"After I won Miss World, movies started coming my way," the 33-year-old tells PEOPLE
Here are five things to know about the 33-year-old beauty.
1. She’s a former Miss World.
“I was taking pictures in a studio for a scholarship program for a university in Australia and the photographer was like, ‘Oh, can we take a few more pictures because you’re pretty?’ He hit the vanity of a young girl and so I was, like, ‘Yeah, sure,’ ” Chopra tells PEOPLE. “My mom saw the pictures and thought they were really great so she sent them in for Miss India and then I won Miss World. I was just 17!”
2. She’s already a movie star in her native India.
“After I won Miss World, movies started coming my way. I’ve done about 40 films,” she says. “I love waking up every morning and getting to say, ‘Yes!’ I get to go to set and create characters and work with people around the world and tell stories. I love my job.”
3. She originally had a completely different career path.
“As a student, I wanted to be an engineer,” she says. “But it’s such a powerful feeling to know that people are watching me and forgetting all their problems. That’s what made me realize I wanted to be an entertainer.”
4. She was picky when offered chance to star on an American TV show.
“I was honestly skeptical,” Chopra says of being offered a holding deal at ABC. “I didn’t want to play a stereotypical role. I wanted a great part, and they found me one. She’s like a female Jason Bourne.”
5. She doesn’t let her fame go to her head.
“I’m still myself. Even if I’m famous, I don’t stop that from letting me living my life,” says the actress, who plays a FBI recruit who is accused of a terrorist attack on her new ABC drama. “I can never get away from the fans and the cameras – and honestly I don’t want to. It’s who I am, and it’s what I’ve always known. My fans have always wished me well and been the wind beneath my wings, so I never think that I need to run away from it. I never stop living my life. I’m still just a girl.”
Quantico premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.