The untold truth of Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra's non-linear journey to become an actress began when she embarked on a solo mission to assimilate into American culture after saying goodbye to India when she was just a tween. A bully crushed her spirit, which prompted her to return back to her native country. That's when her mom secretly submitted her to the Miss India pageant in 2000, where she was crowned the runner-up. She later went on to win Miss World in 2000, and it opened more doors in the Bollywood film industry than she could've ever imagined.

Chopra has since starred in over 50 Bollywood films and has managed to cross over into the American film industry, as well, becoming the first South Asian woman to headline an American drama series. The beauty queen-turned-actress landed her breakout television role in the series Quantico. Proving she's a formidable force to be reckoned with, her portrayal of the character, Alex Parrish, snagged her two People's Choice Awards and the no. 8 spot on Forbes' list of highest-paid TV actresses in 2017.

Simultaneously working between America and India means Chopra is on her way to worldwide domination, and her private life is on a positive trajectory, as well. Can her life be any more perfect? Let's find out as we explore the untold truth of Priyanka Chopra.

A bully ruined her time in America

During a visit to the U.S. at the age of 12, Priyanka Chopra tagged along with her cousin to see what American schools were really like. "What my cousin was studying was really easy. I was like, 'OK, I don't even have to study, and I would get A's,'" she told Glamour magazine.

She asked her mom if she could stay behind in the U.S., attend school, and shuttle between her aunt and uncle's homes. Her mom agreed, and Chopra lived in "Iowa, then New York, then Indianapolis, and then Boston" during her initial stay in the States. 

But when she was in high school, things became unbearable. "There was this girl who was a major bully. I think she didn't like me because her boyfriend liked me, or some high school dynamic. She made my life hell," Chopra shared with Glamour.

She later told Complex magazine her tormenter used to say hurtful things, such as, "Brownie, go back to your country, you smell of curry."

She eventually packed up and left America behind to get away from her hater, but, little did she know, she'd later return to the States and make it big in Hollywood.

A passion for music

With her acting career moving ahead at full throttle, one would think that Priyanka Chopra would be way too short on time to explore other hobbies, but that's simply not the case. In between her Bollywood and Hollywood gigs, she hones in on her other passion: music — singing, in particular. 

"Nineties music has influenced me tremendously. Movies became my profession, but music was always my heart, in a way, my passion," she revealed to Complex.

Chopra has worked with some heavy-hitters in the music industry, teaming up with Pitbull for her track "Exotic," and she reportedly has a studio session with Pharrell in the works whenever her schedule finally clears up.  

Fun fact: One of her favorite artists is the late rapper Tupac Shakur. "I was supposed to be Mrs. Shakur. Then he died," she told Complex. "Yeah, I wore black to school for 30 days."

Quick! Grab the ice cream!

When it comes time to choose which films she'll star in, Chopra told ELLE Canada that she's very indecisive up until she finally has to make a decision. And once she has her heart set on something, there's no turning back — even if the movie turns out to be a huge flop. "There are times when I've made the wrong decision and it has blown up in my face," she admitted.

So, what's the cure when one of her projects isn't well-received by the public and critics? "It takes a lot of tubs of ice cream to get me over that," she shared. "I have not made friends with failure."

Aside from drowning her sorrows in dessert, Chopra also says she tends to "shut down" when she's going through a rough situation. "I go into a shell. My wrath is pretty bad too. When I'm upset with someone, it's like they cease to exist. It's cold and scary, which is unlike me in every other way," she explained.

This is one person we would not want to be around on a bad day … unless there's enough ice cream to go around!

She'll never get used to bad gossip

Chopra is aware of what being in the public eye is all about, but that hasn't made it any easier for her to get used to the incessant attention she receives from the press. When asked how she handles the paparazzi, she told Reuters India, in part, "It hurts, and people are so judgmental so soon, and without seeing things for what they really are, they make their mind up, and I think tabloid culture helps that, encourages it." 

And for anyone who says the media attention will get better over time, Chopra would likely disagree. "I don't think I've gotten used to it yet. I don't think I ever will," she said.

With the amped-up focus on her acting career, Chopra finds solitude in keeping one portion of her life to herself. "I have chosen to be a public person so I do owe a certain amount of my life to people who have made me who I am. So I keep my private life, it's very private to me and I'm very protective of it ferociously, I think I keep just a little bit for myself and the rest of it can be for the whole world," she said.

The special meaning behind her ink

Priyanka Chopra lost one of the most important people in her life when her father, Ashok, died of cancer in 2013. "It created a space in my heart which is empty and it's always going to be. My dad was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter," she told Harper's Bazaar.

Prior to his passing, she asked him to write "Daddy's lil girl…" out for her. She told Complex that she lied to him and told him she would put the writing on her album cover. "He practiced and practiced so his hand wouldn't shake, then he emailed it to me. I traced it and got the tattoo," she said about the ink that's now displayed proudly on her right wrist.

"When he saw it he cried, and was very emotional," she said. "I was being sassy like, 'See, this was the only way you would allow me to get a tattoo.' But we both knew it was a very emotional moment." 

A competitive nature

Chopra's competitive nature goes way back to her school days. "When I was in school in America, we had to paint a wall and I wanted to be the first one to complete it and I wanted my wall to be the best. My cousin who was with me said, 'It's just a wall, chill!'" she told The Indian Express.

Her cousin's words fell on deaf ears, though. "But I always want to be better, faster, quicker. I keep looking for things that are tough and I want to excel in them," she said.

As it turns out, she was actually the perfect actress to play the role of Alex Parrish in Quantico because her real-life determination is identical to the character's. In an effort to promote the show in a 2015 tweet, Chopra shared a photo of the character's FBI badge, which described Parrish as "fiercely competitive and naturally gifted."

Now that's art imitating life! 

Her very first audition

Being a pageant winner — and an undeniably beautiful woman — meant Bollywood came knocking on her door with numerous opportunities after she was crowned. But, unbeknownst to many, Chopra never once auditioned for a Bollywood role. "Because I ended up being Miss World, I'm just casually putting that out there, in 2000, so people kind of knew who I was and [I] was cast in movies because it made sense," she told Good Morning America. "And then I just ended up doing a lot of them because I guess I was decent at my job."

When Chopra received the script for Quantico, it was her first time ever auditioning for a role, and her nerves got the best of her. "So I talked to myself, completely cliché, in the bathroom before and said, 'You've done 50 movies. What's wrong with you?' And I went in there, did my thing, and I got the job,'" she said.

Thanks to her outstanding performance on the series, she's now a People's Choice Award-winning actress. Not a bad outcome for her first audition ever, right?

Beauty and brains

Chopra excelled in school and always came "first in class" and was an "honor student," as she told W magazine. She even had dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer. "I wanted to study, I wanted to be in NASA, build planes. And it's so ironic that I just literally live in one now," she said of her jet-setting acting career.

As a kid, she "didn't even know that acting could be a serious profession," so, after graduating high school, she headed off to pursue her educational dreams. "I did my first year of college in Mumbai and then I just couldn't [continue], because I started working when I was 18 and was doing about four movies a year," she explained.

Even though she had to put school on the back burner, Chopra has made it her mission to help young children exceed in the classroom and beyond. Through her organization, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education, she pays for schooling and medical care for approximately 70 children in India.

A strict household

As a teen, Chopra was described as being skinny and gawky. But after she hit puberty, and upon her return to India following her negative interactions with a bully in America, she had "grown in pretty much the right places."

And her newly sprouted curves brought all the boys to the yard. "My dad was terrified and he literally turned our house into a jail," she told The Guardian. "He put wrought-iron bars on my windows — because one guy had jumped from another terrace on to my balcony — and a big lock on the front door."

Her dad also prohibited her from wearing "tight clothes or tight T-shirts," one of many rules that strained their relationship, which Chopra described as a "big clash of egos."

Let's recap: While her dad was trying to keep her under lock and key so that her beauty would go unnoticed, her mom was secretly entering her into the Miss India pageant. 

Though she would initially be recognized for her good looks, the world would soon find out she was more than just a pretty face.

No experience needed

Surprisingly, her acting prowess was built without any professional help. "I've never received any formal training in acting or cinema nor do I belong to a film family; so for me, the biggest achievement is that my hard work and my family's support have led me to the place I'm in today. I take great pride in that," she told News 18.

Even though she consistently leaves us in awe, she admits she hasn't always been on her A game. "I think I was a terrible actress when I started off as compared to what I'm now," she told the publication. "I still have a lot to learn, but I believe that I've grown as an actress and I evolve constantly. I always had the hunger to learn and become better at what I do — just like a sponge, trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible."

Despite being meek about her talents, she absolutely crushed it as Alex Parrish on the hit series Quantico, and she also made heads turn in the Bollywood films Fashion and Dostana. This self-taught entertainer is killin' it!

She loves a 'cerebral' type of guy

People magazine reported in July 2018 that Priyanka Chopra had gotten engaged to actor and singer Nick Jonas on her 36th birthday after just two months of dating. Even though it'd seem the two were making a mad dash to the altar, it's totally fine because we're pretty sure Jonas ticks off all the boxes on Chopra's dating must-have list, which she shared with Harper's Bazaar prior to their reported engagement. 

"I like to be given attention, not like creeper-worthy attention, that would freak me out. But I like to be pursued and wooed," she told the publication.

On top of all of the adoration, she also made it clear that she's not attracted to dumb jocks. "And if he's not cerebral, if he's not smart and cannot engage me, then it cannot happen. That's the biggest, most important thing for me," she said, while adding, "I'm very mushy, I love romance."

We guess Chopra finally found a "cerebral" beau worth keeping around!