Hard Work + The Evolution of Self with Priyanka Chopra Jonas
every What's up? It's Chase. Welcome to another episode of show. Super excited to welcome our guest here in just a second. Priyanka Chopra. Jonas. Okay, this woman is a force of nature. Ah, multi award winning actress producer, one of the most recognized personalities in the world. And speaking of world, former Miss World. She made her debut in 2000 and two and has appeared in more than 60 films. 60 films produced in India and United States In 2015, she made history as the first Indian born actor to lead an American TV network when she started the ABC drama Quantico. She's also got a cool new, uh, Netflix show out right now called White Tiger, and she's got a new book that we're excited to talk about in this episode called Unfinished. This is an amazing episode. I can't wait for you to check it out. So please join me for Priyanka Chopra. Jonas in the house. Let's go. Yeah! No, Priyanka. Thank you so much for joining us. Welcome to the show, James. Thank you for having me very excited t...
o be here. Well, it's appropriate to start off with congratulations because you have a lot of stuff happening right now, and I'm guessing this is standard for you, but, um, there is a lot of ground for us to cover. But before we dio, I like to ask the question of someone who is as well known as you are worldwide. Uh, so much of your life is described in the media by other people by reporters and journalists and the films that you're in and the all of the activities that you pursue. But I would love to hear it from you. Describe your early childhood. Take us on a short journey from early childhood to now in your own words. Good Lord. It took me almost 300 pages and a whole memoir. Be able todo early life. You want a synopsis? Yeah, I got you. You know, my early life was was born in India and the daughter of two military parents. So every two years, you know, my dad would move around in India along, um and at when I was in third grade, I was simply a boarding school because I had never rat and and then came back a couple of years later and decided that I wanted to go to high school in America. My mom's sister and cousins were. My cousins were living there and I lived. My high school years were spent in the US in Queens, New York, in Indianapolis and Iowa in, uh, in Newton, Massachusetts. I moved around here is well, and then I went back to India when I was 17 years old by Fluke chanced upon a beauty pageant where I won Miss India pageant, I was sent into this world. Imagine that one that as well. And the next direct transition was supposed to be in the movies. Bollywood movies, which was normal for beauty queens at the time. I started doing Bollywood movies and decided 10 years ago I wanted to try pop music. Decided to do that, came to America drop a few singles, was signed to Interscope Records. Um, then I decided out vivid and start try acting in America. Meanwhile, I also decided to produce movies. I started doing that in India while pursuing acting in a completely new country, um, at 35 saying, All right, I want to try something totally new. Let's be mainstream and be brown in Hollywood not easy to Dio. You know what? A couple of years later, this is where you found me, where I'm finally doing the work that I set out to do and and I'm talking about it. Well, you said enough things for 10 lifetimes in there, and and the the level you've ascended to in any one of those careers would be worthy of not just a memoir, but, uh, several documentaries. And I think there's something embedded in in changing so many things and exploring so maney things. Is that a curiosity? Is that a passion for achievement? Is that a desire to be seen to make art is where does that come from in you? Because you've at, you know, the right young age you are. Now you're already more prolific than 99.999% of your peers. What? What drives that in you? I think a deep seated desire. The world. Um you know, ever since I was a young girl, I moved around so much, but I saw the benefit and seeing change as a sense of adventure, of being curious off being a student off, not being afraid of what change could bring because even if it could bring failure Oh my gosh, one of Bring success so fun, because it's yours, you know? So I have a deep seated ambition. I think of just constantly evolving and going to the next rung off. Whatever my success story is at that point. So let's see, it's there's people right now who are listening or watching this, and they are again. You know, the audience for the show is full of creators and entrepreneurs, and I know right now there are thousands of people who are listening to this, that air terrified to make even one transition to go from being, uh, you know, a document, not documentary filmmaker to, um, a new action or feature film maker. There's a person who was nervous to transition from a wedding photographer to, ah, director. There's an and, I'm wondering, has someone who moves so seamlessly between all these things. Give them some advice because there's a lot of fear. There's a lot of, um, angst. There's a lot of resistance to change. So give the folks who are listening and watching those folks like me and others who have tiptoed rather than jumped with both feet. Have you have I actually would love to talk about it because I think that way should talk a little bit more about change and evolution and instead of being defined by the safety meant, you know, and sometimes the safety net is great, you know? You know where next checks coming from. You know what the next job is? You know, you need that sometimes. But I think it really depends on how deeply ambitious you are and where you wanna go. So if your heart, I think, is in something which feels like a risk you're always gonna be sad, mond unless you take this. And unless you make the first step. And no one had saying that your career has to change its just about it in the first step, take one step in the direction of your dreams. Take another step in the direction of your dreams. You don't have to change your life overnight, even though sometimes that happens. And that's fun too. But taking one step into the direction of your dreams is so powerful. But slowly you realize that you're kind of running. And you didn't even know how you got there. It's survival, and we're all born with that. This idea of taking one step is powerful, and it seems like that is a muscle that you have developed. But I want to go back to something you said earlier on. You said, You know, and I left beauty and pageantry to start acting in movies or was it modeling or acting in movies? And you said, because that was, you know, typical or something. I remember your exact phrasing and and yet so you It seems like at first you did what was expected, even though you stumbled into, as you said, the being Miss India and Miss World, not something most people trip into, Um, but so is it true that you were doing the expected thing? And then there was there some sort of sense of awakening or ownership that made you realize that this is my one precious life? Was there a new gear that you hit? How did you go from doing what was expected to the unexpected? Absolutely. That's a good question. Actually. What I mean by stumbling upon this into there, um was we used to watch the pageant every year when it came on. I was like, Oh, I didn't think Pageant and his family, we watch it. So my brother was 10 years old at that time, sort of had it in his head, but this pageant was coming up. I had taken these mall shots, you know, these really soft focus hand on your face, small shots. And I had moved back from the States and occupied his room. He was kicked out of his room at 10 years old, so in his 10 year old mind, he told my mom to apply for the missing the Imagine so that he could get his room back and I would move to mumble. Yeah, and that's how she sent my pictures in. And the reason why I did it was because I had just come back to India after attending high school in the US And unfortunately, American high schools don't prepare you for the level of education everywhere else in the world. So I was failing in every subject. I was like I could not even get a C at that point. Onda, that was really hard for me, So I was looking for an excuse to skip my exams, The universe collided. I decided I'm very competitive. So once you told me into a competition, I'm gonna run like I land on my feet. That's just the nature. If you play a board game with me, I'm you know, Road Runner. It's terrible. Don't play board games or charades. I want a monopoly with you The next time we're together, I won't s e But I think after tripping into that most, uh, pageant winners in India that time got into Bollywood movie, it was just the thing that happened. The debut of the new Miss India E started getting movie offers at that time, and my parents and I talked about it. My dad said, You know, you're 18 years old and take a chance, and if you fail at it, do it for a year and a half two years If you feel that if you've always got school to go back to the pressure of the enormous enormity of the decision was taken off of me by my parents and it was expected, I went in there, hated it in the beginning because I was like, who sits around for hours to say lines for like five minutes and then you sit around for hours again and then you say lines five minutes. It seems so counterproductive. Thio on its That's the sausage being made right. It's That's not pretty. It really wasn't. And most people don't understand that. Like, I didn't because I didn't come from the film business. I was like, Oh, it's all glitz and glamour and would be really pretty And it wasn't It was hard work and it took hours and I worked weekends and after doing my first two movies, when I saw it all put together on 70 for the first time. And I saw people laughing when I made a joke for people crying When I provoked an emotion and I looked around the theater, I never forget the first time I felt that and I looked around the field and I was like, Oh my gosh, what I did all those hours of endless waiting for this five minutes has created a piece of art that moves someone. What a powerful feeling. And I remember that's when I fell in love. I was like, This is how I want to express myself. Seems like an early. That that's supportive moment from your family was really helpful. And I'm wondering if you could talk about that and surrounding yourself with people that are supportive and willing to embrace your big, hairy, audacious goals and your dreams. And so I'd like to hear from you about that and then, if you could at the end of that little answer shift and give some advice to some folks, because there are people who have big, crazy dreams, and they're currently not spending time with the people that are supporting those dreams. So first your world, and then some advice for others if I didn't have or if I hadn't heard, my parents are giving credence to my intelligence, my opinions, my being. I don't think I would have no, not to be an adult who does that essence. I really give a lot of better to my Onda levelheadedness that my parents had even push their dreams upon. They didn't laugh at my audiences thoughts. They gave me that they gave me credit for who I waas. In fact, they encouraged it. They encouraged my individuality so and I hope to be that kind of fair and someday And you know, I always tried to talk about it so much because because I really think that is so important that parents started investing in their Children's individuality. And, you know, I still use their reigns. And what do you want to do? What are your feelings and listen to them? It makes them very comfortable to dance. And I feel like it's very important. Even if you have a few people, it doesn't have to be the whole world. If you haven't seen people in your phone having dream of status we can or that make your dreams of reality as crazy as a community. I think that is a great, um, impetus to take the first step. And all you have to do is never, never looked at the long game. It's like, Okay, let me take one step today and then I did another step tomorrow, then just one more and slowly. You see like you're halfway out and you didn't realize it. It's important to have someone point just right. Surround yourself with support. Yeah, it is so important that the aspect of community, whether it's a huge community or as you said just a a support group that or even one person, or like a friend or just anymore. You can talk to you about what you truly what your pursuit is what you're, you know, passionate for you. Is that your parents, or were there other people that you were close with that were also supportive? Different people along the way. This is something I also speak about in the book. But I truly believe in that. You know, all of us really have an individual. Gin were born along within a value. Everyone else that comes in and out of our lives, for however long or short regulations were supposed to be. We can't dictate that we can't change that. People are born, people will die. People wake up people way, and it's so important. Toe. Have a really relationship with yourself and your with your other ships on bond. Know that, you know, there'll be different people along the way, and a different mentors, different friends, some, my team, some people who've been in it. Something happened. My parents, always my friends who are very tight knit circle, my inner circles really tired of the same people for many, many years I think that also gives me a lot of sense of feeling solid on my feet. What about when you run into a blocker? People around you who aren't supportive or had there been things that stood in your way that you felt like you had to overcome or chapters of your life that you had to turn your back on? Um, I'm just wondering, um, for the folks at home I don't want them to. And this is why the book and we'll get to the book in just a second. It's absolutely incredible. First of all, the book is called unfinished, and if you're listening or watching right now, it's an absolute must. I've got the digital version open, and I've gets got highlights and little mark ups. It's not pretty, so I won't share it, but I've got so many marks all over it. Congratulations. But in there you talk about about you know, the people who are supporting you. And I just don't want the world to think that, uh, you know, to compare your highlight reel, which is epic already even at a young age to their real life. They just got a parking ticket they are stuck in traffic. They they forgot to turn on the dryer and they got their their closer wet. And it's time to go work. So there's all kinds of, you know. They're trying to compare theirselves themselves, and this is very not uncommon in our culture. So talk to me for a second about some struggles that you had going through all these transitions, multicultural, changing careers, seemingly at a whim. Was there anything that was hard? It was so hard, you know, it's just I'm like a duck. I'm paddling furiously underneath the surface of the water, But I'm helping himself. E tried to look like I'm gliding. Um, it's just it's called Grace under fire, I guess. I don't know. I Maybe that's a pageant thing, that kind of vibe. But I think you know, when you are a woman in a tough business, you kind of have to create a tough exterior. And we've seen many, many women have to do that. And I had to as well doesn't mean I'm not vulnerable. Doesn't mean it wasn't hard. I have the same issues, you know, um, that everybody else has and, you know, running late and trying to figure out multiple things and, you know, feeling hungry when I'm not supposed to are not getting enough sleep. And just because I want O stars like, you know, I have to work at the speed of, you know, trying to achieve those stars. There's no free lunch in the world I'm recognizing and remembering. Its priority is important, so it's not seamless. It's messy, it's K off, it's hard and it z you know it's grinding and you kind of have a dust yourself off and just keep getting up because it's easy to sit down comfortably on a couch and within with the seduction of wallowing themselves pretty, you know, which is very easy to do. And I've done it multiple times. But I love having, you know, pizza is what gives me a lot of peace when I'm wallowing in self pity. But the other times when I need to get up and run, I access my inner fire. I access my read to succeed. I access my ambition. Do you want to be better every single day at my job and believe behind the legacy and think the long game? Only when I need Thio when I don't need to. I wear my pajamas and a pizza like everyone else. Uh, so a clear thread through the book is this, um this multiculturalism, multi multiculturalism and this multi disciplinary artist that you are, there's you toggle between activism and producing films. And it's to say that you you have entered so Maney genre already is. You know, that would be beating a dead horse because I've already asked you three times about that. I just can't believe now a book. So how was this? How was this process, you know, creatively different or more challenging? Or did it feel like it was? You know, again, I love that we're all hyphens weaken. You know, we're all five different things at the same time now, which, um, it's what this community does and lives and breathes. So there's obvious connection there, but just continuing to move into now, writing what was new or hard or different about writing your story, it's terrifying. First of all, like you know, this community is gonna know when you pivot into something completely new. Especially like you know, what you're becoming a director from a writer or your you know, from an actor becoming a producer or whatever that pivot might be, which is so seamless in our industry, you know, way have to sort of navigate within the same waters because I feel like eventually when it comes down to it, creativity can manifest into anything. So to me, being an actor or producer or now an author on entrepreneur comes from the same place of wanting to be creative. And, um, these are all just different, um, technically different things off the same thing, basically. So it's like writing an episode on TV. You know, you have to think about what Siri's art would be. What, each episode the same. You know, where is writing a feature is about thinking of the three acts, and what is the first act of what What's the story even come in two hours. So the same way I feel like the technique of writing a book is so hard when you do it for the first time. And there were times where I was just like, Why did I start this thing? This is a monstrous beast. How will I ever finished so maney ages and then I would get a message one third of the way through one third of the way through and just like, Oh, my God. What have I don't like? And then you have your publisher texting using Can I get some more pages? And I'm like, I don't know, it was terrifying. And you go back to pizza, right? Oh, my God. So many times I've just shut the laptop and I'm just like, I'm gonna do it tomorrow. And then I it only to have a global pandemic for me to actually sit down and finish it. So the story is incredible. And, you know, now we've also we've traced your career across a handful of different, um, industries and in each of them, in your own way, you've broken through. You shattered a ceiling in the United States, having made history as the first Indian born actor to lead an American network TV. Siri's when you started Quantico. Um, the work that you've done in India is, you know, obviously renowned and that that population, that universe, they you stand for so much to them. How How are you making a habit of breaking through all these ceilings? You've got a helmet on. What What's I mean? It seems like Is that a motivating factor? Like I need to blaze new ground in each of these things? Or is that a does that come from hurt part of you, a past where I need to prove myself to myself for my family or my peers? Or is it is it, um, positive ambition of setting new goals and especially setting ah, high mark for women of color? You've done so much already. Where does that come from? And how have you? Is it a decision? I guess, is the real question. Are you deciding that you're going to break new ground in all of these different areas? I do think it's a homing signal for me, but I don't think it always Waas. I think when I started off working against Christmas, I just kind of hit a lot of walls, you know, walls. But I didn't have when I was being raised walls where I was made Thio as a woman, I feel like I was dispensable or, you know, interchangeable. I didn't I wanted to lead movies. I wanted to be the poster on face on the poster, but it was usually the guys, you know, like it was stuff like that. I bumped against a lot of walls, and I think I just got tired of it. And, you know, I knew that I was fearless enough to pivot and try something new. I knew that I was had confidence enough to, you know, go into uncharted territory and then not just dip my feet going and try and swim because I've done it as a kid. Many times, You know, different things, Andi. I just was ready Thio jumping, but definitely came from getting so many walls and bumping against glass ceilings. When I have this energy and ambition inside of me which wants to play the long game just like everyone else, you know, I wanna have a legacy just like everyone else. I wanna leave behind something. I want to contribute to the world apart. I want to contribute to the, um, culture. And I had that inside of me, and I just kept bumping. So I was like, You know what? I'm gonna be a roadrunner like, Let's go. Let's just go. Thanks. Do you think that that is? You know, in the book you refer to sort of being a cultural mash up. Is there something about Is it the the the caste system in India and Anam Bishan in the United States? Is it just the opposite? Your parents have insane ambition for you, uh, in your Indian family and America like, how does this cultural mash up? How have you made it work? Because there's it seems like there's an alternate parallel universe where the combination of those things could just shut you down or they could be your assets. E don't know if it should be daunting. I think it zord of having a superpower, that you have so much more knowledge of two different box of the world and conceived both of them for the goodness that they both have and become the best version of both. Like I really am an amalgamation off the East and the West. And I've taken the best from both and, you know, I'm an individual, and the way I see it is being blessed with having experienced two different cultures completely and being so global is that it's made me so much more of an individual that can appreciate different parts of the world that I love. Cross pollination. I love trying different things from different parts of the world, educating myself, asking questions, being furious about culture because no culture doesn't look like one thing. Culture looks like many, many, many things, depending on where you are. And I'm a fan of it. Dual continent, 20 year long career as an actor, as a producer, as a musician. And now as why, I presume, will be a best selling author because your book drops this week and everyone who is listening will support this. That is one thing that this community does is it comes to support the authors and the people that creators like you're like yourself obviously achieved an insane amount in an already, um, established career. But you're clearly using that in a way that is powerful beyond this industry. So as a departure for us here, help us understand the way that you think the role that you have in in both cultures creates this platform for you to do work beyond just film and, um, other areas of interest in I'm speaking specifically of activism. That's one thing that's so impressive you, you've you've that is yet another thing that you brought to bear in a way that few others have at a. And I can see so much more of that in your future, just with what I know about you through reading the books and watching some films, and where is your activism going to take you? I think that it's the social responsibility of every individual you know and privilege again doesn't depend on your bank balance. Privilege is if you have a roof over your head if you have the ability to feed your kids. You know something as simple like that is privileged, and I come from a very nonhuman background in small town India. And but philanthropy was something that was normal in my family, was not something you were patted on your back for and said, Oh my God and something girl, you share your balls with someone. It was expected because some of very young things, I was told it doesn't matter how badly off you are or what you don't have. Someone else was less the movie, and you know when when you grew up with that salt activism of standing for something or trying Thio, push the needle on, you know, creating change, whether that's in the form of opportunity, whether that's in my career as a producer, whether that is, you know, lending my platform that I have received two causes that probably need attention. I'm a conduit, and I really think I think that part of me very seriously. I think, um, you know, having a social conscience does not require an empty wallet doesn't require you to change your lifestyle. It just requires empathy and compassion, and e think everyone really needs to think about that. All right, so I've got one last question, and before I get to that question, I want to again say Thank you for writing this book. It's incredible. And again it's out. This week it's called Unfinished one word on the title. Where did the title come from? Just 11 quick bit there. But the idea of it came on 73 questions for Vogue. They asked me, what would my fictitious memoir B. And I just said I'm finished because I just feel like there's so much I want to do. In a way, I'm a fictitious, fictitious memoir that you are fictitious. Memoir E wasn't. That was 2017 when I did that. And I started working on a memoir after I haven't even thought of writing now. Okay, now you know the behind the scenes folks. You heard it here first, but the last question is around. Intuition. Well, I've had so many amazing people who had the good fortune of having so many amazing folks yourself, others who have achieved great things. And it seems to me that intuition has played a role in everyone's success. And since we're time here, I'm curious. If you could talk a little bit about that. What role? How did you know when to shift from, um, pageantry to film or from India to the U. S. Or how to go back to India after being spending time here in high school? What was you talked about? It just so, like it was so obvious to you earlier in our conversation. What role does it play and what would you and specifically cause? There's people out there who are not trusting. There's. And I think if you can share how you trust yours, it might inspire some folks. I think it's that thing you call. Got feeling you know where you're curious about something, and it's terrifying to do it for the first time. But the only thing that we can control is the quality of work we do. We cannot control the outcome and being in a profession which is literally dependent on whether movies as well or not, which is based on people's opinions in two minutes after them. What two years of work and I'm like, Oh, it's surely you're always great in my two minutes literally. My job is based on that. We can't based how much work we're putting in onto an outcome. You have to just, you know, let go off trying to control everything. We just have to recognized the opportunity, see what you're required to do today and do it at 110% and not let fear bogging down and then end up at like seven. You know, the idea is to always seek excellence, and if you are excellent every day, it's impossible for, you know, do not to be able to have excellence in whatever your chosen trajectory it in perfect fashion. It is. It is, but in perfect fashion. Your answer. You've talked about cultural mash up. Your answer is the epitome of a cultural mash up so much of East and West and what you just said. So thank you so much for being on this show. We're over the moon toe, have you? And I'll just give a plug, if I may again to your book. Unfinished. Um, my wife is dying to get her hands on your new hair care products. Um, they just came out. I think this week it's unisex. So I would love for you and your wife. Try. This is one of those I got. I got my covert hair under this hat. It could use some conditioning. E on. Also just a shadow on the film White Tiger, which is on Netflix here in the United States. Um, fascinating film and, um, getting such great reviews. So congratulations on that. And again, I'm encouraged folks to check you out on all of those different things that you've got going on now, which is completely crazy. Um, in the best way. So thank you for inspiring so many, um, putting your platform toe work with all the activism. And is there anything else you wanna any place you'd like to steer people besides those areas. The book, the film I just mentioned anything else. If give them some coordinates on the Internet or any other asks of our community, just you know, that's the only thing I'll say, Thank you for the support for Small and thank you for giving my book a chance. Um, it's a terrifying thing for first time writer, but I would just say, you know, as a community, my only asked with me That's also be very nice to each other and ourselves in our I think there's a lot of pressure in our profession and in our community, and there's a lot of pressure since 2020 and out there. I think people really need to take a second to be kinder to each other right now. It's a tough time for everyone. That would be my aspect with extend a bit of grace. Well, we'll take you up on that. This community is heartfelt and earnest, and, um, your messages received. So thank you so much for being on this show. Good luck. Yeah, likewise. Thank you so much. We'll have you back again soon on your next big thing, which is probably in, like, two weeks knowing you again. Just thanks for being a friend of the show. And good luck with your continued. I mean, this book is going to be huge. Congratulations. Thank you. From your mouth to God's scales. Alright, Signing off. Everybody hope to see you again. If not in the next five minutes, then at least tomorrow signing off. Mhm.