Although Priyanka Chopra has now established herself as a household name in Hollywood, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, when the actress first started her career, after her victory as Miss World in 2000, Chopra was a star in Bollywood, not Hollywood. Over the years, however, Chopra found herself across the globe and, after much persistence, she made it big over here too.
In a new candid interview with The Zoe Report, the Love Again star talked about why she made the journey over to the U.S. and the many obstacles she faced when she got here. When she first came to Tinseltown, Chopra was pursuing a music career with her her own international I.P.
To her surprise, however, not only did the music not do well, but the industry execs didn’t seem to care. “I felt like a failure,” she said. “I was hard on myself.” Looking back, Chopra seems to understand why her short-lived singing career didn’t fully pan out. “I just felt like I sounded manufactured, it didn’t come from a real authentic place,” she said. “That’s the best music, that’s the music I enjoy listening [to].”
When it came to acting, she didn’t have much luck either, at least in the beginning. “People didn’t want to take meetings with me because they thought I was a Bollywood actor and I couldn’t do mainstream American movies,” she said. “I had been on the cover of this [fashion] magazine six times in India and they wouldn’t take a meeting with me in America. Because they were like, ‘Oh, I don’t know what we’ll do with her.'” Knowing what we know now, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As for why she decided to leave Bollywood, Chopra said it was much more than her dreams of becoming an international singer. “I was being pushed into a corner in the industry,” she told Dax Shepard in his podcast Armchair Expert recently. “I had people not casting me for reasons. I had beef with people… I was tired of the politics.”
In the candid interview, however, Chopra revealed a specific incident that made her rethink some things. “This may have been 2002 or ’03,” she said, remembering a movie she was doing in Bollywood. “I’m undercover, I’m seducing the guy — obviously that’s what girls do when they’re undercover – but I’m seducing the guy and you have to take off one piece of clothing [at a time]. I wanted to layer up.”
Seeing her do that, the director then approached her stylist and said, “No, I need to see her underwear. Otherwise, why is anybody coming to watch this movie?”
“It was such a dehumanizing moment,” she said. “It was a feeling of, ‘I’m nothing else outside of how I can be used, my art is not important, what I contribute is not important.'” After two days of work, she quit the film. “I just couldn’t look at [the director] every day,” she said.
Though leaving Bollywood and making it here must not have been easy, we’re glad she stayed and persisted.
Before you go, click here to see our favorite rom-coms where the main couple isn’t white.
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