Priyanka Chopra Jonas was born 18 July 1982 and is an Indian actress, singer, film producer, and the winner of the Miss World 2000 pageant.
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. In 2006, Chopra established herself as a leading actress of Indian cinema with starring roles in the top-grossing productions Krrish and Don, and she later reprised her role in their sequels. Following a brief setback, her career was revived in 2008 for playing a troubled model in the drama Fashion, 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, becoming the first South Asian to headline an American network drama series. Chopra has since played supporting roles in the Hollywood comedies Baywatch (2017) and Isn’t It Romantic (2019).
As a philanthropist, Chopra 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. She promotes social causes such as environment, health and education, and women’s rights, and is vocal about gender equality and feminism. As a recording artist, she has released three singles. She is also the founder of the production company Purple Pebble Pictures, which released the acclaimed Marathi film Ventilator (2016). Despite maintaining privacy, Chopra’s off-screen life is the subject of substantial media coverage. She is married to the American singer and actor Nick Jonas.
She was born 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, from Jharkhand, is the eldest daughter of Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri, a former member of Bihar Legislative Assembly, and Dr. Manohar Kishan Akhouri, a former Congress veteran. Her late maternal grandmother was a practicing Jacobite Syrian Christian originally named Mary John, belonging to the Kavalappara family of Kumarakom, Kottayam district, Kerala before her marriage. Chopra has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior and actresses Parineeti Chopra, Meera Chopra and Mannara Chopra 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 that they were all army kids there. They weren’t living in houses, they were in bunkers. She now considers Bareilly her home town, and maintains strong connections there.
At the age of thirteen, 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, choral singing and Kathak dance. During her teenage years in the United States, Chopra sometimes faced racial issues and was bullied for being Indian by an African-American classmate.
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, leading her family to equip their home with bars for her protection. Her mother then entered her in the Femina Miss India contest of 2000; she finished second, winning the Femina Miss India World title. Chopra then went on to 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 in 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 then began receiving offers for film roles.
Chopra will next star in two films for Netflix: an adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s satirical novel The White Tiger and Robert Rodriguez’s superhero film We Can Be Heroes. Chopra has also committed to star alongside Mindy Kaling in a comedy about an Indian-American wedding, and will portray the lawyer Vanita Gupta in Gordan’s courtroom drama Tulia, an adaptation of a non-fiction book Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption (2005) based on the 1999 racial injustice case that took place in the city of the same name. She is also producing over a dozen regional films in various languages under her production company, and is developing a sitcom for ABC based on the life of Madhuri Dixit, for which she will serve as an executive producer.
She returned to Hindi cinema later in 2019 with Shonali Bose’s biographical drama The Sky Is Pink, in which she played mother to Aisha Chaudhary, a teenager suffering from a terminal illness. She also produced the project, and connected with the story for its blend of humour and tragedy.
Chopra supports various causes through her foundation “The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education”, which works towards providing support to unprivileged children across the country in the areas of Education and Health. She donates ten percent of her earnings to fund the foundation’s operations, and pays for educational and medical expenses for seventy children in India, fifty among whom are girls. She often speaks out on women’s issues: against female infanticide and foeticide, and in support of education for girls. A believer in feminism, Chopra has always been vocal about women’s rights, gender equality, and gender pay inequality. In 2006, a “day with Chopra” was auctioned on eBay; the proceeds were donated to an NGO, Nanhi Kali, which helps educate girls in India. She has made appearances in support of other charities, such as the 2005 HELP! Telethon Concert to raise funds for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
She has worked with UNICEF since 2006, recording public-service announcements and participating in media panel discussions promoting children’s rights and the education of girls, and also participated in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. She was appointed as the national UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights on 10 August 2010. In 2009, she shot a documentary for the organisation Alert India to increase understanding of leprosy. She modelled for designer Manish Malhotra and Shaina NC’s charity fashion show to raise funds for the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) NGO. In 2010 Chopra was one of several celebrities who created promotional messages for Pearls Wave Trust, which campaigns against violence and abuse of women and girls. Chopra also launched the “Save the Girl Child” campaign, which aims to change the attitudes of Indians towards girls. In 2012 Chopra spoke at the launch of Awakening Youth, an anti-addiction programme.
Chopra is a supporter of environmental charities and is brand ambassador for NDTV Greenathon, an initiative to support eco-friendliness and provide solar power to rural villages without electricity supplies. She appeared with children in an animated video to support the cause, and removed rubbish from the banks of the Yamuna river in Agra to increase awareness of environmental issues. During the third and fourth editions of Greenathon, she adopted up to seven villages to provide with a regular supply of electricity. She adopted a tigress in 2011 and a lioness in 2012 at the Birsa biological park, paying for both animals upkeep for a year. To promote organ donation, Chopra pledged to donate her own organs after death and was co-keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Bollywood-themed 20th-anniversary celebration of its liver-transplant programme in 2012.
She donated ₹5 million (US$72,000) to Nanavati hospital to build a cancer ward. The ward, which is named after her late father, was inaugurated by her in 2013. The same year, she provided voice-over in English and Hindi for the documentary film Girl Rising for the organisation of the same name. She was invited as one of the speakers alongside Gordon Brown, Steve Wozniak, Bill Clinton, and Charlie Baker for the 50th anniversary of the World Leaders Conference at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston. She spoke about women empowerment through education, discussing inequality and the challenges of education for women, and received a standing ovation for her speech. Chopra also lent her voice to a music video of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. The video featuring her along with other singers, including Katy Perry, and The Black Eyed Peas was created as part of a global campaign by UNICEF to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi selected Chopra as one of his nine nominees called “Navratna” in 2014 for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a national cleanliness campaign by the Government of India. She lent her support to the campaign by cleaning and rehabilitating a garbage-laden neighbourhood in Mumbai, and urged people to maintain the cleanliness. In 2015, she voiced People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA’s) life-size robotic elephant named “Ellie”, who visited schools across the United States and Europe to educate kids about elephants and captivity, and to urge people to boycott circuses. Chopra was appointed as the global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 2016. In 2017, she received the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice for her contribution towards social causes.
Chopra began writing an opinion column, “The Priyanka Chopra Column”, for the Hindustan Times in 2009. She wrote a total of fifty columns for the newspaper. In March 2009, she met several readers who had submitted feedback on her weekly column.
She continued to write sporadically for newspapers. In August 2012 she wrote a column published in The Times of India titled “No woman in Mumbai feels safe any longer”, discussing the murder of 25-year-old Pallavi Purkayastha, whom she met while working on Don. In the article, Chopra expressed her views about the safety of women in cities. In a July 2014 article published in The Guardian, Chopra criticised female genital mutilation and child marriage. Later that year, 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. In an article published in January 2015, she expressed her views on diversity and being a global citizen.
In June 2018, it was announced that Chopra will publish her memoir titled Unfinished, which is scheduled to be released in 2019 by Penguin Books in India, Ballantine Books in the United States and Michael Joseph in the United Kingdom.
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 and Nick Jonas became 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.