Priyanka Chopra on Coming to America: “I Tried Not to Be Too Indian”

Priyanka Chopra is pretty universally considered one of the most beautiful women in the world and yet even she had her insecurities.

Growing up in India, she was constantly reminded that her skin was “too dark,” and she was not the “ideal” beauty typed.

She told Glamour,

“A lot of girls who have a darker skin hear things like, ‘Oh, poor thing, she’s dark. Poor thing, it’ll be hard for her.’ In India, they advertise skin-lightening creams: ‘your skin’s gonna get lighter in a week.’ I used it [when I was very young]. Then when I was an actor, around my early twenties, I did a commercial for a skin-lightening cream. I was playing that girl with insecurities.”

And things didn’t get much better when she moved to the U.S. when she was 12. A girl who bullied her called her “Curry” and she tried desperately to fit in.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand what Indians are. And that’s our fault, a little. We tend to forget our roots a bit. As kids [we think], If I’m too Indian, I’ll be put in a box, and people will think of me as different. They’ll think I’m weird because I eat Indian food or my name is difficult to pronounce.”

She eventually got fed up with the bullying and moved back to India in high school. It wasn’t until she got her role in Quantico in 2015 that she came back to the states.

And now that Chopra has a platform she speaks out, she wants to use it to help the girls like her, who might be too afraid to stray from their lane.

“Maybe I, being on the platform that I am, can say this louder than the kid who has to get on the subway and go to school: You don’t need to be afraid of who you are. I don’t want any kid to feel the way I felt in school. I was afraid of my bully. It made me feel like I’m less—in my skin, in my identity, in my culture.”

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.