Bollywood stars are often queried about attempting a potential crossover career in the West. Whatever the answer, only a few follow through on any dreams they might have to make it in Hollywood. Among the handful who have, there’s little doubt now that Priyanka Chopra has travelled the furthest into the American mainstream as any Indian star in recent memory.
Her breakout status was cemented with her lead role on Quantico, a TV show about FBI agents in training, on ABC in 2015. The show will end its Season 2 soon. It’s uncertain if there will be a Season 3 but regardless, Priyanka currently enjoys pan-American recognition among audiences not traditionally familiar with Indian movies or its larger-than-life personalities.
1. She’s on every influential list
In 2016, Priyanka was among Forbes magazine’s 16 highest paid TV actresses in the world with $11 million in her kitty. She featured eighth on the list, ahead of veterans Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Julianna Margulies.
Her rising profile has also meant more big-brand endorsements. This year Pantene announced Priyanka as one of their global ambassadors, a first for any Indian.
2. She is in an eagerly-anticipated Hollywood reboot
After Quantico, Priyanka’s next big test will arrive in May when the Baywatch reboot opens in theatres. There was significant online chatter when she landed the part of a “bombshell villain” in the film last year.
Baywatch used to be an American TV institution in the 1990s. So expectations are huge and the project has been cited as among the most awaited films of 2017. In addition to which, it stars Dwayne Johnson, arguably one of the biggest male stars in the world, alongside Zac Efron.
3. She has made the rounds of major talk shows and late-night shows
Sure, these programmes are generally promotional pit-stops for most actors hawking their latest ventures. But getting booked on nearly all of them is, at the very least, a good indicator of your impact on the cultural conversation. More importantly, Priyanka has demonstrated that she can hold her own on these platforms, whether it be one-upping Jimmy Fallon in a chicken wing-eating contest or tactfully responding to Chelsea Handler’s misconceptions about Indians speaking English.
4. She is a fan favourite
The People’s Choice Awards may not be an indicator of critical appreciation or industry approval. However, it’s a reliable measure of who’s popular among viewers as winners are voted in by fans.
For two years running (2016 and 2017), Priyanka has won the ‘Favourite Dramatic TV Actress’ gong, beating out the likes of Ellen Pompeo and Viola Davis. She is first south Asian actress to receive the award twice. Priyanka has also landed 17 international magazine covers, with the latest being Marie Claire USA, which called her “Hollywood’s Most Bankable Badass”.
5. She is a fashion darling
Last year, New York magazine’s fashion website – The Cut – devoted a piece to her style choices, saying that she was “a red carpet fixture known for her love of bold lip colour and vibrant gowns”.
Much like Freida Pinto did a few years ago, Priyanka regularly makes the best dressed lists of several style publications, especially with her adventurous picks during the Emmys, Golden Globes and Oscars. Not surprisingly, Harper’s Bazaar named her one of the Best Dressed Women in the World in January this year.