, Chopra was crowned Miss India, which is a title that allowed her to compete on the global scale. Later that year, she was also crowned Miss World. She quickly began her Bollywood career after this achievement as her first starring role came in 2003. In 2014, Chopra was also named the first Indian Guess Girl where she spoke out about promoting more diversity.
4. She Is A Part-Time Journalist Of Sorts
In 2014, Priyanka Chopra became a guest columnist for Elle Magazine where she's written about everything both fluffy and deep, from uncovering the secrets of the red carpet, to topics like diversity, and even finding and loving oneself.
5. She Actively Speaks Out For Acceptance & Women's Rights...
From participating alongside Freida Pinto in the Girl Rising documentary and campaign, to speaking out against hate and intolerance after debuting her September 2013 NFL performance, and being a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for children's rights across the world, Priyanka Chopra is extremely outspoken about many important issues. With Quantico she's also taken on the duties of speaking for women's empowerment and equality, but there is a small issue with how she's tackling this job...
4. She Doesn't Fully Understand "Feminism"
During an interview with Refinery 29 about Quantico's strong female leads, Chopra stated:
"I don’t think it’s feminist, but it’s empowerment. It’s got very strong female characters, and I don’t think it’s a bra-burning feminist show where you’re like, we hate men, but we have really strong male characters, too. It gives females an opportunity to be equal with the boys, and I think that’s really progressive."
Unfortunately, there are still lots of people who misunderstand the word "feminism" and Chopra seems to be echoing these sentiments. Hopefully Chopra will come to understand that the word "feminism" doesn't mean man-hating, but in fact just encapsulates those who strive for equality just like she does constantly with her philanthropic efforts and important statements in the media about women's rights.
Still, it would seem Chopra is poised to capture American audiences much the way she has captured hearts in India. Perhaps the rest will just fall into place, too.