Priyanka Chopra is an Indian actress, singer, philanthropist, and the winner of the Miss World pageant of 2000. One of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses and one of the nation’s most high-profile celebrities, Chopra has also gained popularity for her sense of style. She has received numerous awards, including a National Film Award, and five Filmfare Awards, and was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, by the Government of India in 2016. That same year, Time named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In addition to her acting career, Chopra is noted for her philanthropic work, and was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights in 2010. She promotes various causes such as environment, health and education, and women’s rights, and is particularly vocal about gender equality, and gender pay gap. Though she is reticent to discuss her personal life in public, her off-screen life is the subject of substantial media coverage. As a singer, she has released three singles. Chopra is also the founder of the production company Purple Pebble Pictures.
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 from Ambala, while her mother is from Jharkhand, the eldest daughter of Ms. Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri, a former member of Bihar Assembly, and Dr. Manohar Kishan Akhouri, a former Congress veteran.She has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior. Actresses 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.
Chopra’s main vocal influence was her father, who she said was “an incredible singer”, and helped develop her interest in singing.She used her vocal talent early in her pageantry career. Her first recording, the song “Ullathai Killathe” in the Tamil film Thamizhan (2002), was made at the urging of her director and co-star, Vijay (who had noticed her singing on the set). She declined to sing playback for “Tinka Tinka” in her film Karam (2005), preferring to concentrate on her acting career, but later sang the song live on the television programme Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Chopra recorded an unreleased song for Bluffmaster! (2005). In August 2011, Universal Music Group signed Chopra to a worldwide recording agreement with DesiHits. The deal indicated that her first studio album would be released by Interscope Records in North America and by Island Records elsewhere. Her first song as a playback singer in Bollywood was “Chaoro” from Mary Kom (2014).
In 2007, Chopra was on the judges’ panel of the Miss India pageant. She stated, “Miss India will always remain special. That’s where it all started for me. And maybe that’s where it would’ve ended if I hadn’t won the crown.” She also served as a judge at Miss World 2009. In 2010, she hosted the third season of the reality show Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi on the Colors channel, taking over from previous host Akshay Kumar. According to contestants, in hosting the series, Chopra had “transformed into quite a whip-wielding dictator”, relentlessly pushing the contestants to work. She performed most of her own stunts, adamant to prove that she could rival Akshay Kumar, who had hosted the previous two seasons. The opening ratings of the show topped those of the two previous seasons. The show was praised by critics, and earned her the Indian Telly Award for Most Impactful Debut on Television.She visited Jawan troops in Tenga, in eastern India, for a special episode of the NDTV show Jai Jawan celebrating the 60th anniversary of India’s independence. In February 2016, Chopra presented the award for Best Film Editing at the 88th Academy Awards.
Chopra has participated in a number of world tours and concerts. She took part in a world concert tour, “Temptations 2004”, and performed with other Bollywood actors (including Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta and Arjun Rampal) in 19 stage shows In 2011, she participated (with Shahid Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan) in a concert in Durban, South Africa celebrating 150 years of India–South Africa friendship. In 2012, she performed at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai in the opening ceremony of the fifth season of cricket’s Indian Premier League with Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Katy Perry. The same year, she performed at Dubai Festival City’s Ahlan Bollywood Concert with other Bollywood stars such as Salman Khan and Sophie Choudry.
In a July 2014 article published in The Guardian, she criticised female genital mutilation and child marriage. She wrote: “These practices violate the fundamental rights of girls and women, and hold back social and economic development that would benefit children, communities and countries. Child marriage and FGM destroy childhoods, disrupt schooling, leave girls at higher risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes, and contribute to a cycle of poverty.”In December 2014, Chopra wrote an op-ed for The New York Times titled “What Jane Austen Knew” about the importance of education for girls. She praised and quoted Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, and described how her desire to help others was triggered when, at just nine years old, she joined her parents while they volunteered their spare time to offer modern health care to the rural poor. In late 2014, Chopra began writing a monthly column, “Pret-a-Priyanka”, for “Elle.com”. In an article published in January 2015, she expressed her views on diversity and being a global citizen.
Chopra is one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actresses, and considered one of the most popular and high-profile celebrities in India. She is described as a sex symbol and a style icon. Her body, figure, eye, lips and exotic looks have been cited by the media as her distinctive physical features.Designers Falguni and Shane Peacock wrote, “She is comfortable in her own skin and looks ravishing in whatever she wears, be it a bikini, short or long dress or even a sari.” She ranks high on lists of the most influential, powerful, popular and attractive Indian celebrities. In 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2015, the UK magazine Eastern Eye ranked her first on their “World’s Sexiest Asian Women” list, and she was featured on Verve’s list of most powerful women in 2009 and 2010. She was named “India’s Best-Dressed Woman of the Year” by People in 2011, and Maxim selected her twice (2011 and 2013) as “Hottest Girl of the Year”. In 2012, she was declared the most influential Indian on the social-media circuit in a survey conducted by Pinstorm. In 2015, People featured her as one of the “Most Intriguing People of the Year”. In 2016, Time named her one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” and also featured on the cover of the issue.