Priyanka Chopra On The 'TIME' 100 Cover Is A Landmark Moment For Hollywood
Within the past year, actress Priyanka Chopra has taken Hollywood by storm with the lead role in the ABC drama, Quantico, and the announcement that she will be starring alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Zac Efron in the upcoming film adaptation of Baywatch. However, while her career seems to be quickly growing in the eyes of Hollywood, the Indian-born actress had a successful career in Bollywood long before she became a staple in the eyes of the American people. On Thursday, she made TIME Magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People, and that's landmark for a number of reasons. But the biggest one on my list is that Chopra is shaping a more inclusive Hollywood.
After being crowned Miss India and Miss World in 2000, Chopra quickly started to pop-up in Indian films and became a well-known, award-winning actress overseas. However, it was making the rare jump from Bollywood star to the starring role of an FBI recruit in the hit series Quantico that most likely put her in the spotlight for TIME's list. "She has drive, ambition, self-respect, and she knows there’s no substitute for hard work. We always quote the saying 'Wear your success like a T-shirt, not like a tuxedo,' and she really does—as big a star as she is, as global as she is, as beautiful as she is, there’s this interesting quality of relatability," Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shared with TIME magazine. "It’s an amazing time to watch as she pierces the U.S. market. She has an ability to inspire people to do more and achieve more. When I look at her success from the 50,000-ft. view and see everything that Priyanka has already done, is currently doing and has the desire and the bandwidth to do, I can see that her impact is going to be invaluable."
And it's true, in my opinion, that she is invaluable. Her lead roles in Quantico and Baywatch alone are inspiring a whole new generation of diverse talent, and proving to the world one episode at a time that actresses of color can be just as huge draws as their white counterparts in Hollywood. Hopefully, the opportunities in film and television for diverse talents will expand along with her growing number of fans. In fact, even before she was recognized by TIME, Chopra spoke out about the importance of her role in Quantico to Vanity Fair magazine in saying, "I didn’t want to be this stereotype of what Indian people are usually seen as in global pop culture, you know? We [South Asian actors] don’t just have to be Apu from The Simpsons.” And it seems like her lead roles are doing just that: breaking down the stereotypes.
However, aside from the diversity aspect, Chopra's roles also happen to reflect the ways in which women in general are viewed in the film and television market. As she mentioned in her TIME interview, the industry has seemingly been changing right before her very eyes. “When I was very young, I was 19 and I was doing the first few movies, I remember that my dates weren’t working out. My scheduling wasn’t working out for a movie with a very big actor. And the producer said, ‘Well, she can’t work it out, it’s fine, we’ll just cast someone else. Or, you know what? I’ll launch a new girl because girls are replaceable,'" said Chopra. "I didn’t understand it then. But I think subconsciously it really worked on my mind, and I started picking up parts which were strong, which were not just the damsel in distress waiting for someone to rescue me. As much as I like being rescued. Every girl does… Now 13, 15 years later, whatever, I think that the movies that I do, I’m irreplaceable and the boys are replaceable.”
Seriously, this woman's entire TIME magazine interview is nothing less than inspiring. It is the greatest thing in the world that Chopra made not only the list but one of the covers of the magazine in 2016. Because she is not going away anytime soon... and she's going to continue to take Hollywood by storm.