New York – On the 10th anniversary of her Empowering Women World Summit, Tina Brown engaged Priyanka Chopra Jonas in a conversation at Lincoln Center in New York City. Priyanka Chopra – hailing from an Indian (doctors) army family, a star of 50 plus Bollywood films, and a producer in her own right – crossed over to Hollywood successfully and became Priyanka Chopra Jonas after getting married to Nick Jonas.
The subjects of this conversation were eclectic, starting from breaking into Hollywood to marrying Nick Jonas in a three-day wedding, and concluding with vision of future philanthropic efforts with Nick Jonas.
At the very onset, Brown wondered what was the unique factor that helped Priyanka break out in Hollywood and her views on type-casting. Priyanka answered in her defined style: “A lot of my actor friends aren’t interested in it (breaking into the US market), but the ones who are, there’s a little bit of a problem when it comes to casting South Asians in Hollywood. We are always stereotyped in the type of roles we should do … What I chose to do different, and it’s unfortunate that I had to make that choice, but when I came to America I decided to play ethnically ambiguous parts … It took me playing ethnically ambiguous parts to be mainstream in pop culture. I am Indian, I don’t need my parts to justify why I can be an actor … I will not be considered as a niche actor.”
On the blazing question of #MeToo and Bollywood, Priyanka said, “I don’t think it hit Bollywood the same way it hit Hollywood, but there was and there still is a period of time where women found the courage to speak up. They are incredible women that stood up and took on men in a very patriarchal country, and that takes an incredible amount of courage. I extremely applaud that, but there are so many more stories that get shushed and do get shut down because they are patriarchal.”
Priyanka spoke about her efforts to produce projects in rural India, saying, “It’s called regional cinema, and almost all of the Indian states have different written and spoken languages … India’s one of the most diverse countries in the world, and each localized state has its own culture, and each culture has its own storytellers … I wanted to be able to shed light on local storytellers and position them into having their own industry, which eventually leads to us having a greater entertainment industry.”
Priyanka married Nick Jonas in a much-talked about three day wedding with much pomp and show. Speaking of the wedding, Priyanka said, “Hopefully it will be the only one. I knew it was going to be three days because Indian weddings do have pre-rituals. Both of us wanted one wedding in each of our religions, so that was two days anyway. It all happened so fast. We decided to prep this wedding in October, and we got married the first of December … We saw videos, and then the bill. And we were like “cool cool, maybe we should have prepared this a little bit more.”
On her relationship with Nick Jonas, she was candid and said, “I’ve known him for two years. I didn’t think that this is what it turned out to be, and that maybe that’s my fault, I judged a book by its cover. When I actually started dating Nick he surprised me so much … I call him Old Man Jonas. Thats my name for him, OMJ.”
“He’s such an old soul, extremely smart, so good for me because he grounds me so much. I’m a wild child, I do whatever I want whenever I want and he always supports me,” she continued.
With the social dedication and community service in her makeup, she talked about future philanthropic efforts with Nick Jonas saying, “I think we want to be able to do it together as well. Nick has always been philanthropic, we come from families where philanthropy is not a choice – it’s just what you do, its second nature … We’ve discussed many things we want to do together, and we know we have the ability to.”
“It’s our favorite phrase, we want to change the world,” Priyanka declared with confidence.