What We Know About Priyanka Chopra's Bollywood Fame

Priyanka Chopra has built an impressive career for herself, not only as an actor, but also as producer, author, and philanthropist. For her multi-hyphenated roles, the Indian star was named among the top 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes in 2017, recognizing the doors she has open for South Asian entertainers in Hollywood. In addition to showcasing her acting skills in "Baywatch," "The White Tiger," and "The Matrix Resurrections," Chopra also penned "Unfinished," a memoir that made The New York Times' best-selling list when it came out in February 2021, Hindustan Times reported.

She has also found time to advance important causes in environmental and women's and girls' rights. Chopra started working with UNICEF as a national ambassador for India in 2006, when he acting career was still in its early days, until she became a global ambassador in 2016. Her wish to fight for girls' access to education came when she learned her family's housekeeper enrolled their son in school, but not their daughter, she told Glamour in 2016.

Right then and there, she made the decision to cover the girl's education. "I can't eradicate poverty, but at least for the people around me, I can help make sure no child is denied a dream," she said. As her paychecks increased with her success in Hollywood, so did how much she invested in the cause. Before she was introduced to America in the mid-2010s, Chopra was already quite a famous face in India.

Priyanka Chopra never auditioned for a role until Quantico

Priyanka Chopra's path to success in Bollywood began with a pageant. In her late teens, Chopra entered into a beauty contest and was later crowned Miss World in 2000, The Tribune India reported. In just a few months, Chopra became one of her country's most famous faces. In 2001, Chopra was offered a role in the Tamil-language film "Thamizhan," according to The Hindu.

In 2003, she made her Bollywood debut in "The Hero: Love Story of a Spy." In 2004, her role in "Aitraaz" earned her critical praise. "Not only does she have the glamour but also all the qualities to be a star," Sify's Kunal Shah raved. The roles continued to find Chopra, rather than the other way around. "People kind of knew who I was and [I] was cast in movies ... And then I just ended up doing a lot of them because I guess I was decent at my job," she said on "Good Morning America" in 2016.

The first time Chopra had to actually go to an audition happened only when she decided to try her luck in Hollywood. "When I picked 'Quantico' as a script, I had to meet them and they had to meet me and I had to do a reading," she said. More than a decade into her career, she was all of a sudden a bundle of nerves. "I talked to myself ... 'You've done 50 movies. What's wrong with you?'"

Priyanka Chopra was headed for a career in STEM before winning pageants

Priyanka Chopra was a straight-A student, who never thought the arts could lead to a productive career. "I didn't even know that acting could be a serious profession," she said on W magazine's "Screen Tests interview" in 2016. "Because I was that Indian girl, you know, who sits front-bencher, always knows the answer, comes first in class, honor student." Instead, Chopra aspired to be an engineer. And not just any kind. Even back then, she was already dreaming big. "I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. I wanted to be in NASA, build planes," she said.

Those ambitions were replaced when her pageant-winning streak began to slam doors open for her. Leaving aeronautical engineering behind was an easy choice after she learned her passion for dancing, singing, and performing could actually be turned into a career. "What am I today? I'm an actor, I am a singer, I am an author, I am I am a producer, I am an artist," she said at an event streamed by NDTV. "How did I go from becoming an engineer to all of these things? I made choices."

Chopra isn't ashamed of her past. On the contrary, she's grateful for the opportunities that came from beauty contests. "It gave me a sense of self, a sense of confidence to be able to stand in front of heads of state, to be able to speak in front of media," she told Tatler in March 2020.