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Now that Vin Diesel has come and gone and swept the city off its feet, the question everyone is now asking (Varun Dhawan more than anyone else, I’m thinking): Will Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson come to Mumbai to promote the Baywatch movie? Will Priyanka Chopra get her co-star to come to India? Will there be a premiere here? Will The Rock’s schedule be as hectic as that of Vin’s? Will he be in the city for 24 hours only, or will he find time to travel? Well, the answers to all those questions is: no one knows at the moment. And if they do, they are holding the cards very close to their chest. PC, who was in the city recently, shared a few secrets with us. She has a plan in place for all her co-stars. Read on to find out about what it is…

Are Dwayne and Zac going to come to India to promote Baywatch with you?
We are hoping so because we are doing a big promotional thing around the world and they know how important India is to me. We are having those conversations, but we haven’t started because it is not going to release until May. So, marketing will only start a few months before that. But the wheels are in motion.

Of all your Baywatch stars, who does the best beach run — Dwayne or Zac?
Between the two boys… I can’t say. They both do it so differently. Look at them. They are the epitomy of different. Anyway when I got there, I told them, ‘Guys this is what I do for a living. Slow motion running and walking is my job. So watch out.’

If you could host your co-stars in India, what would you want them to experience?
I would bring all of them here. I speak so much about India and they all are so curious about coming here. A couple of my friends are coming next year and I am sorting out their trip because I am our ambassador…

So just Mumbai?
No, not just Mumbai. I always tell them India is an experience and you have to be there at least a month. So everywhere from North to down south, because with every state, everything changes. The language, colours, clothes…. So they are very curious and most of them want to come down, but mostly they want to come when I am here.

Is there is one thing that you would want them to experience that should be on their itinerary, what would that be?
I want them to experience the spirit of it, it is not about food and location. There are more incredible things about India and what makes tourists come back over and over again is the spirit of our country. They need to experience that. They need to meet people, and see how we function, there is such a beautiful rhythmic method to our madness. There is music to our chaos.

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When she’s not demonstrating her acrobat-like fighting skills as Alex Parrish on ABC’s Quanitco, Priyanka Chopra is known to dazzle her fans with her thick, glossy mane. So it only made sense that the 34-year-old actress was tapped last week as the next Pantene ambassador, joining the ranks of fellow ambassadors Selena Gomez, Ronda Rousey, Gisele Bundchen and Eva Mendes.

In light of the big news, we caught up with the actress to chat about her impressive locks, her New Year’s resolutions and her brand new pup, Diana.

What was your reaction to being asked to be an ambassador?
I was very excited when I was asked to be the ambassador for Pantene because ever since I can remember, I think my hair has been a really important part of my personality. I remember whenever I had a bad hair day I would always question my sense of being. So my hair was always a big part of who I was and Pantene is a brand that I truly believe in.

Where do you stand on the hair washing debate? Do you wash every day?
Ideally, I would like to wash my hair every day. I love the feeling of my fingers through fresh hair. So I if I had the chance, I would wash it every day, but right now I do it every two days.

What’s the secret to Baywatch beach hair?
The secret to Baywatch-ready beach waves is to let your hair air dry first. That’s what I do — I don’t do too much to my hair unless my glam squad does it. I let it air dry and then I use mousse or any kind of product that keeps curls in place or gives it a bit of beachy texture. Laying out in the sun helps a lot too. That’s the easiest way for me to get beach waves.

Why is the “strong is beautiful” message important to you?
I think the “strong is beautiful” message is important because women around the world for eons have been told that we are not the epitome of strength, and that the strength of a woman is only her emotional power. I think that the strength of the woman in every possible aspect is something that has not really been tapped into as much in the world.

But the fact that Pantene is empowering women and making them feel like there’s nothing wrong with being strong, and that being strong and having a strong personality and strong opinions and strong thoughts — everything that strength stands for is the freedom that women should enjoy. As a proud feminist, I’m extremely excited that I’m associated with a brand which stands for that.

Any plans for New Year’s Eve?
My plan for New Year’s Eve is to hang out with my friends and family. I’m going to be in Goa, India because I have a home there. So I intend to be awake into the wee hours of the night.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2017?
I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I end up breaking them by the third of January. But this year I decided I’m going to get a lot healthier. I’ve always been dependent on my metabolism for my body and my weight, but I want to quit coffee, I want to sleep well, I want to be able to go to the gym. Those are my resolutions — I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to keep up with them but I’m going to try.

If you could have lunch with any other Pantene ambassador — Selena Gomez, Ronda Rousey, Gisele Bundchen, Eva Mendes etc. — who would it be and why?
I would love to have lunch with Selena Gomez because I think she’s come out of something which was so personal with so much strength and integrity that she absolutely stands for “stong is beautiful.” I love the fact that she said “if you are broken, that doesn’t mean you have to stay broken.” So I admire her a lot. She’s a young, feisty, incredible inspiration and I think it’d be really cool to hang out with her.

I’ve been Instagram stalking, and it looks like you just got a puppy?
I just adopted a puppy and her name is Diana because she’s a little princess. She’s a rescue from North Shore Rescue. I think she’s a Chihuahua-Terrier mix but we don’t know because she’s just about ten weeks right now. But it’s so nice to have a little puppy at home. Baby energy is always great.

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With hit US drama Quantico and the much anticipated Baywatch movie to her name, Priyanka Chopra has done what no other Bollywood actress has achieved – cracked Hollywood. And, she tells Charlotte Pearson Methven, she has been smashing stereotypes along the way

Bollywood A-lister, soon-to-be Baywatch babe, Oscars presenter and the star of one of television’s hottest new thrillers – Indian beauty Priyanka Chopra has had a pretty amazing 2016.
Oh, and she is one of the most influential Asian women on Twitter, with a cool 15.7 million followers. She graced the cover of Time magazine in May (fittingly, its ‘100 Most Influential People’ issue) and is a former Miss World – the springboard to the amazing things that are happening to her now – having won that honour back in 2000.

I have to be honest, I am expecting a bit of a diva as I wait to meet her in a London hotel, especially when she whooshes past me in an itsy-bitsy dress, hair swishing, entourage in tow.

We are here to talk about Quantico – the first season of which recently aired, to great acclaim, on Alibi, with the second to follow in March.

Priyanka, 34, plays complex and hard-as-nails FBI trainee Alex Parrish, who may possibly be a terrorist.

I am fully prepared for someone every bit as tricky off screen, but instead I am greeted as though I am an old friend. She doesn’t draw breath or hold her punches. First topic is the British rain. ‘It’s like a monsoon has arrived. Yesterday we drove through floods. I was in shock, like, “Whaaaaaat?”’

Rain aside, Priyanka loves the UK, particularly London, and even more particularly Harrods.

‘We are going tomorrow,’ she trills. ‘We’ refers to Priyanka, her mother Madhu, who often travels with her, and her assistant. ‘I am not a clothes girl,’ she insists. ‘I like techie toys. Other girls buy stilettos, I buy drones.

‘My other favourite shop is Hamleys, especially the floor with all the gadgets. My mum adores England. She believes that in a previous life she was the Queen’s cat and lived in Buckingham Palace,’ she says, roaring with laughter.

Priyanka’s younger brother, Siddharth, to whom she is very close, often accompanies her on her travels as well.

‘He’s 26, a baby still. He is moving to New York to study film production. I’ll be there a lot, so we can hold on to each other.’

Family is incredibly important to Priyanka, who lost her father Ashok to cancer three years ago.

‘Dad and I were like twins. We were so alike,’ she says, showing me a tattoo on her wrist that reads ‘Daddy’s lil girl’ in his handwriting. She credits her parents with moulding her into the life force she is today.

The role in Quantico marks the first time an Indian has played the lead in a mainstream US drama.

The show flashes back and forth between a group of FBI recruits training together at the Quantico base in Virginia and the aftermath of the worst terror attack in New York since 9/11, carried out by one of the cadets (a sleeper terrorist).

Priyanka’s portrayal of Alex has been critically acclaimed, and many have tipped her to be the first Indian woman to properly make the leap from Bollywood to Hollywood.

‘I never set out to “crack Hollywood”, but if it happens it will be an amazing thing for ending ethnic stereotyping,’ she says. ‘My parents always taught me to dream big and to chase those dreams. When they raised me they never differentiated between my brother and me or made me feel that there were any limitations on me as a female.

‘Both my parents were doctors and we were a very academic family…as most Indians are. That stereotype is true! I was so driven. I always had to come first in school. That same drive pushes me to do well in my work.’

The seeds of Priyanka’s success were sown when her mother surreptitiously sent some photos of her – she was still in high school and they had been taken to accompany her application for a scholarship programme – to the Miss India competition.

She was selected, won and was, thus, automatically entered for Miss World, which is, she insists, not predominantly about appearance.

‘I was never asked to walk in a swimsuit. The other girls were much more beautiful than me. The judges look for a woman of substance; it’s about character and what you stand for.’

She was crowned in the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Arena) in London – and then the calls started coming in for film roles.

‘I had never considered acting. As a child, I wanted to be a psychologist. Then for a while I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and work for Nasa. Ironically, I now spend my life flying – but not in the way I imagined!’

Priyanka juggles a full-on Bollywood career – she has appeared in more than 50 films and is one of the industry’s best-paid actors – with a burgeoning one in the US. She also has her own production company, Purple Pebble Pictures, and sings (she has recorded singles with Pharrell Williams and Will.i.am). This all involves a lot of time on aeroplanes.

‘I regularly fly to India for just one day over a weekend, to shoot a scene for a film there, and did so while filming both Baywatch and Quantico.

‘My body doesn’t even get jet-lagged any more, it’s so used to it.’

She is due to appear as the villainous Victoria Leeds – opposite Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Mitch Buchanan (the original David Hasselhoff role) and Zac Efron as young recruit Matt Brody – in the Baywatch movie, set for release in May.

Appearing in a film based around bikini-clad bodies did not feel at odds with her culture, she says.

‘Modern India is very different. And anyway, I play a bitch in couture – patronising and deliciously evil – so I spend most of the time covered up. I loved every minute of it and was a huge fan of the original Baywatch. In Quantico I have swimsuit scenes, though, and that hasn’t provoked any criticism.’

Playing against expectation is clearly important to Priyanka, who has refused to be typecast as ‘the Indian woman’, despite attempts by casting agents to put her in that box.

‘When they approached me about Quantico I was very clear that I wouldn’t play any character who relied on being pigeonholed as an Indian. I said to the producers, “There will be no big fat Bollywood wedding.” It was important to me that they agreed to – and respected – that before I took it on, and they have been wonderful. The role of Alex embraces my culture without belittling it.

‘Alex’s Indian-ness actually has nothing to do with her storyline. She may wear an Om bracelet and speak Hindi, but she is also brazen, bold and answers to no one.’

Alex – a troubled soul who killed her abusive father to protect her mother and ruffles a few feathers at Quantico – is, Priyanka says, nothing like her.

‘Alex trusts no one and is emotionally disconnected because of what she has been through. I trust absolutely everyone and am totally emotionally invested. She’s had the most dysfunctional family, and I have the most loving, functional one imaginable.’

The only less-than-idyllic period in Priyanka’s upbringing was when, at her own request, she went to live with an aunt in the US for four years.

‘I was obsessed with the fact that they didn’t have to wear a uniform to school there. I begged my parents to let me go, so they did. They always treated me like an adult and let me make my own decisions.’ The experience was both positive and negative. ‘Those were such formative years and spending that time there has made me a true amalgamation of East and West.’

But however warmly America has embraced Priyanka now, that was not the case back then. ‘I encountered a lot of racial prejudice. People could not understand me. They were confused by the fact that I was Indian, yet I spoke English. In fact, English is, with Hindi, my first language, because I went to a bilingual school in India. People expected me to speak and act like Apu from The Simpsons – their only reference for an Indian person.’

She eventually had enough and, aged 16, returned home to finish her education.

‘India is where my roots are and where I will always return,’ she says. ‘Mumbai is my home now, but I’ll go where my work takes me. If there was an amazing project in LA, I would be on the next plane. I am an artist, a nomad. I have homes in New York and Goa, too.’

Having previously gone out with Indian actors, she tells me she is currently single, but dreams of having lots of children.

‘I adore kids. Mum is one of five and Dad was one of six. I once said I wanted a cricket team, but don’t quote me on that!’

And does she see herself one day reining in her hectic schedule and settling in one place to raise her brood? ‘I don’t think I need to settle down to have babies – any more than a man needs to,’ she answers defiantly.

She is also not a fan of the casualness of dating.

‘Dating isn’t really a concept in India. I’ve never dated. I’ve always been in relationships. If you like someone, you court them.’

Priyanka has recently been linked to British actor Tom Hiddleston, Taylor Swift’s ex, after the two were spotted getting cosy at the Emmys in September. It remains to be seen if Tom is courting her.

The self-assurance with which Priyanka does things her way is no doubt a big factor in how she has beguiled ‘the industry’.

Even when presenting at the Oscars earlier this year (the award for best film editing, for which she wore a shimmering Zuhair Murad white dress), she refused to be intimidated by bigger names.

‘I was standing at the bar with Liev Schreiber [star of TV drama Ray Donovan] and he was like, “There’s blah blah and blah blah and they made this film and that film” and I was, like, “Who?” He said, “You don’t know?” and I was, like, “Listen, I’m not from here. Would you know everyone if you came to India?”

‘He then patiently spent some time educating me about who’s who in Hollywood.’

Another starry highlight of the past year for Priyanka was attending the White House Correspondents’ dinner in April. ‘Obama’s speech was so funny. He had me on the floor. He is so charismatic and such an amazing leader.’

If her career continues at the pace it is going, she will have many more such outings.

Already, since Quantico, she is experiencing a surge in recognition from adoring fans and travels around with security.

‘Recently, at the airport in LA, the immigration officer said to me, “I’m not stamping your passport until you tell me who the terrorist is in Quantico.” I was, like, “Don’t you know never to ask a brown girl who the terrorist is at an American airport?”’

She adds, ‘It was so sweet at Halloween this year in the US – there were lots of little girls dressed as Alex.’ Is there an Alex, or a Priyanka, doll yet? I ask. ‘No, but great idea! There should be!’

Priyanka is not arrogant, but there is an upfrontness about her that is refreshing. After all, life is too short for modesty. When I ask how she maintains her immaculate figure – that rare, winning combination of thin, toned and curvy – she says simply, ‘I am genetically blessed. I have crazy Indian genes. I am sure my time will come and I will explode like The Nutty Professor, but for now I am making the most of it. All I do is eat.’

And, as such, her childhood nickname is ‘Piggy Chops’. Does she go to the gym?

‘No.’ Pilates? ‘No.’ Running? ‘No. Never!’ Yoga? ‘Ha ha, no! I am the only Indian person who doesn’t do yoga!’

Priyanka takes her position as a role model for young girls seriously, and I think her authenticity makes her a good one.

She has been a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for eight years, is involved with Girl Up, ‘a UN thing for the rights of females around the world’, and has her own self-funded foundation, ‘helping about 70 kids with health and education’.

One of the most followed Asian females on Twitter, she was an early adopter of the social network – ‘I love technology and couldn’t resist’ – and is now determined to use it as a force for good. ‘I see it as my direct voice,’ she says.

‘Whatever I want to say, I say it.’ And I believe her. ‘That might be about my work, my new shoes or being in the rain in London. Perhaps it shows young girls that I’ve worked hard, had self-belief and smashed some stereotypes.’

Quantico will return to Alibi on 2 March at 9pm

Icons: I love strong-minded women such as Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.
On your iPod: Meghan Trainor, Adele, Michael Bublé, Maroon 5. I can’t get enough of pop.
Top TV: Grey’s Anatomy, Making a Murderer, Narcos and, when I need my murder fix, CSI and SVU.
Perfect lazy Sunday: Sitting on my bed in my pyjamas, something I rarely get to do.
Last meal on earth: It would definitely involve caviar. Whenever I fly through Heathrow I pick up some at Caviar House. I love to eat it on chips. A good pizza is hard to beat, too.
Favourite destinations: In India, Goa and Kerala. Otherwise, I love Thailand and its islands Phuket and Krabi. I recently shot a film in Barcelona and I was blown away by the city.

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Priyanka Chopra has been kicking butt in American thriller drama Quantico, and she’s now going to be taking down Dwayne Johnson in the upcoming Baywatch movie.

The Indian movie superstar will play villainous Victoria in the film, and she gave us a bit of a teaser for what to expect.

She told Digital Spy: “I’m the antagonist in that film, and she’s a bitch in very high heels! She’s a great character, it’s awesome and it’ll be so funny. I think it will be a major global summer blockbuster next year.

“First of all, Baywatch as a brand is such a popular show all over the world. I remember whenever that music used to play, it was like ‘all go to the television’. I think Baywatch inspired me as an Indian film actor. Literally, slow motion running is what I do for a living, and I’m so good at it now!”

Talking about working with co-stars including Johnson and Zac Efron, she added: “Everyone was so amazing with me. Especially as I was being so bitchy in the movie to both Dwayne and Zack!

“I’m so mean to them! It’s so funny to see these big action-style guys not know what to see and be flummoxed. So, Victoria is delectable.”

Priyanka also gave Quantico fans some little teasers for its upcoming second season. She said: “It’ll still be the back and forth, because that’s the signature of the show. But thank god I’m not on the run anymore, Alex really needed to catch a break! Just take a second!

“I’m inquisitive to see where it will go. From what I know there will be a lot that happens between Ryan and Alex and their relationship.

“She’s emotionally stunted as a character, shooting your father will do that to you, I guess. That’s what makes her interesting, she’s completely unapologetic about her decisions. Her vulnerability is only hers to see. She’s honestly my alter ego, I wish I could be more like that.”

Quantico returns to ABC on Sunday (September 25) at 9pm, and will follow on Alibi in the UK later this year. >Baywatch hits cinemas on May 19, 2017.

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“Victoria walks in slow motion all the time; she doesn’t run because it’s too much of an effort,” actress tells TheWrap

Priyanka Chopra goes head-to-head with Dwayne Johnson in the “Baywatch” movie, but the “Quantico” star says she does it in a “womanly way.”

Though she’s proven her mettle by doing her own stunts on ABC’s FBI drama, Chopra says that doesn’t mean she could actually fight with the enormous former pro wrestler. “He’d crush me with his pinky,” Chopra said in an interview with TheWrap.

“I put my highest heels on in all of those scenes, because I’m really patronizing, extremely insulting and evil and manipulative,” she said, before adding “And extremely delicious.”

Chopra will star in Paramount’s big-screen adaptation of the classic 1990s TV series when “Baywatch” hits theaters next year.

Originally written for a man, Chopra’s character is Victoria, the villainous real estate developer trying to destroy the bay beloved by the lifeguards played by Johnson and Zac Efron.

“Slow motion is my game. Slow motion is my thing,” Chopra said, recalling memories of watching “Baywatch” with her mother while growing up in India. “Victoria walks in slow motion all the time; she doesn’t run because it’s too much of an effort. She just walks in her couture and high heels.”

And the actress, who had a huge career as a model, singer and Bollywood actress before making a crossover to American audiences with “Quantico,” has plenty of experience getting things done in heels. Even when she plays the FBI trainee Alex Parrish on the ABC drama, “You don’t notice it because the attention doesn’t go there, but I’m always in heels,” she said.

“I think because I was Miss World, and I modeled for a little while, I have — I just like heels, actually,” Chopra said. “I think that’s the truth. I’m trying to find an excuse.”

“Who doesn’t want to be like five inches taller whenever they can be?” she added. “If boys could, they’d be wearing heels.”

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron are in the middle of filming Baywatch, showing lots of skin, and so they are both super ripped at the moment. “Dwayne and Zac both look like beasts right now,” co-star Priyanka Chopra told Cosmoplitan.com at the Time 100 Gala on Tuesday. “They both can, like, pop pennies on their abs right now. They really can,” she said.

“I have to wear extra-high heels so that I can look intimidating, because I’m the villain in the movie. Otherwise, you know, I’m so little and so tiny, and I have to look up to them, and it doesn’t work.”

Chopra says that everyone in the Baywatch cast is extra-ripped. “So I hide behind my towels and eat my burgers because everyone else is on salad, and I feel guilty,” she said. “Except Kelly Rohrbach, who eats pizza in secret.” She says that DiCaprio-ex Rohrbach is really funny. “I love her because we sit and eat pizza together — even though she looks ridiculously sick in that swimsuit.” (Eventually, the Quantico star admitted that she also looks pretty great in her swimsuit, despite the pizza and burgers.)

Chopra said being named as one of Time‘s 100 most influential people and being on the cover of the magazine blew her mind. “I’ve been in America just six months now, my show aired only in September, and it’s so great to have such an incredible reception in a country where I don’t hail from, you know? It feels amazing to just be acknowledged for my work, and nothing else.”

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