The stunning transformation of Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra is a name many Americans have quickly become familiar with — she's the Bollywood starlet-turned American sweetheart. The Quantico actress' reported engagement to Nick Jonas certainly doesn't hurt. Although Chopra has neither confirmed nor denied whether wedding bells will be ringing in her near future, she was seen on video removing an engagement-like ring from her left ring finger. Hmm.

While attending a question-and-answer session at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi, Chopra was asked about her relationship with the Jonas brother. "My entire life — my personal life — is not for public consumption," she responded. Chopra further explained, "Ninety percent of my life is for public consumption, but 10 percent is for me. I'm a girl; I have the right to keep that to myself." She's got a point. Plus, Chopra's life involves much more than her recent romance. Let's take a look at the other 90 percent of Chopra's life and revel in one of the most amazing transformations to date.

From Jamshedpur to Newton to Brooklyn

Chopra's biography reveals that she was born on July 18, 1982, in Jamshedpur, India. The actress' hometown is located in the northeastern part of the southern Asian country in a state called Jharkhand where it is both the largest and most densely populated area of the state. When Chopra was just a preteen, she left Jamshedpur to live with her aunt in Newton, Massachusetts. The small American city is home to less than 100,000 people. Needless to say, when Chopra relocated there from Jamshedpur — a city with over one million people — it must have been a big change.

Chopra revealed why she made the move on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, saying, "I was 12 years old and I was coming to visit my cousins and I realized that kids don't have to wear a uniform to school in America. And for a teenager, that's really important, you know?" Despite the seemingly superficial reasoning, her mom gave her the okay and eventually Chopra went on to attend high school in Queens, New York.

Conquering the "World" at 18

When Chopra was 18 years old, she participated in a beauty contest in Uttar Pradesh, India. She walked away victorious as Feminia Miss India World 2000. In spite of obviously being a beautiful contestant, not everyone thought she'd win. "One person mentioned she's too dark," Pradeep Guha, one of the competition's mentors, detailed a jury member's cringe-worthy thoughts in the book Priyanka Chopra: The Incredible Story of a Global Bollywood Star (via Indian Express). Sadly, this wasn't the first time Chopra was judged for her appearance.

"I was made to feel so uncomfortable about the way I looked or where I came from," Chopra detailed her personal experience with bullying in high school to TodayNevertheless, Chopra went on to display confidence and took home the well-deserved Miss India title. In an interview with Beauty Pageants, Chopra credited her win not to her looks, but to her confidence, grace, positivity, intelligence, and poise.

Bollywood's triple threat

After being crowned Miss World, Chopra went on to film an astonishing 50 films in India. "I don't think [Robert] De Niro's done 50 films," Stephen Colbert admitted to Chopra on his titular show. "Yeah, he probably hasn't," Chopra joked. "I do a lot of work, it's because of that," the actress clarified. 

Chopra's incredible film repertoire began in 2002 with the Hindi movie Thamizhan. It quickly became apparent that Chopra could command an audience through her acting, dancing, and singing. Even though her talent was obvious to all those who witnessed her perform, Chopra wasn't easily convinced. Quartz India reported that both her director and co-star had to coax her into singing for the film. Still, her friend Vishal Dadlani explained, "She can do anything she chooses to, and singing is just one among her facets." Some 50 films later, we hope Chopra is now convinced of her talent — not just in Bollywood, but in the United States as well.

Becoming "a face in America"

Chopra's manager, Anjula Acharia, recognized the triple threat's talent before she hit it too big. "I realised early on that I didn't want to make her a pop star, I just wanted to make her a star," she told Quartz India, "And what form it came in didn't matter, because she is a multitalented individual." She knew better than to put a box around Chopra because she was a star able to do "everything."

Within a few years' time, Acharia decided that she'd go one further and attempt to make her "a face in America." You could say Chopra and Acharia smashed that goal. By February 2012, Chopra signed on with Creative Artists Agency, a leading talent agency in Hollywood. And, nearly three years later, the United States was introduced to the star India had already come to know and adore. ABC's Quantico helped Chopra gain international fame and recognition, and, of course, legions of fans.

Her "less is more" approach to beauty

Two years before Chopra would impress American audiences on Quantico, she spoke about her personal style to Filmfare. In retrospect, it's clear that Chopra possessed the can-do attitude and self-assurance needed to thrive in Hollywood. When asked to share one of her must-have style item, she explained, "The one thing I wear best is my confidence. That's what I'd recommend to everyone." That's not to say Chopra doesn't enjoy fashion. She admitted to owning two closets full of shoes and a forever-growing jewelry collection.

Through the years, the actress' beauty regimen has remained mostly unchanged. Detailing her fairly simple formula, Chopra said "less is more" when it comes to makeup. "If you're doing the eyes, don't do the lips," she explained, "If you're doing lips, don't do the eyes." She says this pattern helps you to avoid looking like a "painting." Chopra's approach to makeup is reminiscent of Angelina Jolie's modern minimalist beauty routine, which may not be too big of a surprise given Chopra named the A-lister her style icon in her interview with Filmfare.

She was named Mumbai's Most Stylish

While Chopra's approach to beauty may be "less is more," her approach to fashion is more nuanced. In 2013, she was recognized as the winner of Mumbai's Most Stylish. Chopra's stylist, Ami Patel, shared some tidbits about Chopra's fashion sense to Hindustan Times. First and foremost, Patel said Chopra's style is "very versatile!" Whether she's wearing a "sexy Indian sari" or a "grungy rock star look," she can pull it off. She was also described as a trend-setter, not a trend-follower, as you can rightly imagine. 

When Chopra starred in the Hindi film Dostana in 2008, she'd changed up her look a bit, causing many people to emulate her style. By 2013, though, she'd made the transition to "edgy chic." No matter what style she adopts — be it a strapless LBD or a lavender suit — Chopra has a way of looking like every outfit she puts on is designed specifically for her. Of course, some actually are.

From "India's version of Beyonce" to "America's sweetheart"

Your introduction to Chopra was likely on ABC's Quantico, and you might have made the mistake of thinking she was new at this acting thing. Ha. Little did most of us know how seasoned she was, and acting was just one of the many tricks up her sleeve. Don't feel bad, though. Even Chopra's costars were initially unaware of the magnitude of her stardom.

"She just came in like any other actor on the day we were auditioning the role of Alex," Quantico's frontrunner Joshua Safran told Indiewire. "She was very clearly an entity in and of herself and I was very surprised because I did not know who she was — she was just another name on that day's sheet," Safran admitted.

Despite having a Twitter following of 11 million people, Josh Hopkins, another one of Chopra's costars confessed, "I'm ashamed to say I hadn't heard of her — I should probably lie!" After realizing just how crazy fans went for Chopra, he said he wants to visit India "to see what it's like to walk around with Beyonce." She may be "India's version of Beyonce," as Indiewire reiterated, but thanks to Quantico, she's also "America's sweetheart."

She wears her "success like a t-shirt"

In 2016, after already having been awarded Miss India and Mumbai's Most Stylish, Chopra went on to earn a spot as Time's "100 Most Influential People." Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Chopra's costar in Baywatch penned a beautiful article about the star for Time, in which he wrote, in part: "She has drive, ambition, self-respect, and she knows there's no substitute for hard work." 

Johnson said they often quote the saying "wear your success like a T-shirt, not like a tuxedo," and that is something Chopra actually lives by. "As big a star as she is, as global as she is, as beautiful as she is, there's this interesting quality of relatability," he explained.

That same characteristic Johnson sees is clearly evident in the actress' many interviews. Without an air of superiority, Chopra is far from aloof or out of touch with her fans. Even when thousands upon thousands of people are waiting outside her home when one of her movies is released, she welcomes them. "You have so many that come out with love, affection and… hugs," she told Stephen Colbert, "It's really, really warm and infusing." She joked, "It's not scary if that's what you're thinking." 

From beauty to the "beast"

Chopra's success as India's biggest crossover star is nothing short of incredible. The fact that Chopra continues to work as an actress — in both movies and television — in the U.S. and as a Hindi movie star in India is even more amazing. And to think it all began with a beauty pageant when Chopra was just a teen.

And just because she's filmed over 50 movies already doesn't mean she's going to stop any time soon. In an interview at the 2018 Forbes Women's Summit, Chopra said, "I want to definitely do a movie in India this year. I definitely want to do a feature this year, here [in the U.S.]." She also said she's become passionate about directing and producing "documentaries, features, TV, [and] digital" in Bollywood and Hollywood. She also revealed that she's writing a book. Whew

Chopra told Forbes, "When it comes to work… I'm a beast." She further explained how her ambition helps her connect to people around the world, saying, "Ambition has no color, it has no language, it has no border or a country. Ambition is pure ambition."