Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ memoir is a swift, exciting and insightful read into the life of this global star. As you make your way through the book, you discover sides of her that you could have never known, stories that have been kept hidden despite her being a public figure.
1. She revealed that she did resent her parents for sending her to boarding school
2. The story of the soldier her father saved
A predominant chunk of Priyanka’s book is about her father, and rightfully so – the man who she looked up to her entire life, Lieutenant Colonel Dr Ashok Chopra was indeed remarkable. In a chapter, she revealed how he saved a life when he was posted in Leh. In a dangerous combat zone, a soldier was brought in for emergency treatment with a bullet in his head, barely alive. He said to her father, “Just tell my family that I was martyred for my country. That I did my job.” To which her father replied, “You’ll tell them yourself.” And he did.
Priyanka narrates this story with such conviction that it leaves you teary-eyed and gets across how Priyanka adored her biggest support system. “Two decades later, after my father died, the soldier came to his chautha to pay his respects. He had kept the bullet that Dad had removed all those years earlier,” she wrote.
3. When she got thrown out of MoMa for touching the Starry Night
4. When her middle school boyfriend broke her heart
Who would have guessed Priyanka went through a heartbreak as a teen? Her relationship with ‘Bob’ at 14 had been quite an eventful one she revealed. From hiding him in her closet so her Masi wouldn’t see him, to almost having their first kiss on the couch, Priyanka spoke about her time studying in Indianapolis, Indiana while living with her relatives, with fondness.
But alas, Bob was not the one, as he broke her heart when she moved away to Queens, “I was committed to making the relationship work. Bob and I still wrote letters and postcards to each other, and I continued to email him, too, but now from the computer in the school library. Until I discovered that he’d started dating my best friend not long after I’d left. So much for true love.”
5. She spoke about being bullied in Netwon, Massachusetts
While narrating a rather vulnerable story, Priyanka recalled the reason why she left her high school in Newton and moved back to India at 16. She was bullied, for being different, constantly harassed by a group of people who asked her to ‘go back to her country’.
Eventually, this started taking a toll on her and her self-confidence as she asked her parents to take her back home. “Well, the taunts and the graffiti and the physical aggression had done their jobs, and no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t maintain my sense of self-worth. I started to believe that I was somehow less than those around me,” she concluded.
6. She revealed that she had no idea that her brother and mother had signed her up for the Miss India pageant
Her brother, Sid, saw the Ad for the Miss India pageant in a Femina and decided that his sister must be a part of it. He and Priyanka’s mother, joined heads to fill out forms, and later Priyanka found out that it was merely planned by her brother because he wanted his room back. But alls well that ends well, they found pictures lying around and those pictures paved the way for Priyanka’s successful life ahead.
Interestingly, those pictures had been clicked by chance, when Priyanka was getting passport shots taken and the photographer suggested she take some model-style pictures as well. “And those additional photos were the ones that Sid had Mom send off to the Miss India contest not long afterward. Those shots still adorn the Suri Photo Studio walls in Bareilly,” Priyanka wrote.
7. She met her maid of honour because they both got duped by their landlord
Priyanka recalled how she met her maid of honour, they’d both been rented the same house by a landlord who wanted to make twice the money. They obviously weren’t informed someone else would be living there as well. However, this is how Priyanka met one of the most important people in her life.
“There was one bed, one closet, two shelves, a little dressing table, and a window. That’s it. But we made it work, and Tamanna and I became best friends. Eighteen years later, she would be the maid of honor at my wedding,” wrote Priyanka.
8. The iconic namaste pose that Priyanka sported after winning the crown was to save her strapless gown from falling!
“And it’s true, I was ecstatic and dazed—and I was also desperately trying to keep my strapless gown from sliding down my body! I pressed my hands together in a namaste and kept them close to my body as much of the time as I could in an effort to hold my gown up, and I hoped for the best. I now do a namaste at almost every red carpet—and you know the origin story.” Who would have guessed?
9. She recalled a traumatic incident when a director/producer harassed her in front of her manager
“One of the first meetings was with a very famous director/producer who not long ago was caught up in a sexual harassment accusation in India, a man known as much for the giant movies he made as for his notorious philandering. I didn’t know that when I walked into his office with my then-manager, of course,” she wrote.
10. She spoke about walking out of a film because the director’s behaviour made her uncomfortable
Priyanka spoke about leaving a movie because a seduction song in it made her uncomfortable. She knew that the song was a part of the film when she signed, however, she did not expect the reason behind it to be objectification. “Jo bhi ho, chaddiyan dikhni chahiyen. Nahi toh log picture kyon dekne aayenge?” Priyanka quoted the filmmaker saying.
She walked out of the set and the filmmaker came looking for her at another shoot, where she was saved by Salman Khan, her co-star at the time. He spoke to the filmmaker, calmed him down and reached a conclusion that Priyanka would return the money received and cover the cost of the shoot.
11. Priyanka spoke about regretting being a part of ‘fairness’ commercials
She called it the biggest misstep of her career, something she did not believe in but a choice she made because everyone else was. “Looking back, this was one of the biggest missteps of my career and is one of my most profound regrets. I can’t go back and change what I did, but I can apologize, and I do so sincerely. To all the people who saw the harmful messaging that I contributed to, to all the people who still have to see commercials like these in every medium—I am deeply sorry,” she wrote.
12. She unveiled that Hrithik Roshan is the reason her father got timely treatment when he fell sick
Priyanka expressed her gratitude towards her Krrish co-star, Hrithik who pulled strings to make sure her father could fly out of the country to get the treatment he needed, “If we hadn’t had people around us who were so kind and so willing to act on our behalf—Hrithik and his father, Rakesh Sir, who was the director of the film; our family in Boston—I doubt that my father would have made it. There’s no way I can ever express my gratitude adequately to them, but it is deep and it is enduring.”
13. The heartwarming story of how she found Diana Chopra Jonas
During an interview with Buzzfeed, Priyanka was asked to answer questions while playing with puppies. That’s where she spotted her Diana for the first time and it was love at first sight. “When Diana, as I soon named her, started chewing on my Burberry shoes in the interview, I immediately understood that she had excellent taste. And then at some point she started snuggling under my arm. I was smitten,” she wrote.
14. She sent a member of her security team to spy on Nick and her mother when they went out for lunch
When he visited India for the first time, Nick took the opportunity to spend some alone time with Priyanka’s mom. They both decided to get lunch together and Priyanka couldn’t let FOMO get the better of her, so she sent someone to spy on them!
“I sent a member of my security team out to take pictures of them at the restaurant they’d gone to—okay, to spy on them—so I could study their body language using my Quantico skills. #NotProud,” she wrote. That lunch happened to be where Nick asked Priyanka’s mother for her blessings to propose to her and the rest is history!
15. She injured her foot on the day of her mehendi
“So Nick held my foot steady while I doused it in the only antiseptic I could think of—perfume (alcohol)—and then pulled the bloody spear out with a pair of tweezers,” she wrote. Obviously, she soldiered on after, a feat she owes to Bollywood dance numbers and blistered feet that gave her a high tolerance towards pain.
16. She revealed how she lost out on movies because the bridge of her nose collapsed during a surgery
The actor spoke about how after the pageant, doctors discovered a polyp in her nasal cavity that needed to be surgically removed. However, it changed her appearance and she had to get several surgical procedures done to fix it, something that the media called her ‘Plastic Chopra’ for. “The bridge of my nose collapsed and I started undergoing corrective surgery to normalize it. I was dropped from two big movies—my very first acting jobs, movies that were to have launched me—after the producers heard rumors that I looked different post-surgery,” she wrote, stating that this lead to a loss of movie offers well.
A memoir worth a read indeed!