Priyanka Chopra—Bollywood and Hollywood star and former pageant queen—is now speaking up about her experiences with racist bullying in hopes of creating dialogue.
The former Miss World recently opened up regarding her experiences as a Person of Color (POC) in American high schools.
Originally from the state of Bihar in India, Chopra moved to the US at age 13, where she attended schools in Massachusetts, Iowa and New York. The main thing that all of these schools had in common was the way Chopra—as someone of Indian descent—was treated by her classmates.
"I was treated differently because I'm brown," Chopra said in an interview with Associated Press.
"I had, you know, really racist behavior when I was in high school in 10th grade. I was called 'Brownie,' 'Curry,' [told to] 'go back on the elephant you came on,' and that really affected me when I was a kid and affected my self-esteem."
Chopra believes that racism is a learned behavior. The "cultural subliminal messaging" in modern media is a main reason why people treat each other the way they do.
She is now speaking out, in hopes to foster communication and prevent this from happening in future generations.
"I do want to create a world for my future kids where they don't have to think about diversity, where they're not talking about it because it's normal."
However, the Quantico star is optimistic, and stated that she is already noticing many "positive signs around the world" that are indicating change.
"I really decided that I'm not going to feel like that anymore, I'm not going to allow anyone to feel like that anymore."
On May 8, 2019 she shared news of the #SKINCLUSION initiative on Twitter.
Chopra married Jonas Brothers band member Nick Jonas in 2018 in a series of lavish events in India.
The pair recently attended the 2019 Met Gala together.
They first walked the Met red carpet together in 2017 as guests of Ralph Lauren.
Chopra told People:
"The first time when we went together was sort of like… so awkward. We didn't know each other. We were vibing, we didn't know … 'This is all weird'."
Chopra—who also sings and produces—teams up next with Indian-American writer and actress Mindy Kaling for an as yet untitled comedy project. Chopra's wedding to Jonas is said to be the inspiration.
As the saying goes, success is the best revenge.
Chopra's school bullies can now see her shine.