Priyanka Chopra Jonas speaks out about being bullied at an American high school when she was 15 in a candid new interview with People.
Chopra Jonas, who married Nick Jonas in December 2018, was born in India and raised by her parents, Ashok and Madhu Chopra. She then decided to head to the U.S. when she was 12 to live with extended family, moving to New York City, Indianapolis and then Newton, Massachusetts.
However, the bullying got so bad in the U.S. that she ended up returning to India to finish her schooling. The actress opens up about her childhood in her new memoir, Unfinished, out next month.
“I took it very personally. Deep inside, it starts gnawing at you,” the “Quantico” star tells the magazine.
“I went into a shell. I was like, ‘Don’t look at me. I just want to be invisible,'” she continues. “My confidence was stripped. I’ve always considered myself a confident person, but I was very unsure of where I stood, of who I was.”
Chopra Jonas recalls in her book how other teenage girls would shout things like, “Brownie, go back to your country!” and “Go back on the elephant you came on” as she walked down the hall.
“I don’t even blame the city, honestly. I just think it was girls who, at that age, just want to say something that’ll hurt,” the star says. “Now, at the other side of 35, I can say that it probably comes from a place of them being insecure. But at that time, I took it very personally.”
Chopra Jonas says she eventually “broke up with America,” before heading back home to India, where she got her confidence back and eventually became Miss World in 2000.
The actress shares, “I was so blessed that when I went back to India, I was surrounded by so much love and admiration for who I was. Going back to India healed me after that experience in high school.
“In America, I was trying not to be different. Right? I was trying to fit in and I wanted to be invisible,” she goes on. “When I went to India, I chose to be different.”
Chopra Jonas then caught up in school and started appearing in school acting productions, telling the mag: “People were like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re so good at this.’
“[That] built my confidence, having made new friends who were amazing and loving and doing actual teenage things. Going to parties, having crushes, dating, all the things, the normal stuff. It just built me up.”