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Priyanka Chopra Is Furious At Hollywood's Stereotypes About Indians

"Everybody doesn't speak like Apu from The Simpsons. We all don't smell of curry. We all are not ugly-looking nerds."

Priyanka Chopra is no stranger to the west, having collaborated with Pitbull for her hit single "Exotic".

And she now has an upcoming lead role as FBI agent Alex Parrish in the ABC drama Quantico.


Chopra told BuzzFeed India last year that the greatest burden of being an Indian performer for an American audience is "making sure we break the stereotypes that people see Indians as."

Recently, Chopra met up with Swagata Dam, a writer for Miss Malini, and opened up about what it's like to be Indian in America.

She began by explaining that she studied in America, and while she was there she noticed a lot of stereotypes that Indians faced.

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

"I witnessed a lot of racism and that's exactly why I came back to India. I was 16 years old. I was called a 'Brownie' and some even told me, "Go back to where you came from." At that point in time, I couldn't deal with it. So when these international opportunities came to me, beginning with my music, I decided to try and bring relevance to Indian talent because I was given the opportunity."

She went on to explain that she wanted to break the stereotypes by which Indians are usually depicted on American television.

"Everybody doesn't speak like Apu from The Simpsons. We all don't smell of curry. We all are not ugly-looking nerds, who are shy and always keep sitting behind their computers. Yes, we are very proud of our big families but that doesn't mean ki har gaadi mein se 15 log bahar niklenge. In global pop-culture, we are always represented like that. I wanted to break that."

Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Chopra explained that she was tired of being offered parts as "the Indian princess, some exotic looking snake-charmer or some hypnotizing lady." She said she never wanted to be restricted to such archetypal characters, and it "annoys" her when that's all global entertainment sees people from India as.

"When they (ABC) came to me for this deal about some show, I told them very clearly that I'd do it if you cast me as an ethnically ambiguous part. I mentioned that the fact that I am an Indian should have nothing to do with the story, cast me an actor. And they did. They found me a part which is half Indian and half Caucasian. I play an FBI agent and the story has nothing to do with my big family or me wearing henna or any of those stereotypes."

Chopra ended the interview by saying, "Doing Quantico has been a very personal experience for me. If the show is successful and if I am good in it, it will definitely make a dent in Indian actors being taken seriously."

H/t Miss Malini

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