I've been following Chopra's career from her very first Bollywood hit (Andaaz) 15 years ago when she was only 21 years old. I was also there when she first made the jump over to the States – as a pop singer, with "Exotic," her 2013 song featuring Pitbull. While American viewers began noticing this "budding" actress who was kicking ass on a new show called Quantico, I was in awe of Chopra's juggling act of shooting the ABC show and taking regular marathon flights to film and promote her movies in India. She has managed to do it it all while attracting new audiences and still appeasing her OG fans.
Three seasons of Quantico was the perfect amount of time to give Chopra, 35, the American name-recognition she needed. Let's be honest: it was always just a stepping stone to bigger things, anyway. It's also a blessing in disguise, because the show's cancellation now opens up her schedule dramatically. Shooting 22 hour-long episodes is a full time job, and left Chopra barely any time to fulfill her duties as a Bollywood superstar and tend to her burgeoning Hollywood career. The grueling schedule also limited the movie roles Chopra could audition for and accept. Last summer's Baywatch and the upcoming A Kid Like Jake and Isn't It Romantic shot in the summer or during Quantico breaks. All those scheduling shackles are off now.
In making the jump, Chopra would be following the steps of other A-listers who got their start in celebrated TV shows and went on to become Hollywood powerhouses. George Clooney (a TV vet with earlier stints on Facts of Life and Roseanne) starred in 13 movies and won an Oscar in the five years after he left ER in 2000. Jennifer Aniston starred in 12 movies in the same amount of time post-Friends. Mila Kunis snagged Forgetting Sarah Marshall two years after That '70s Show wrapped in 2006, catapulting her to a new level of fame that brought with it roles in Black Swan and Friends With Benefits. Life after a TV show can be sweet if you're free to jump on the opportunity when it presents itself.
Chopra has an added advantage over other wannabe superstars: globally, she has already amassed formidable acclaim and recognition. With over three dozen Bollywood titles and tons of awards to her name, this global star doesn't need fame for fame's sake. She already has a cosmetics contract with Pantene and she's a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Chopra is already a brand in the same vein as Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez.
Chopra is also a drama-free celebrity, making her a bankable and attractive name to get behind for global brands. With two decades of experience, she knows how to hold her own and handle the press. I imagine she can chew a tabloid reporter and spit them out at breakfast.
I honestly believed her when she told Refinery29 she doesn't want to be known for her (stunning) looks, but for "the fact that I’m an achiever. Not even an actor. I don’t want a label. I don’t want a box. I want a legacy.” There's no doubt she's already halfway there.
Quantico is dead. Long live Priyanka Chopra.
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