Priyanka talks racism in the US and why she signed up for QuanticoCulture
We know Priyanka Chopra has had her eyes set on the international horizon, what with her new TV show ABC's Quantico and musical collaborations with the likes of Jay Sean, will.i.am and Pitbull.
What we didn't know that her ambition to make it big internationally is motivated in part by racism she encountered when she was living in the America in her teens.
Also read: Priyanka-starring drama series Quantico's trailer released
"When I went to school in America, there was a lot of stereotypes attached to Indian people," she shared in an interview with Miss Malini," I was bullied a lot. I witnessed a lot of racism and that’s exactly why I came back to India. I was 16 years old. I was called a ‘Brownie’ and some even told me, 'Go back to where you came from.' At that point in time, I couldn’t deal with it."
What must have been a painful experience in her teens fueled her desire to change the image of India in the west, as she said:
"Everybody doesn’t speak like Apu from The Simpsons. We all don’t smell of curry. We all are not ugly-looking nerds, who are shy and always keep sitting behind their computers. Yes, we are very proud of our big families but that doesn’t mean ki har gaadi mein se 15 log bahar niklenge. In global pop-culture, we are always represented like that. I wanted to break that."
Before signing on for Quantico, Chopra made sure the role was free from stereotypes:
"So when ABC Network came to me with this idea, I never thought of doing anything with them in terms of acting because I was only getting offers to play the Indian princess, some exotic looking snake-charmer or some hypnotizing lady. I never wanted to be restricted to such typical avatars. I do it and I do it damn well. But it annoys me when my country is seen as only that much in global entertainment. I told them very clearly that I’d do it if you cast me as an ethnically ambiguous part. I mentioned that the fact that I am an Indian should have nothing to do with the story, cast me an actor. And they did," she said in the interview.
Watch the Quantico trailer below:
Others stars have also had to deal with racist encounters, like Shah Rukh Khan's unwarranted detention at an airport in the US in 2009. "“I did not want to say anything just in case they took everything wrong because I am little worried about Americans because they do have this issue when your name is Muslim,” Shah Rukh Khan said at the time.
The actor, who was stopped because of his Muslim name, went on to release My Name Is Khan the next year.