Why she matters: From being the only Brown woman in a roomful of White men, to leading the charge of diversity and inclusion across Hollywood, this Citadel star is a force of nature. Kaveree Bamzai chronicles the journey of this small-town ‘desi girl’ to world domination.
She’s known to have shattered the glass ceiling for Indians in Hollywood... But how did she succeed at that? And to what end? Well, besides starring in several high-octane Hollywood movies and headlining a network show, Priyanka Chopra Jonas did it by getting paid just as much as her male counterpart for Amazon Prime Video’s global series, Citadel.
But what is truly ground-breaking about Miss World 2000 is that she has held the door open for others from South Asia, as well. Whether it’s by co-hosting the South Asian Excellence pre-Oscar party, organising special screenings for Oscar probables, The Last Film Show and RRR, or making her Diwali party part of Hollywood’s festival calendar.
It takes a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance to be part of global change, with only a handful of Indians on the Hollywood silver screen. And in an industry that has long grappled with inequality and underrepresentation (barring a few veterans like Shekhar Kapur and the late Om Puri and Irrfan Khan), Priyanka, at 41, has become a true blue international celebrity, as much at ease at the Met Gala as on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
This global sensation has earned her title by being cast in colour-blind roles, be it Nadia Smith in Citadel or in the Celine Dion-starrer, Love Again.
With a first-look deal with Prime Video, a rom-com with Sam Heughan (the global crush!) and several films in the pipeline, she works hard to prove the credentials we introduce her by. Add to the mix her haircare line, Anomaly, her efforts for UNICEF, a homeware line, several tech investments, and Sona, her chic new restaurant in New York, and you have a woman who knows her worth. Married to pop star Nick Jonas, Priyanka is also what one can deem an Instagram star today, with the second-highest follower count among Indians (a whopping 88.6 million!), after cricketer Virat Kohli.
She’s articulate, fearlessly calls out the discrimination in Bollywood and exposes the body-shaming and racism in Hollywood. A paparazzi favourite, especially in New York, and friends with all the Asian heavy-hitters in Tinseltown, all in all, our ‘desi girl’ is quite unstoppable.
To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!