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My guest today is Priyanka Chopra Jonas – arguably one of the most famous people on the planet. She’s a household name in India, a country fast approaching a population of 1.5 billion and not only has she climbed to the submits of the Indian film industry, she is now doing the same in Hollywood. She became Miss World, all the way back in 2000 and since then has developed a bit of a reputation for continually breaking through glass ceilings. She has become the first South Asian lead on a major US TV network show and she’s also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Her resume is long and varied – not only is she an actor, she is also a singer, an entrepreneur, a producer, an activist and now, she is also an author.
During the downtime afforded to her because of the global pandemic and travel restrictions, she decided to write her very first book, Unfinished: A Memoir. I spoke to her right in the middle of her launching this book in four different time zones and despite the exhausting schedule, she remained resolutely upbeat.
Priyanka and I really connected during this conversation and we went deep into many different areas. We talk about where her drive and positivity comes from, how she defines success and the powerful effect her childhood has had on the choices she makes and the way she interacts with the world.
From a young age, Priyanka was taught to walk her own path and that her opinions were valid and important – something she encourages all parents to foster in their own children. She was also taught that finding the good in any situation takes away the power of the bad. This came into question when, like myself, Priyanka suffered the loss of her father in 2013. We talk through how that grief manifested in her and how she managed to emerge from that deep pain. She found that making small changes – tiny shifts to her usual pattern or environment – were key to rediscovering her true self. I think this is a really powerful perspective that we can all apply into our own lives.
We talk about our shared Indian heritage and our own experiences growing up, especially in relation to the clash that we both felt between Eastern and Western cultures. For Priyanka, it was only when she started working in the entertainment industry and realised the lack of representation that she understood why she’d always felt ‘different’. It became her aim to push boundaries and ‘make the table larger’ for the next generation.
Success, says Priyanka, is not about career or fame or money. It’s about waking up excited for the day ahead and going to bed with contentment in your heart. I think this a powerful conversation and the life lessons that Priyanka shares are relevant to us all.
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