Priyanka Chopra (pronounced [prɪˈjaːŋkaː ˈtʃoːpɽaː]; born 18 July 1982) is an Indian film actress and singer, and the winner of the Miss World pageant of 2000. Through her film career, she has become one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses and one of the most popular and high-profile celebrities in India. Chopra is cited as the world’s sexiest Asian woman, as well as one of the most fashionable Indian celebrities, by various media outlets. She has received numerous awards and nominations, including a National Film Award for Best Actress and Filmfare Awards in four categories.
Although Chopra initially aspired to study engineering or psychiatry, she accepted offers to join the Indian film industry, which came as a result of her pageant wins, making her acting debut in the Tamil film Thamizhan in 2002. The following year, she starred in The Hero, her first Hindi film release, and followed it with the box-office hits Andaaz and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. She later earned wide critical praise for her breakout role in the 2004 thriller Aitraaz. By 2006, Chopra had established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema with leading roles in the highly successful films Krrish and Don.
The 2008 drama Fashion marked a turning point in her career, earning her critical acclaim as well as the Filmfare Award and National Film Award for Best Actress. She subsequently gained recognition for her versatility in portraying a range of unconventional characters in films such as Kaminey (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Barfi! (2012), and Mary Kom (2014), all of which garnered her several accolades. Chopra portrayed Kashibai in the historical romance drama Bajirao Mastani (2015) to wide praise. In 2015, she starred in the ABC drama Quantico, becoming the first South Asian woman to headline an American network series.
In addition to her acting career, Chopra participates in stage shows, has written columns for newspapers, and is a prominent celebrity endorser for brands and products. She released her first single “In My City” in 2012. Her second single “Exotic” debuted in 2013, and charted in countries such as the United States and Canada. Chopra is noted for her philanthropic activities, and was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights in 2010. She promotes various causes such as environment, health and education, women empowerment and women’s rights, and is particularly vocal about women’s issues, including safety, gender equality, and gender pay inequality. Though she is reticent to discuss her personal life in public, her off-screen life is the subject of substantial media coverage in India.
Early life and background
Priyanka Chopra was born on 18 July 1982 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), to Ashok and Madhu Chopra, both physicians in the Indian Army. Her father was a Punjabi, while her mother is from Jharkhand. She has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior. Actress Parineeti Chopra, Meera Chopra and Mannara are her cousins. Due to her parents’ occupations the family relocated to a number of places in India, including Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala, Ladakh, Lucknow, Bareilly, and Pune. Among the schools she attended were La Martiniere Girls’ School in Lucknow and St. Maria Goretti College in Bareilly. In an interview published in Daily News and Analysis, Chopra said that she did not mind travelling regularly and changing schools; she welcomed it as a new experience and a way to discover India’s multicultural society. Among the many places that she lived, Chopra has fond memories as a child of playing in the valleys of Leh, in the cold northwestern Indian desert region of Jammu and Kashmir. She has said, “I think I was in Class 4 when I was in Leh. My brother was just born. My dad was in the army and was posted there. I stayed in Leh for a year and my memories of that place are tremendous … We were all army kids there. We weren’t living in houses, we were in bunkers in the valley and there was a stupa right on top of a hill which used to overlook our valley. We used to race up to the top of the stupa”. She now considers Bareilly her home town, and maintains strong connections there.
At the age of thirteen, Chopra moved to the United States to study, living with her aunt, and attending schools in Newton, Massachusetts, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a stop in Queens, New York, as her aunt’s family also moved frequently. While in Massachusetts, she participated in several theatre productions and studied Western classical music, choral singing and Kathak dance. During her teenage years in America, Chopra sometimes faced racial issues and was bullied for being Indian by an African-American classmate. She has said, “I was a gawky kid, had low self-esteem, came from a modest middle-class background, had white marks on my legs … But I was damn hard working. Today, my legs sell 12 brands.”
After three years, Chopra returned to India, finishing the senior year of her high-school education at the Army Public School in Bareilly. During this period, she won the local “May Queen” beauty pageant, after which she was pursued by admirers, leading her family to equip their home with bars for her protection. Her mother then entered her in the Femina Miss India contest of 2000; she finished second, winning the Femina Miss India World title. Chopra then went on to the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania at the Millennium Dome in London on 30 November 2000. Chopra was the fifth Indian contestant to win Miss World, and the fourth to do so in seven years. She had enrolled in college, but left after winning the Miss World pageant. Chopra said that the Miss India and Miss World titles brought her recognition, and she then began receiving offers for film roles.
Chopra has maintained a strong relationship with her family, including her younger brother, Siddharth, and lives in an apartment on the same floor as her family. She was especially close to her father, who died in June 2013; in 2012 she got a tattoo reading “Daddy’s lil girl”, in his handwriting. Having not come from a film background, she describes herself as a self-made woman. Her mother, a well-established gynaecologist in Bareilly, gave up her practice to support Chopra as she embarked upon a film career
Filmography and awards
- Andaaz (2003)
- Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004)
- Aitraaz (2004)
- Don (2006)
- Fashion (2008)
- Kaminey (2009)
- What’s Your Raashee (2009)
- 7 Khoon Maaf (2011)
- Don 2 (2011)
- Barfi! (2012)
- Mary Kom (2014)
- Quantico (2015; ABC)
Awards and nominations
Among Chopra’s film awards are a National Film Award for Best Actress for Fashion (2008) and four Filmfare Awards: Best Female Debut for Andaaz (2003), Best Performance in a Negative Role for Aitraaz (2004), Best Actress for Fashion and Critics Award for Best Actress for 7 Khoon Maaf (2011).
- As lead artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|“In My City”
|“I Can’t Make You Love Me”||2014||—||—||28|
- As featured artist
(The Chainsmokers featuring Priyanka Chopra)
- Other appearances
|“Chaoro (Lori)”||2014||Mary Kom||Hindi (Lullaby)|
|“Dil Dhadakne Do”||2015||Dil Dhadakne Do||Hindi|
At the time, the second place contestant of Femina Miss India was given the title “Miss India World” and sent to the Miss World competition, whereas the first place contestant was sent to Miss Universe, and third place to Miss Asia Pacific International.