By Heli Haribhakti for Twisted Tiara
“Priyanka Chopra is an icon for young Indians who identify with her drive, passion, intelligence and charisma,” read a statement. Her success from being an Indian actor to a globally know personality, has gotten her admiration by the men and has women idolising her. Of course, marrying the American musician, Nick Jonas, doubled their fan base and brought her closer to her goal of ‘global domination’; also breaking a stereotype in the marriage category. But most importantly she has become a source of inspiration, especially for girls. Whether it is through the femme fatale roles she has played and donned over the span of her career, or through breaking the stereotypes of gender roles and beauty standards.
Actor, Model, Singer, but first Human
Priyanka Chopra needs no introduction. She is one of India’s highest paid actors, singer, film producer and Miss World 2000. She was also appointed as national and global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights in 2010 and 2016. Steadily rising in her acting career since 2003, bagging a National Film Award and five Filmfare Awards, Priyanka also being a philanthropist has supported organisations that work for women’s rights, promoted social causes like entertainment, health and education, and has helped raise money for girls’ education in India. She received the Padma Shri and was also named 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, both in the year 2016. Forbes listed her amongst the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women for two consecutive years of 2017 and 2018. In a world where the internet is still cracking up over “you better comeback with a sandwich” meme, she is the female role model we need. Girls of the future generation need to see a woman being bold, unafraid to live her life by her own rules, and define her own happiness!
Real Girl Talk
Priyanka was invited to deliver an inspirational talk on “Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Chasing a Dream” as a part of The Penguin Annual Lecture in 2017, where she talked about her 12 rules of becoming the best version of yourself. The topic struck a chord with her because her father used to ask her, “Why do you want to fit into a glass slipper, when you can shatter the glass ceiling?” But Priyanka felt that the phrase ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ puts all her achievements and hard work into a ‘box’ that is defined by a largely patriarchal society. She said that all she wanted to do was to chase her dreams and ambitions in order to evolve and become the best version of herself. And by doing so she got to do much more than just breaking that glass ceiling.
PC’s 12 rules to become the best version of you:
1. There is only one you. Find out who you are really, the core you- the values, the beliefs, and based on that, build your unique self. Set a higher standard by being fierce, fearless and flawed; because none of us are perfect. Priyanka wants to be known as someone who has goals and achieves them through pure hard work.
2. Let your dreams fly; give them wings. Most often we don’t allow ourselves the ability to dream beyond our imagination, or to think of our future because we’re afraid of change- afraid to move away from what’s familiar. What does it really mean to have the drive, to be ambitious? The ability to recognise your opportunities and make sure to work every bit hard so as to squeeze every drop out of those opportunities. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being ambitious -girls especially- as long as you’re not harming someone. Priyanka dreams of having a legacy over collecting labels.
3. You have never “arrived” enough to explore new opportunities. Keep yourself open to new learnings every step of your career in order to broaden your horizons. Priyanka has said she wants to be limitless. This can be seen in the choices of the films she takes up that go are commercially viable, like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi and Krishh, and films that have a strong female lead and a message, like 7 Khoon Maaf and Fashion.
4. Be greedy for your ambition. Be hungry for it. Don’t live in someone else’s benchmarks. Don’t fall into the stereotypes of who you should be as a girl or a boy. Fight for your dreams because no one else will do it for you, except you. Priyanka is known for saying that she wants everything. Having her cake, and eating it too! We rarely see actors at the top of their career appear in cameos, item numbers (in Ram Leela) or taking up supporting roles (as she did in Bajirao Mastani).
5. Do not compromise; do not settle on your dreams. Because then whatever you achieve- successes, failure, experiences- will be just yours alone. In her interview with Time magazine, she said she wants to go where no man or woman has gone and that means forging her own path, even if that may be scary.
6. Fail, fail, fail again. And then rise like a Phoenix. Failures in life are certain. You cannot do anything to stop that. What you do after it, that will define where you go. The only way to push failure aside is to move ahead. Not to ignore it, but analyse and learn from it. Priyanka revealed in one of her interviews that even after so many years of acting, she felt nervous before auditioning for Quantico and gave herself a pep talk to motivate herself.
7. Take calculated, educated risks to evolve. Be bold and back it up with your 100%. Until you’ve not truly explored the full extent of your possibilities, you will always remain stagnant. When she took up the negative role in the movie Aitraaz, people warned her that she’ll be written off as just a vamp, and not be taken seriously as a lead actress. She was told females centric movies like Fashion are not the norm to take on so early in her career. She switched to the TV genre in a whole different fraternity- in the US- at the peak of her film career in India.
8. Surround yourself with the right people. People who will have your back through the difficulties and who will celebrate the smallest victories. Over the years, Priyanka has built a loyal team of expert professionals and is known to have a close knit group of friends and family; the invitees to her wedding are proof enough.
9. You cannot please everyone, all the time. No matter what you do, someone will always be unhappy. They don’t matter. Early on in her career, Priyanka overheard a director saying that girls are replaceable in the movies. Since then she started taking up roles which were strong. Eventually, she became irreplaceable.
10. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun while enjoying your journey of life. Priyanka’s Instagram stories sometimes shows her fun side when interacting with children, or having PDA with hubby Nick.
11. Give back whenever you can, because there will always be someone less fortunate than you. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be human. You will never know someone else’s full story, so don’t be quick to judge.
12. Always remember where you came from. Proud Indian, army daughter, daughter of two doctors with a middle class upbringing and the ginormous families.
Life’s journey is not to arrive at your graveside safely, in a well preserved body. But rather to skid and slide, completely worn out and say, “Holy shit! That was a ride.