Priyanka Chopra left the U.S. over a school bully
The actress used a skin-lightening cream as a teenager.
Actress Priyanka Chopra moved back to her native India during high school because she was bullied in America.
The Quantico star visited the U.S. as a child and convinced her parents to let her move to America, because she thought she would have an easier time there.
"My mom, my brother, and I came for summer vacation to be with my mausi - my aunt - and my cousins," she tells Glamour magazine. "I went with my cousin to her school, and it was so fascinating to me. Nobody wore uniforms. You had lockers. What my cousin was studying was really easy.
"I was like, 'OK, I don't even have to study, and I would get A's'. So I had this devious plan in my head. I sat with my mom, and I'm like, 'I want to go to school here. Mausi's OK with it'. I shuttled between my aunt and uncle. I lived in Iowa, then New York, then Indianapolis, and then Boston."
However, the experience was not as happy as Priyanka thought it would be and she returned to India.
"There was this girl who was a major bully," she says. "I think she didn't like me because her boyfriend liked me, or some high school dynamic. She made my life hell. She used to call me names and would push me against the locker. High school's hard for everybody, and then there's this woman. I asked my mom, 'What do you think about me coming back?' She flew down and picked me up."
Life in India also came with challenges because she was criticised for her skin tone.
"A lot of girls who have a darker skin hear things like, 'Oh, poor thing, she's dark. Poor thing, it'll be hard for her'," she continues. "In India they advertise skin-lightening creams: 'Your skin's gonna get lighter in a week'. I used it. Then when I was an actor, around my early twenties, I did a commercial for a skin-lightening cream. I was playing that girl with insecurities. And when I saw it, I was like, 'Oh s**t. What did I do?' And I started talking about being proud of the way I looked. I actually really like my skin tone."
Priyanka struggled when she returned to America to pursue her acting career, but now she is now trying to carve out a spot for minorities in Hollywood.
"I want to make my lane...," she says. "Maybe I, being on the platform that I am, can say this louder than the kid who has to get on the subway and go to school: 'You don't need to be afraid of who you are'. I don't want any kid to feel the way I felt in school."
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