Cho­pra breaks new ground

In­dian-born ac­tress Priyanka Cho­pra didn’t hes­i­tate when of­fered the role of Alex Par­rish in the new spy thriller Quantico. COLIN VICK­ERY re­ports

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS -

PRIYANKA Cho­pra likes to push the en­ve­lope. The 33-year-old is one of In­dia’s most pop­u­lar ac­tors and now she is break­ing new ground by head­ing the cast of

Cho­pra plays FBI re­cruit Alex Par­rish in the US drama, set at the FBI Train­ing Academy in Quantico, Vir­ginia.

Par­rish is thrust into the spotlight when she sur­vives a ter­ror­ist at­tack in New York City. Author­i­ties be­lieve a Quantico re­cruit is re­spon­si­ble.

“The psy­chol­ogy of Alex is ex­tremely com­plex,” Cho­pra says.

“She is the quin­tes­sen­tial mod­ern­day girl. She’s smart, she’s con­fi­dent, she’s in­tel­li­gent, she’s beau­ti­ful and she’s tremen­dously fo­cused.”

Cho­pra shares many of Par­rish’s qual­i­ties but earned them the hard way. Her par­ents were physi­cians in the In­dian army so she spent her child­hood on the move.

As a teenager, Cho­pra went to live with an aunt in the United States. At 18 she had won the Miss World beauty pageant. Roles in more than 40 Bol­ly­wood films fol­lowed. More re­cently Cho­pra has played a trou­bled model in drama a boxer in sports drama

and an autis­tic woman in ro­man­tic com­edy .

“I had a ma­jor self-es­teem is­sue when I was a kid,” Cho­pra re­veals.

“I never re­ally thought I was beau­ti­ful. Racism … hap­pened to me when I was in school in Amer­ica and it af­fected me tremen­dously. I taught my­self to be the best that I could be. I learnt how to dress right, to speak right, to present my­self [and] how to be­come con­fi­dent.”

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Mark Gor­don has over­seen

for a decade and says pur­pose­fully shares that show’s eth­nic and sex­ual di­ver­sity – al­low­ing it “to ag­gres­sively look for the best ac­tors we can find”.

“When Priyanka came in [to au­di­tion] we just took the po­si­tion that she’s the best ac­tor; we’re go­ing to do it [cast her in the lead],” he says.

Cho­pra feels the pres­sure of be­ing the first In­dian ac­tor to head a ma­jor Amer­i­can drama – but the stress is worth it. “Alex could have been from any part of the world,” she says. “I’m just re­ally happy it’s me.”

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