Priyanka Chopra Jonas ( born 18 July 1982) is an Indian actress and singer. She was the winner of the Miss World 2000 pageant, and is one of India’s highest-paid and most popular entertainers. Chopra has received numerous accolades, including a National Film Award and five Filmfare Awards. In 2016, the Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri and Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in the next two years Forbes listed her among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Although Chopra initially aspired to study aeronautical engineering, she accepted offers to join the Indian film industry, which came as a result of her pageant wins, making her Bollywood debut in The Hero: Love Story of a Spy (2003). She played the leading lady in the box-office hits Andaaz (2003) and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004) and received critical acclaim for her breakout role in the 2004 thriller Aitraaz. Chopra established herself with starring roles in the top-grossing productions Krrish and Don (both 2006), and she later reprised her role in their sequels.
Following a brief setback, she garnered success in 2008 for playing a troubled model in the drama Fashion, which won her the National Film Award for Best Actress, and a glamorous journalist in Dostana. Chopra gained wider recognition for portraying a range of characters in the films Kaminey (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), Barfi! (2012), Mary Kom (2014), and Bajirao Mastani (2015). From 2015 to 2018, she starred as Alex Parrish in the ABC thriller series Quantico. Chopra has since played supporting roles in the Hollywood comedies Baywatch (2017) and Isn’t It Romantic (2019), and returned to Hindi cinema with a leading role in the biopic The Sky Is Pink (2019).
Chopra also promotes social causes such as environment and women’s rights, and is vocal about gender equality, the gender pay gap, and feminism. She has worked with UNICEF since 2006 and was appointed as the national and global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for child rights in 2010 and 2016, respectively. Her namesake foundation for health and education works towards providing support to unprivileged Indian children. As a recording artist, Chopra has released three singles and provided vocals for a number of her film songs. She is also the founder of the production company Purple Pebble Pictures, under which she has produced several regional Indians films, including the acclaimed Marathi film Ventilator (2016). Despite maintaining privacy, Chopra’s off-screen life, including her marriage to American singer and actor Nick Jonas, is the subject of substantial media coverage.
Chopra with her parents and brother in 2012
Priyanka Chopra was born on 18 July 1982 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (present-day Jharkhand), to Ashok and Madhu Chopra, both physicians in the Indian Army. Her father was a Punjabi Hindu from Ambala. Her mother Madhu Chopra from Jharkhand, is the eldest daughter of Dr. Manohar Kishan Akhouri, a former Congress veteran and Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri (née Mary John), a former member of Bihar Legislative Assembly. Her late maternal grandmother, Mrs. Akhouri was a Jacobite Syrian Christian originally named Mary John, belonging to the Kavalappara family of Kumarakom, Kottayam district, Kerala. Chopra has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior. Bollywood actresses Parineeti Chopra, Meera Chopra and Mannara Chopra are cousins.
Due to her parents’ professions as military physicians, the family was posted in 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 Ladakh. 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.
At 13, Chopra moved to the United States to study, living with her aunt, and attending schools in Newton, Massachusetts, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a stop in Queens, New York, as her aunt’s family also moved frequently. While in Massachusetts, she participated in several theatre productions, and studied Western classical music, and choral singing. During her teenage years in the United States, Chopra sometimes faced racial issues and was bullied for being Indian by an African-American classmate. She has said, “I was a gawky kid, had low self-esteem, came from a modest middle-class background, had white marks on my legs. But I was damn hard working. Today, my legs sell 12 brands.” After three years, Chopra returned to India, finishing the senior year of her high-school education at the Army Public School in Bareilly.
During this period, she won the local May Queen beauty pageant, after which she was pursued by admirers; her family equipped their home with bars for her protection. Her mother entered her in the Femina Miss India contest of 2000; she finished second, winning the Femina Miss India World title. Chopra next won the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania at the Millennium Dome in London on 30 November 2000. Chopra was the fifth Indian contestant to win Miss World, and the fourth to do so within seven years. She had enrolled in college, but left after winning the Miss World pageant. Chopra said that the Miss India and Miss World titles brought her recognition, and she began receiving offers for film roles.
Chopra and Jonas at a Holi celebration party in Mumbai in 2020
Chopra has maintained a strong relationship with her family, including her younger brother, Siddharth, and lives in an apartment on the same floor as her family. She was especially close to her father, who died in June 2013; in 2012, she got a tattoo reading “Daddy’s lil girl” in his handwriting. Having not come from a film background, she describes herself as a self-made woman. Her mother, a well-established gynaecologist in Bareilly, gave up her practice to support Chopra as she embarked upon a film career.
A practicing Hindu, Chopra performs a puja every morning at a small shrine consisting of various murtis of Hindu deities in her home, which she even travels with. Although she is known for her media-friendly attitude, Chopra is publicly reticent about her personal life. Chopra started dating American singer and actor, Nick Jonas in May 2018. Jonas proposed to her on 19 July 2018, a day after her birthday in Crete, Greece. Chopra and Jonas got engaged in August 2018 in a Punjabi Roka ceremony in Mumbai. In December 2018, the couple married at Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur in traditional Hindu and Christian ceremonies. Following the marriage, Chopra legally changed her last name to “Chopra Jonas”.
In May/June 2020, Chopra faced intense backlash after she posted a message on Instagram concerning skin color and the murder of George Floyd. Critics accused her of hypocrisy because of her previous work advertising skin-lightening products, which perpetuate colorism. In the past Chopra has expressed regret for promoting such products, but she has not responded to the current wave of criticism.