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When the call came asking acclaimed Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, 33, to star as an FBI recruit in ABC’s Quantico, she couldn’t resist.

“I’m a big American TV fan,” she says. “I watch Narcos, Fargo, Mr. Robot… Plus, Quantico is such a cool show, and my character is such an independent woman—it’s great to be able to play a role like that.”

Despite having never worked in television before, Chopra—who has more than 50 Bollywood films to her credit—is certainly familiar with the pace. She makes up to four movies a year, shooting in India as well as faraway locations like Australia and the U.K. And that’s on top of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and occasional newspaper columnist. “I don’t really believe in taking vacations,” she jokes.

She’s not kidding. In addition to wrapping Season 1 of Quantico—which has become a huge hit for the network—she’s signed on for a major part in the upcoming Baywatch film, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. Luckily, she doesn’t foresee any problems wearing one of the franchise’s trademark red bikinis.

“In India, you can wear anything and be sexy,” she says. “A sari or a swimsuit will work as long as it’s mysterious.”

Men’s Fitness caught up with Chopra between takes of Quantico to get the latest on her sense of individuality, what it means to be sexy, and how she brings her Indian background to American primetime.

Your character on Quantico certainly stands out among American broadcast dramas. What’s that like for you?
It’s a very relevant show because it embraces diversity in a huge way, and, at the same time, feminism. I play an Indian-American girl. The Yasmin character is a Hijabi FBI agent. The characters are very progressive—that’s the best form of television. It’s not the kind of show that is ‘Art’ but it doesn’t take television for granted.

I’m an artist. I speak Indian and English, and so art is never restricted by borders or language. As long as you’re an artist you can conform to being anyone. I’m an Indian woman but I’m playing an American woman. If something interesting comes along, of course I’ll do it. I’m looking at doing two films this year.

You’re a veteran of film. What has the jump to TV been like for you?
Features are a little more languid, whereas TV is like a factory. It’s crazy hours. Beside that, that the chaos of film making is the same everywhere. It’s all the same everywhere.

You must be extraordinarily busy.
Let’s just say I’m in the process of figuring out a bunch of things right now, whether Indian movies or American. Because of the extension of Quantico, my scheduling is a nightmare.

Acting is what I do most and what I’ve known more than half of my life. But I’m a creative person and creativity can never be boxed. Besides acting, I’m producing films in India. I just produced a mobile web series in India. I write blogs. I try and express myself in the best ways I can.

Your Quantico character is serious, but also exudes a sense of sexuality. What does that mean for you? How do you achieve that as an actress?
Sexy is what sexy does. Sexy doesn’t have anything to do with how many clothes you wear or how you walk. Sexy is about confidence and style. Which inherently anyone can teach themselves, It’s walking with a sense of yourself. And that turns heads in a room. I’m a very individual person. I’ve never followed a particular style in the past. I’m just comfortable being me.

I do come from the land of kama sutra. In India, the idea of sexy is more about how you feel. That’s what I was taught living in India. And that applies to the movies we do as well. There’s always an appreciation of the female form. It’s something every culture has of its own. It’s understated but at the same time it’s extremely seductive.


WARNING: The following contains spoilers from season 1 of Quantico. Read at your own risk!

After a season on the run and in the dark, FBI agent Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) will finally get answers — and some sooner than expected. “You’ll know everything,” executive producer Joshua Safran promises. “Before the finale, you’ll learn who [attacked New York], and in the finale, you’ll learn why and how.”

As Sunday’s episode revealed, Drew (Lenny Platt) is behind the Voice, manipulating Alex and Shelby (Johanna Braddy) into planting incriminating evidence into Ryan’s (Jake McLaughlin) laptop and driving away the nuclear bomb built by Will (Jay Armstrong Johnson). So with that, viewers now know who was behind the attacks — but that doesn’t mean the twists are over.

“One of the things you might not know until the finale is how many,” Safran teases. “Some people might be excited at just [answering] who, but we are excited about how and why. The show has been about, what makes someone a terrorist? What makes someone want to protect their country? What makes someone an American? That’s what we saved for the finale.”

To fill in those blanks, the drama’s season capper will bring back familiar faces, like academy burnout Elias (Rick Cosnett), and will include an epilogue with two time jumps that wrap up the story. “I’m not a fan of cliffhangers,” Safran explains. “We’re not leaving anyone’s life in the balance.”

Case in point: With two episodes left, Safran explains that “the last true Quantico episode” — in which we see the NATs train in the Academy during the present timeline — will happen in episode 21, with episode 22, the season finale, showing their graduation. Stories will wrap up there, while in New York, “it’s a non-stop [ride], the end of the rollercoaster,” he says. “It’s the last drops.”

Those last drops will also look ahead to season 2 through the introduction of a critical new character in the final minute and work up to a second season that will maintain the two-timeline structure, but connect them using a central catastrophe. “There will be a crisis that is ongoing that needs to be solved, that characters will find themselves in the midst of, but unlike season 1 — when Alex didn’t know while she was at Quantico that someone might be a terrorist — season 2 will be more integrated,” Safran says. “The present-day timeline will be all about how we believe this crisis is going to happen, and you’ll see it happening in the future.”

The remaining episodes of Quantico season 1 air Sundays on ABC at 10 p.m. ET, with the season finale airing May 15.


Will Smith, Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev and Kendall Jenner were all there at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, but Priyanka Chopra still managed to hold her own on the red carpet at one of Washington DC’s biggest and most glamorous galas in a sexy black Zuhair Murad gown with ruffles, sheer panels and a deep decolletage. “When in Rome do as the Romans do. I am an Indian in America so I decided to go with the attire of the people here and I’m glad that the gown has been appreciated and has made it to the best dressed lists,” the actress exults from across seven seas.

Just a few weeks ago, PeeCee had made another style statement with a sunshine yellow hand-woven sari when accepting the Padma Shri. She admits that she is really fond of the sari and was happy to wear one when receiving the coveted national honour back home. “For me the biggest excitement was being at the Rashtrapati Bhavan with President Pranab Mukherjee and at the White House with President Barack Obama in the same month,” she points out.

While she is not willing to talk about her interactions with the Hollywood A-listers, she is happy to discuss the charming Obama and his funny and entertaining speech. What did they talk about? “He spoke about his visit to India and our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to America. He was very warm and gracious and it felt really nice to be recognised as an Indian actress,” she admits.

Priyanka also had a few words with First Lady Michelle Obama. “She has been doing some work on the girl’s education programme and so am I. We had a conversation about it on Saturday. Hopefully something will come out of it,” she reveals, but firmly dismisses the question of campaigning for the upcoming US elections. “I am apolitical and while I have opinions, I am not an American citizen with voting rights so I don’t see a role for myself in the country’s politics.”

Do people there know that she is Padma Shri Priyanka Chopra now? Pointing out that different countries have different cultures and Americans have to be appraised of what’s important to Indians and vice versa, she laughs, “But I am really proud of the honour and keep talking about it all the time.” Does this means that she will agree to be India’s brand ambassador? The actress argues that while her team has been spoken to there has been no official intimation on this so there is no point speculating about something which is still hypothetical.

“I’m a proud Indian and I would be happy to represent my country, anywhere, anytime. I’ve been doing it since I was 17,” points out the former Miss World who recently made it to the Time magazine cover as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Her TV series, Quantico, has made her a household name in the West, followed by the Baywatch movie in which she plays the antagonist. Quiz her on the latter and she reminds you that she has played negative characters in a few Hindi films in the past, including Aitraaz. “People were expecting me to play the heroine in my first Hollywood film but I don’t like being conventional.

It’s fun taking on all the six lifeguards, the entire Baywatch team,” she chuckles. So will we see her in the famous red swimsuit? “Since I am not one of the lifeguards I won’t be wearing the red swimsuit. Wether I wear one or not is something you will have to wait and watch,” she says enigmatically.

With all the offers coming her way in the West, will she get further distanced from India? Priyanka reasons that she has been successfully balancing her career in the US and India for the last few years without having to choose between one and the other and will continue to do so. “Hindi films are in my blood and my soul, I can never be distanced from them,” she avers.

There’s been talk of her playing Amrita Pritam in the Sahir biopic being produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and a directorial with Sanjay himself. She admits that he’s her favourite filmmaker. “If he comes to me with something there’s no question of saying no. Over the last one year I have been filming Bajirao Mastani, Gangaajal and now Baywatch along with Quantico. It’s been difficult.

I have been flying down to India for a day and back. After all the hard work and long hours I need a family vacation. I will be flying back next month and will be home for a month-and-a-half before I return n July for the second season of Quantico. That’s when I will decide what films to take on. One thing however is clear, after Quantico I won’t be doing another TV show,” she rings off.


Wondering what Priyanka Chopra discussed with US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Sunday? Well, the Bollywood star who is busy filming her Hollywood debut Baywatch has spilled the beans.

The 33-year-old actress, who found global recognition with her character Alex Parrish in the American TV series Quantico, shared a photograph of herself along with the two. “Lovely to meet the very funny and charming Barack Obama and the beautiful Michelle Obama,” Priyanka captioned the photograph.

The US President looked dapper in a black suit and crisp white shirt which he teamed with a black bow tie, while Michelle looked lovely in an embellished beige gown. “Thank you for a lovely evening. Cannot wait to start working on your girls education program,” Priyanka added.

The education programme that Priyanka alluded to is Michelle’s initiative and is called ‘Let Girls Learn’. It aims to empower 62 million girls worldwide, who at present do not go to school, so that they can get their education. The US President is also a passionate supporter of the cause.

Launched in 2015, it funds community girls’ education projects like girls’ leadership camps and school bathrooms; educating girls in conflict zones; and address poverty, HIV, and other issues that keep girls out of school.

The 2016 White House Correspondents’ dinner, which was President Obama’s last in office, was hosted by comedian Larry Wilmore. The annual fund-raising gathering of White House correspondents and their guests was also attended by the likes of Hollywood stars Kerry Washington, Emma Watson, Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett, Michelle Dockery and Kendall Jenner.


It will be the celebration of Indian cinema in Spain when Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Sonakshi Sinha will perform at the 17th Edition of The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) in June.

To be held in Madrid, capital of Spain, the four-day cinematic celebration will start on June 23. Bollywood stars Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor will host the gala night.

Farhan, who was here to announce the 17th edition of the film festival along with actor Anil Kapoor, can’t wait to share the stage with Shahid.

“We had a wonderful time. There is a certain ease and chemistry which we have with each other and I look forward to it,” he told IANS.

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#Blessed. Priyanka Chopra claims she doesn’t have to diet or exercise to maintain her svelte frame.

PHOTOS: Diet Secrets of the Stars
The Quantico star — who is appearing in the Baywatch remake with Zac Efron, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kelly Rohrbach — told Us Weekly at the Time 100 Gala in New York City on Tuesday, April 26, that she hasn’t joined her costars in the gym because, well, she doesn’t have to.

“I’m actually not a big fan of working out,” the 33-year-old said. “I have genetically blessed Indian genes where I don’t need to train, but Kelly Rorhbach has been trying to convince me to train with her, and every morning when she tries to get me to go with her, I’m just like, ‘Oh, can I just get a half an hour more sleep?’ Or I say my tummy’s hurting and make excuses. But they train like beasts! I just try and hide out with my burger.”

The meat-loving actress added that she doesn’t diet either. “It’s bad. I know,” she told Us.

While Johnson and Efron break a sweat between takes, Chopra has found other ways to bond with her costars on Tybee Island, GA.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Chopra said. “We are doing a big cast dinner tomorrow. … [And] in between shots we are hanging out on the beach.”


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 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.”


From one influential woman to another! Priyanka Chopramight be one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential honorees this year, but as it turns out she is easily taken by another powerful individual: Kate Middleton.

“I love Kate Middleton,” the Quantico star told HELLO! on Tuesday at the TIME 100 Gala in New York City. “I think she is so great and she’s so graceful.”

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge recently visited the TV star’s native India, where they mingled with well-known Bollywood names at a glittering reception. However, sadly for Priyanka, she missed out on her invitation to meet the royal couple because of work.

At the time, “I was shooting my show in Montréal at that time and Baywatch in Miami,” the 33-year-old admitted, though she is hopeful for a royal encounter in the future. Priyanka said, “I’m sure there will be an opportunity where my path will cross with them.”

While she was unable to hang out with William and Kate, the Baywatch star has been in good company with her hunky co-stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and newly-singleZac Efron while filming the upcoming movie. “The boys are amazing,” she confessed. ”They’re just super funny. I’m having such a great time with them. They’ve become such nice friends.”

Not only have the leading men’s looks made an impression on Priyanka, but she has also taken note of their eating habits. “I’m just surprised that they look the way they do and they eat the way they do, you know?” she revealed. “I never thought that could happen, but they’re eaters. They love their food.”


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