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(12/13/17): Pictures: Priyanka Chopra on Quantico Set (December 13) Priyanka was seen on the Quantico set today. I upl.....
(12/7/17): Pictures: Priyanka Chopra on Quantico Set (December 6) Priyanka was seen arriving on Quantico set today. .....
(12/4/17): Scans: Priyanka Chopra on Hello! India Magazine Priyanka is the cover girl for this months Hello! .....

The American dream means different things to different people: equality, opportunity, freedom. But for a teenage Priyanka Chopra, it meant not having to wear a school uniform.

“That was the main reason I wanted to come here,” the actress (who was born in Jharkhand, India) tells Alexa, only half-jokingly. Her mother, Madhu, and father, Ashok — both doctors in the Indian army — agreed to send her to live with relatives in the US when she was 13. She hopped between Iowa, Massachusetts and Flushing, Queens, where her grades at Robert F. Kennedy High School were always impeccable.

But Chopra, who stars in the ABC series “Quantico,” also took advantage of the time away from her conservative parents to advance her non-academic interests.

“My locker was filled with shoes and clothes and makeup,” she recalls. “I didn’t need books so much because I was a smart kid. So I would leave for school wearing loose shirts, and change [into something more risqué] when I got to school. I used to turn into a little hottie!”

As Chopra, 34, breezes from elegant dress to elegant dress for our Alexa photo shoot in Chelsea, it’s clear she’s grown from high-school “hottie” to modern-day style icon, headlining Bollywood spectaculars and Hollywood red carpets.

Indeed, all that early fashion practice proved prescient. When she returned to India after high school, her mother secretly entered her in the Miss India World pageant in 2000 — without asking her. But the 18-year-old novice managed to beat the veteran contestants, winning the crown and going on to snag the entire Miss World title later that year.

That double win launched Chopra’s stellar Bollywood career, where she starred in dozens of films, earning critical praise as well as commercial success. Among her most prominent works was 2015’s epic romance “Bajirao Mastani,” which took in around $53 million, making it one of the most lucrative Bollywood movies of all time.

But it’s with the spy thriller “Quantico” (which is syndicated in more than 200 countries and territories) that her name has finally become a global brand. The show spotlights a group of FBI trainees with Chopra at the center, playing the wily and dynamic Alex Parrish. It’s one of the first mainstream American TV characters to be portrayed by an Indian-born actor, and Chopra was careful to insist that her character be depicted without offensive stereotypes.

“I still come across the conception of Bollywood films as full of singing, dancing jokers, and that we break out into random music sequences,” she says, laughing. “I even get people asking me how I speak such good English. I might do a mental eye-roll, but instead of getting angry, I take a breath and try to educate whoever wants to learn about where I come from. I used to have a friend at school who changed his name from Varun to Warren because he said people couldn’t pronounce it. I remember telling him, ‘Teach them!’

Soon there will be many more opportunities to soak up her lessons. Season 2 of “Quantico” kicks off on Sept. 25; in December, Chopra will serve as a guest judge on “Project Runway,” alongside Heidi Klum, Zac Posen and Nina Garcia.

“It was so hard for me to do the elimination part,” Chopra admits. “I really felt for these contestants. I’m a guest judge, so thankfully I don’t have to be mean! I’ve been through contests that have involved elimination. I won both [Miss India and Miss World], but the pressure and stress was so much that I still have some kind of PTSD from it. I’m not sure I could ever do it again.”

Chopra has also wrapped filming on next year’s “Baywatch” movie, in which she plays villain Victoria Leeds — a part originally intended for a male actor. “I think people in America thought of that show as cheesy, but I watched it all the time with my mom in India,” she recalls. “It was massive there. In my head, I still run in slow-motion like they do!”

These days, she splits her time between New York and India, where her mother and younger brother, a nightlife impresario, still live. Family is clearly important to Chopra: One of the few times her fizzing personality begins to crack is when she talks about her late father. “He was my biggest champion and my mentor,” she says. Chopra wears her love for Ashok on her sleeve — quite literally. The prominent tattoo on her right hand reads “Daddy’s lil girl.”

In 2005 he was diagnosed with cancer, and despite eight years of treatment, he passed away in 2013. Even now, Chopra frequently refers to him in the present tense. After correcting herself, her tone changes noticeably. “I kept asking myself, ‘What more could I have done — what did I miss? Could I have found a different treatment?’ It was the time in my life that I felt failure the most.

The idea that Chopra’s father is missing out on seeing his daughter achieve success all over the world is something that clearly saddens her. “It was never a plan of mine to go to a whole new country at the age of 33, and start a new career,” she adds. “Maybe he’s orchestrating it from somewhere. I’d like to believe that.”

It takes just a short while in her company to understand why much of the world is suddenly so enamored of Chopra. Her confidence is palpable, her voice and stride purposeful. But she has a playful side, too. She shifts seamlessly from thoughtfully answering questions to enthusiastically rapping along to the ’90s hip-hop blasting on set at the photo shoot. “That’s all I listened to when I was a kid,” she says. “I love Biggie, but I had a big crush on Tupac as a teenager. I thought he was a modern-day poet the voice of our generation.”

It’s not necessarily a surprise to witness her aptitude for music. In 2011, she signed a record deal with Interscope. But after a minor club hit with the Pitbull collaboration “Exotic” in 2013, her album ended up getting shelved, partly because of her other numerous projects. “Sometimes I still put it on when I’m drinking wine with my friends,” she says. “I’d love to do music again, but just don’t have the time to really focus on it — and you need that.

At the photo studio, she changes outfits with the cool efficiency of a quick-change artist. It’s an approach that reflects her overall fashion philosophy. “I like brands like Brandon Maxwell and Alexander Wang. They’re chic within themselves, they’re edgy, and they’re not a huge effort. I don’t like effort within my clothes. Most of the time, I’m a jeans-and-snazzy-heels kind of girl. It’s a quick tip for working girls who don’t have the time.”

If there’s a downside to being such a busy and successful star, it’s the heightened scrutiny on her personal life — something Chopra has always refused to discuss. “In India, they don’t directly ask you who you’re dating,” she explains. “But in America they’ll just say, ‘Who’s your boyfriend?’ ”

As any A-lister will tell you, keeping secrets in the age of cellphones and social media is nearly impossible — but Chopra has an answer for that, too. “In Season 2 of ‘Quantico,’ Alex is working for the CIA . . . so I know how to hide!”


Quantico season 1 DVD is in stores now. You can buy it at your local video store or Amazon. I uploaded the bonus features including cast interviews, deleted scenes and bloopers. There are more features on the DVD 🙂

It’s a Sunday afternoon on the Upper East Side and “Quantico” actress Priyanka Chopra is busy getting ready at her apartment for Joseph Altuzarra’s Spring 2017 runway show. Justin Bieber tracks are pumping from the speakers, and she’s surrouned on all sides by her glam squad, who are putting the finishing touches on her perfectly unfussy ponytail and adding a touch of color to her lips. Her best friend is sitting on the couch next to her, there’s a team busy cooking in the kitchen, and the rest of her team is at her side. She seems like a natural, but despite her many years in the spotlight, this is the actress and former model-slash-pageant girl’s first-ever New York Fashion Week.

“For people who are watching, and not spending their entire year waiting for this one day [like the designers], it’s great fun,” said the stunning Indian actress, who attended the Thakoon show a few days earlier. “You get to sit there with a bellini and watch amazing people wear amazing clothes and say, Oh, I want that one and that one! I love it!”

For the Altuzarra show, Chopra was wearing an unfussy, fitted pink knit dress by the designer. “I have come to the conclusion over the years that less is more, so my bad fashion and beauty moments over the years was when more was more,” she said, sans bellini. “It’s Sunday afternoon, so I want the look to be a little easy, effortless and not too much. That’s why a dress like this is perfect: you just put it on with a great pair of shoes and you are done,” she said.

Before she headed out to the show, talked about how she transitioned from pageant girl to Hollywood starlet, her love of Pokemon, stealing books from the hotel library (don’t worry, she paid for it later), and more.

Do you like this long hair and beauty process you have to go through regularly before events and red carpets?
I hate it! I am huffing and puffing through it all day. You are pricked and prodded—ugh!

When it’s you on a normal day, how long does it take to get ready?
10 minutes. I finish my shower, put on lipstick, mascara, and the easiest outfit (which is probably some sort of onesie), my hair is up or it falls into place. I am so unlike this. I don’t like the whole production…and you are just sitting there with no control, so I usually read or something like this book [picks up a James Patterson book]—I stole it from the hotel library where I was staying at in Europe recently. No, I paid for it, after I stole it and after I was on the plane so they couldn’t yell at me. I was already on the plane so they couldn’t get it back…

What else do you do while you sit there getting your hair and makeup done? Go through lines?
Read, or I am usually catching Pokemons. In our studio we don’t have a Poke stop so it’s a real problem. Very inconvenient! So, then I read books or read through lines.

That’s amazing. Do you have a lot in this area near your house?
Yes, this house is specifically chosen because it has a Poke stop. I am not joking—look! I am hoping I also catch some at Altuzarra. I am on level 20 and hoping to catch more soon. When I was in Europe, I caught some really European Pokemons, it was great.

I have never played, but that sounds fun…
Me and Thakoon, that’s how we got on! That’s what we bonded on is Pokemon. No joke. I thought I wouldn’t get into it either but it’s just so fun. When we were shooting episode three and the assistant directors were just randomly walking around. I was living at The Pierre before I moved into my house and outside the hotel, there were thousands of people standing like zombies and I found out they were playing Pokemon. I just wanted to understand what it was, honestly.

Did you play it the other night at the Thakoon show?
Afterwards, for sure.

What’s this amazing lip color you have on right now?
I have this thing about mixing colors. We usually use like three or four and find the right shade and create dimension on the lip, so some dark and some light, and blended really well.
You were a self-proclaimed tomboy as a young girl, now you’re sitting here with multiple people doing your hair and makeup and you look so glamorous. Being in the business that I’m in, I have to know what looks best on me. I am on camera all the time. I’m a smart girl and I know what works for me. I didn’t know that before but as soon as I got thrown into being an actress I had to learn.

When you were first trying to learn how to do your hair and makeup, were you looking at a certain magazine or person for help and inspiration?
No, I was just looking at myself and I could see what worked and what didn’t honestly. These outfits work or this hair works or whatever—I did the addition and subtraction for me. Your style has to be defined by you, it can’t be defined by models you see in magazines or runway shows. Eventually the outfit will make you who you are. It has to be about what it looks like you. Instead of focusing on wanting to be someone else, we have to be the best versions of us. I always wanted to grow up and be Priyanka.

Looking back on your beauty and fashion looks, were there any standout bad ones that you wish never happened?
Ugh, I had a few! More than a few, I must say. It’s usually when I went with more, instead of less. I have come to the conclusion over the years that less is more, so my bad fashion and beauty moments over the years was when more was more.

Was that during your beauty pageant days?
No, that’s when I was 17. I didn’t do anything to myself, it was always hair and makeup people who did stuff to me. Whenever I was not onstage or on camera and training with the girls, I wouldn’t have any makeup on. Maybe just mascara. I was literally out of high school, junior year. But after, when I just started working, I had this vision of what an actress should be like or needed to be like.

What was that vision, exactly? Was it inspired by a certain actress you idolized?
From the eyes of an 18 year old, it was always about the stereotype of what a famous person or a star would be like. An excess of everything. I was thrown into this so haphazardly, I was just running. I didn’t even have time to think about it or prep for it. I was just winging it…

Along the way, have you picked up some great hair and makeup tips?
A lot of things, usually from my hair and makeup team and designers because I don’t know shit about fashion. I really just we wear what I like and that’s that. I like the finer things in life and I like to spoil myself when it comes to good things. But along the way, I have learned that when you are really tired and getting off a plane after a 25-hour flight, where you have paparazzi waiting to take your picture, you wear red lipstick (even if its daytime) and big sunglasses. Undo your hair, do a hair flip or two, and there you go.

Any favorite drugstore beauty products?
Yes! Boots in London has a Vitamin E under eye cram that’s like four or five pounds and it’s amazing. It is so good for dark circles and puffiness. I am a drugstore kind of girl, I love Boots, Duane Reade, CVS, all of it. When I go in, I come out with so much I have to ship it back. No joke.

Let’s talk fashion week. When was your first-ever fashion show?
Right after I became Miss India, I modeled for five or six months and it’s the most terrifying thing on the planet. I am really clumsy. I perform on stage and have sold out Madison Square [Garden], but there is still something about the stillness of walking on the ramp in these clothes and still looking great. It scared the crap out of me and I realized that I couldn’t do that so I stopped. I have walked and modeled for a lot of my friends but I prefer watching. [Laughs]

So, you really like your role in today’s Altuzarra show as a guest in the front-row?
Yes! I am good at sitting and watching a fun show and meeting great people. I went to the Thakoon show earlier this week and that’s it other than this because I am in production for my show every single day.

How did you become familiar with Joseph Altuzarra and his clothes?
I just like his work very much. I just love the clothes! They are effortless. Joseph had invited me to go to the CFDA Awards with him but I couldn’t because I was shooting Baywatch. It’s my first Altuzarra show and first time at New York Fashion Week!

What’s your impression of New York Fashion Week?
Fashion week is fashion week everywhere. It’s insane and backstage is even more insane. For people who are watching, and not spending their entire year waiting for this one day (like the designers), it’s great fun. You get to sit there with a bellini and watch amazing people wear amazing clothes and say, “Oh, I want that one and that one!”


Episode 2.02 – Lipstick
New CIA recruits run counter-surveillance exercises at The Farm; in the future, Ryan and Raina try to thwart the terrorists’ plan to blend in with hostages

We know season 1 characters are coming back on Quantico, but how will the FBI even be involved in the Quantico story now that Alex is with the CIA? — Bridget
Knowing that Shelby, Miranda, and the twins are back isn’t enough for you? Just kidding — and no worries: Showrunner Josh Safran says there’s a deeper connection between the agencies that justifies the presence of those returning characters, though he’s careful not to say exactly what brings the FBI into play for this CIA-centric season. “By the first commercial break,” he says, “the link is made explicitly clear.” Besides, Priyanka Chopra adds that Alex’s headspace also moves the first season’s story forward into season 2, despite the change of setting. “She’s lost friends, she’s lost family and her sense of self,” she says. “She’s coming into this job with everything that has happened.” In other words, it’s impossible for Alex to simply leave all of her Quantico experiences behind.


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