From winning Miss World, her Indian film industry breakthrough to her successful ventures in Hollywood, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has become a symbol of determination and empowerment. In her audiobook titled ‘Unfinished’ on Audible, Priyanka invites us to delve into her extraordinary life, sharing untold anecdotes, cherished memories, and invaluable life lessons. On her 41st birthday, TheGlitz celebrates the OG desi gal’s trailblazing path by unveiling some lesser-known stories from her life.
Unforgettable Maruti minivan escapades
Road trips were a way of creating lifelong memories that became an integral part of Priyanka’s upbringing, instilling in her a sense of adventure. Recounting cherished moments she spent with her family, embarking on adventures to far-flung destinations, she shares, “When it was time for us to head out on holiday, my parents would pack our red Maruti minivan, and we’d take off. We’d go to Ranikhet, Shimla, and Manali to Nainital in the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas to Pahalgam, Gulmarg, and Srinagar in Kashmir. Every trip was an adventure; The minivan would always be full of family and friends. We traveled in packs, and still do. My favorite place to sit was in the very back. Dad had convinced me that a cramped crowded storage space with cushions and blankets thrown over our suitcases and bags was a very special place created just for me!”
Boyfriend in the closet kinda mayhem
Once, Priyanka found herself in a comical predicament when she attempted to sneak her boyfriend, Bob, into her aunt’s home. She thought she could outsmart her aunt and keep Bob’s presence a secret, however, her plans took an unexpected turn when her aunt discovered Bob hiding inside her closet. “Kiran maasi called my mother. It was in the middle of the night in India but she was too upset to care.” When her aunt finally handed the phone to Priyanka, her mother, half asleep, simply asked, “Why did you have to get caught?” It’s a delightful reminder that even global icons have their fair share of amusing anecdotes from their younger days.
From a teen to becoming a Queen
“When I was growing up, women who became Miss India, were honored and respected. I remember how much I admired the first Indian to be crowned Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen, who won in 1994, when she was 18 and I was 12,” Priyanka recalls. “The year she won I made a collage for my room of her newspaper clippings. The icing on the cake for my country that year was that Aishwarya Rai was crowned Miss World, a harbinger of things to come perhaps?” Priyanka’s determination shone through as she participated in the Miss India pageant while preparing for her pre-board examinations, balancing academic pressures and the demands of the competition.
Obstacles before the stardom
Within six months of winning the Miss World crown, she had signed on for four movies. “Then, the bridge of my nose collapsed and I started going under corrective surgery to normalize it. I was dropped from two big movies, my very first acting jobs, movies to have launched me. After the producers heard rumors that I looked different post surgery, one director did the courtesy of arranging me a screen test to see what my face would look like blown up on 70mm film to movie screen size. The second producer didn’t even bother with a look test.” It felt as if a doorway to paradise had been opened and then slammed on her face.
During the shooting of a song for Andaaz, Priyanka’s lack of experience became apparent. Despite seemingly simple choreography, she struggled, causing repeated mess-ups and intensifying the pressure with each take. In a moment of frustration, choreographer Raju Khan expressed doubts about her dancing abilities, stating, “Just because you’re Miss World, don’t think you can dance. Learn to do your job before you report for work.” However, fate intervened as the film production unexpectedly paused for 10 days, temporarily halting filming in Cape Town. During this break, she was introduced to Pandit Veeru Krishnan, a renowned expert in transforming non-dancers into sensational performers. With dedicated practice in his classes, she honed her coordination skills. When she returned to Cape Town a few weeks later to reshoot the same scene with the same music and choreography, Raju Khan greeted her with astonishment, exclaiming, “I don’t know what you did, but now you’re a dancer!”
Meeting the man of her dreams
Priyanka manifested her ideal partner by writing down five qualities she deemed essential, clarifying her desires and intentions for the kind of relationship she sought. “The first non-negotiable quality was honesty. Second was for him to appreciate the value of family. Third, he had to take his profession very seriously. Fourth, I wished for someone who was creative and had the imagination to dream big with me. Fifth, was for him to have drive and ambition, just like I did.”
As luck would have it, Nick Jonas slid into Priyanka’s DMs, expressing his admiration for her work. Little did they know, this online conversation would go on to become a world-famous relationship. Fast forward to Priyanka’s second Oscar appearance, sparks flew as they locked eyes for the first time in person. He proceeded to get down on one knee and said, “You’re real? Where have you been all my life?” and the rest is history.
With her unfiltered openness in ‘Unfinished’ on Audible, Priyanka lays bare her innermost thoughts, taking us on an intimate and transformative journey that is both raw and authentic, leaving us feeling empowered and inspired. It is not merely a memoir; it serves as a testament to the unyielding spirit of a woman who fearlessly embraces life’s trials and emerges as a true inspiration to millions.