Chopra tells emmy magazine: "I grew up really conscious of the way I looked"

By Brittany King
Updated May 23, 2016 12:20 PM
Mike Ruiz/Love Artists

brightcove.createExperiences(); Priyanka Chopra may radiate confidence, but what fans may not know is that was once a gawky kid with low self-esteem.

“[I was] head of the class, teacher’s pet, always knew the answers, always in honors classes,” the actress recalls in the June issue of emmy magazine. “My parents never treated me like a child. They made me make my own decisions, told me to think about the pros and cons.”

“I grew up having my own opinions and knowing what that meant,” the Quantico star adds. “But I was always really conscious of the way I looked, and high school is hard for anyone.”

Chopra was visiting relatives in Iowa, when she decided to tell her parents she wanted to attend high school there instead of going back to India.

“I attracted a lot of attention,” Chopra remembered. “Nobody looked like me in my school. I was skinny with crazy, frizzy hair. It was like Mean Girls.”

Her relatives then moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where the actress endured terrible racism from a former classmate.

“There was one girl who was just super evil. She kept calling me Brownie, and saying, ‘Go back to your country, you smell like curry’ – and I didn’t, by the way,” Chopra recounts. “She was so mean to me.”

Through it all, Chopra insists that no matter how successful she is or becomes, she remains self-aware and stays grounded on her journey in Hollywood.

“Success is not a destination,” she says. “Success is a journey. You have to be consistently successful to be called a success.”

At 33 years old, Chopra insists that not everything in her life is as easy as she makes it look.

“Oh, no – I’m a mess,” she admits. “My life is so scheduled, I can tell you what I’m doing six months later and where I’ll be. There’s no time for me to say, ‘I’m in a bad mood today,’ or, ‘I have a tummy ache.’ ”

She quips, “That’s the price you pay for world domination.”