Priyanka Chopra is on the cover of the June issue of Glamour magazine, and in her wide-ranging interview the “Quantico” star opens up about the pressure she felt about being an Indian actress starring in a U.S. network television series.
“After ‘Quantico’ was picked up, I was like, ‘Oh crap, if I don’t do well, people will be like, ‘Oh my God, Indian actors can’t do lead parts.’ I felt that pressure,” she tells Glamour.
Born in India, Chopra admits that she’s had to overcome not just others’ preconceptions about what it means to be Indian, but her own feelings about those preconceptions. “I don’t think a lot of people understand what Indians are,” she explains. “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. That girl in school used to call me ‘curry.’ You’re scared of those things. We’re afraid of letting people see the glory of who we are.”
The star of the upcoming big-screen “Baywatch” reboot also reveals why she refuses to play “exotic” Indian characters, and explains why her role on “Quantico” is so important. “I did not want to be the stereotype of either Bollywood or what Indian actors are [usually offered],” she says. “The exotic, beautiful girl, or the academically inclined nerd. And I wanted to play a lead…. And I’m playing an FBI agent on ‘Quantico’. I didn’t settle for less.”
She adds: “Staying in your lane — I heard that so much. I want to make my lane! And yes, it’s an extremely scary time. 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.”
You can read more of her interview in the latest issue of Glamour.