The star of ABC's hit fall drama had doubts before launching her US career

November 12, 2015 10:50 AM

In India and to millions of Bollywood fans around the world, Priyanka Chopra is basically Beyoncé – that is to say, she’s a bona fide, frenzy-inducing superstar.

“I’ve known how to be in the public eye since I was 17,” the 33-year-old actress tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. After finding success in pageants – she was named Miss India and then Miss World in 2000 – Chopra launched a prolific Bollywood film career, now with 50 films under her belt.

Priyanka Chopra at the Miss World final in 2000
Gerry Penny/AFP/Getty

“It’s intense,” she says of her fame in the East. “I can never be incognito but I love it!”

But even with years of foreign showbiz experience, she had her doubts about bringing her gifts out west to star as tough and sassy FBI trainee agent Alex Parrish in ABC’s now-hit drama Quantico.

“I was afraid of it not being the right time,” says Chopra, whose role marks the first time a South Asian woman has headlined a network drama.

“I’m different. I don’t speak perfect American. I do have a lilt of an Indian accent,” she says. “I thought maybe the world’s not okay with what I bring, being Indian.”

Priyanka Chopra
Sarah Kehoe

She’s happy to admit she was wrong. “The acceptance of Quantico so far has been really great,” says Chopra, who was met by throngs of her Bollywood fans while filming a recent episode in New York.

“At the moment I’m just straddling two continents far away from each other, with very active careers in both!”

This week's PEOPLE cover

For more on Quantico‘s trailblazing new star, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Quantico airs Sundays (10 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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