Priyanka Chopra Jonas, actress, producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist: "For a very long time, I...never dealt with the things I was feeling."
For a very long time. I always ran away from greece and ran towards work or towards relationship or towards something but never dealt with the things i was feeling and i think accepting the fact that you're grieving feel sad or you feel afraid of failure of your career anything accepting your feelings is the first step in taking away their power. I'm carl sagan. I'm danielle weisberg. Welcome to skin from the couch. This podcast is where we go deep on career advice from women who have lifted from the good stuff like hiring and growing a team to the rough stuff like negotiating your salary and giving or getting feedback. We started the skin from a couch. So what better place to talk it all out than where it began on a couch today. Priyanka chopra jonas joins us on skimmed from the couch. We are huge fans and so excited to have with us. She's an actress producer. Singer and philanthropist prank rose to fame after winning the miss world pageant in two thousand. She later took bollywood and then the global entertainment industry by storm. She's written about her career journey in her new memoir on finish with is on sale february nights. Priyanka were so excited to have you here. Welcome to skin from the catch ink. You guys so we ask everybody to skin they resume you have a long resume. So we're gonna ask you to like skim the highlights here. It's just everything is sort of happened. Really quickly right now in my life so i would say but actor producer entrepreneur founder of an author philanthropist. And yeah that's a. That's a lot of things we're gonna dive into all of that. But i actually just hear you say that. Is there one that you identify more closely with. No i feel like. I'm some of all of them. They've all been my choices. Besides which one when. I was seventeen years old. It's not something that i seeked. It kind of happened to me. Besides that everything else in my life has been my choice. My career has been my choice. So i think i'm a some of each one of those verticals because i kind of deliberately went after them myself. What something that. We can't google about you. Oh if it's not on then you'll never know. okay. I'll try to different way. What's the craziest thing you've read about yourself on google or out there just to wire. I do what. I do like people people feel like. Sometimes they talk as they know me i was. I remember early on. This is one of the first memories of this happening for me. Just done like just done a few hindi movies in india and i was like early twenties at that point. And you know how hindi movies have some of them. So we were shooting a song and it was raining green songs a sequences that you see in entertainment. Look a lot more beautiful and glamorous than they are. It's not fun. You're wet constantly. You're you have wet clothes on just like not fun to shoot that. You're like that for twelve hours constantly being made wet. I remember i was filming. Matenaer read on google a couple of days later that i had requested for mineral water to be used in the rain machines. That was a good one. Thank you for sharing that. Can you imagine how much mineral water it would require like. Who would make that would do that for anybody. That's like that's crazy. Yeah we're gonna in order to really understand your story. We need to start at the beginning. I wanna get a better understanding of what Why growing up with for you. We know you moved around a lot within india as a child and then you made a big moved to the us as a teenager. But how would you describe your your childhood at in your personality growing up. I think it was very nomadic. You know my parents were in the military. My father was in the military initially in my mom joined but because we moved around so much every two years we were in new plays. Adaptability is easy for me. And i think that my childhood that part of my life really lent itself and let me two words being adaptable and within that. I think i had a sense of adventure. I was raised in a family that kind of pushed me to have an opinion. Even when the room didn't agree with me. Like i used to always hang out my and their friends when they had people over and you ended having conversations like things in life and my opinion would be asked and i always like i was never laughed at number shamed. That kind of gave me a sense of confidence. You know in fact my mom used to always say even if the room disagrees with you you have to have an opinion you know otherwise would you stand for and that kind of built integrity in me about. What do i stand for. So i think my childhood i have to say is a big part of what i became. I wanna talk about when you made the move to the us as a child or yeah i was twelve twelve years old bexley yet. That's why i said as a child because that's crazy. I was visiting my cousins. And you know they had moved here like a couple of years ago survived to me and they were like oh in america they have this attitude like i wanted to be a part of it so when we were visiting my aunt and i was twelve years old and i went to my cousin's school and i was just like what kids don't wear uniforms to school in eighth grade as a teenager. I was so excited about the freedom of that and so excited about the fact that you guys had died so much space and girls were wearing lipstick and you were talking to boys and all those things at like twelve thirteen which was definitely not allowed in my house. My attention on that time was piqued because of that. Not because i wanted you know a better education or anything. But i remember going to my parents and pitching it that i wanted better opportunity for myself and my mom was okay with it because she and my dad were also going through a transition period. My dad had retired from the military. They were setting up their own hospital. So my mom was like hey convenient go kind of worked up for both of us when you think about that now. Are you like wow. That was incredible that i did that at that early age. I mean i think about myself at that age. And i'm like i know like i would not have been able to to do that. I don't know because i don't know any other normal you know. My parents never sort of shunned by ideas you know. We had conversation about pros and cons and made sense. You know everybody has had to be on board with everything we as a family would be on board with the decisions that were taken. So i just didn't know any other way. And i felt like that was inculcating. Boldness in me about taking risks and it's reflective in me as an adult as well i feel but i had never known any other way. I've i've been opinionated. I if i want something. I'll go after it. I'm not shy about that. If i want something. Even as a kid. I used to tell my parents would negotiate and it would happen. I wanted barbies. When i was like five or six or something kindergarten. I remember that. I wanted barbie and my dad was like you know it was expensive and my parents are military pants and they were like well. If you get as then you barbies. I got straight his. It's i put that report card in my book for that reason because i wanted a barbie. You give me a motivation like a dog with a bone. I would love to sort of hear from you how you thought about confidence like as a teenager who eventually went onto a global stage in pageant world. And we'll talk about that too. You know now as a competent woman who's got eighteen different job. Titles how has sort of your relationship with confidence evolved tremendously. I think it definitely has to do with maturity for shore. You know it has to do with experience but at the same time i think you know it has to do with feeling a sense of stability and calm and i think i'm at a place in my life where i feel a sense of stability. I have confidence in my abilities. In what i bring to the table as a woman i feel sure of who i am but i think obviously you not born confident. No one's born confident. Our circumstances sort of define how confident we can be how we're made to feel with from our parents our friends the environment that you've sort of grown up in all that really contributes to someone's confidence and i think mine it was like mountains and valleys for a long time. I was insecure. But i was also raised to be confident but i was insecure and myself. I think over time you kind of i. I've come to a please where confidence has become. You know something that. I always have my backpack at pareto. Need to take it out all the time. I don't need it all the time. i don't need to have it all the time. I'm okay feeling vulnerable. Okay feeling uncomfortable instead of trying to run away from my emotions hide under the garb of confidence I think confidence something you pull out when you need an otherwise. It's okay to be real and field feelings. You're seventeen when you won miss world. Two thousand like walk us through. What changed overnight. I give credit to this like huge monumental changes to my brother. He was ten years old. I had just moved back to india from the us and there were two rooms and one was my parents and the other one was my brothers so my dad because i was seventeen. Sixteen was like oh seen room. Of course. she's a grown up. Brother who was ten was kicked out and my mom made his room in the hallway between the two rooms and he was like the sleeping in the hallway and he wanted to basically keep me out of the house that he could get his room back. And i had just taken these photographs. Which were like mall shots. You know soft. Focus with your hand near face like those kind of photographs. He brought those pictures to my mom. And you know we used to watch the miss india pageant at home and it was something that he may have seen. I don't know but he saw the ad for that in a magazine. And he brought to my mom and he was like you know she. Jill need to go to mumbai. She does that and and my mom. I don't know just to calm him or i don't know placate him why she did it but she sent those pictures in. I had no idea you owe everything to him that it's just an absurd thing to think about. But you know i was. I was very competitive. I still am once. You put me into competition. I was like okay all right. Let's see a treated like a relay. Almost and i was like well. I'm going to be the best racehorse and then if it doesn't happen fine. But i gave it. You know my best once. I was in it. You've talked a lot about your parents and how you've grown up and how that shape deal. I think twenty twenty for the world was a really weird year and people have had to be resilient and also deal with grief and a lot of ways You you talked to. Your dad is being one of your biggest orders. How did you or were you able to kind of take lessons from the grief to become more resilient definitely but you know i can talk and fall into that again you never know. We are all human. We all have adjourning that we have to go on. But i think i have tools in my toolkit now to be able to deal with it in a better way. I think accepting the fact that you're grieving is very important instead of running away from it for a very long time. I always ran away from grief and ran towards work or towards the relationship or towards something but never dealt with the things. I was feeling and i think accepting the fact that you're grieving refill sad or you feel afraid of failure of your career anything accepting your feelings as the first step in taking away their power and you know the fact that grief is not gonna go anywhere and becomes your companion. It's like your companion in life. It's going to hang out with you and some days. It's going to come out in a big way and say hi and stay for dinner and sundays. You won't even see them. You know i sort of started treating grief as my companion made it easier. It was just days. That i think about my dad or think about moments in my life where i've been sad or things that make me sad and i let myself feel it and then the next is better brighter. Hey thanks for listening to skimmed from the couch. We wanna make sure we're bringing you the best possible show and no. This isn't an ad instead to help us. Keep providing you with a show you love. We want to get your feedback and learn a little bit about you if you can spare five minutes to answer a few multiple questions. We'd really appreciate it to do that. Head to the scam dot com slash pod survey. That's the skin with two m's dot com forward slash pod survey. A few minutes of your time will help us give you hours and hours of the content you want in twenty twenty one and beyond. Thanks you go on the pageant stage to enter bollywood which i am personally fascinated by. It's all my musical theater. Dreams brought to life and it's hard to put into words. How big of a star. You become and i'm very curious from your perspective. You know so so much. We we all read and consumed all these kind of media headlines and stories about you know stars catapult to fame. But we don't see like behind the scenes like they auditioned a lot. They got rejected a lot. They were figuring out how to go sheet. They're worth an olive sort of behind the scenes parts. At what point in this journey like do you think that you shifted to becoming businesswoman recently. Actually i think i would say about when i founded my production company actually was my mother's idea. It's a very funny story. I turned thirty and my mom sat me down one night. And then she says you know actresses have a shelf life and all the actors even if they're in their fifties always wanna work with the youngest ones and you know in the ripe old age of thirty and i. Yeah see and she's like what are you gonna do if this is not you know your korea. I think you should start your own proxima house. I think you should start your own business. And i think you should get into business because you have an aptitude for it and it was so funny. I was very astute of her to say that. I'm glad not just me but you know a lot of female actors in my generation have changed that perspective and you know we can still be doing great work. You know as we get older. We're pushing the envelope. But it was my mom's stewed thinking at that point which sort of led me to found my company which is pro pebble pictures and i was bitten by the bug and i found it fascinating to be able to build things out of the power to be able to build ideas and those ideas become businesses and actually become your livelihood and your purpose and then i started like delving into investing in tech and then founding a hair care brand. It's all very new but it came from the desire of wanting to branch out of putting all my eggs in one basket. Just in case as your star began to rise and this is you know really kind of in the in the bollywood era of career. Who are you going to for advice to help you navigate not even your support system but what did your mentorship system look like and how much my family or i had never been in the entertainment business so it was like a we just applied logic like the chopra family always does. Is you know we're scientific about it. It's pros and cons. You always you never have one plan. You have multiple plans the way we were taught in the way i was taught the way i think i think is always to work backwards. If you have an ambition of. I wanna get say this movie. I wanna work with this person. What am i going to need to get to that. I'm going to have to get to someone who knows them. Someone who can get me a meeting. So i need to get somebody Get to someone who can have a conversation phone call. They will pay. So it's like you work if you want to buy a car. How much money am i going to need. What's kind of. Where am i going to get this from. How much do i need to earn. I always work backwards and me and my family at dinner and talk about like all right. Where do we wanna get. How do we get there. And what are the kind of roles. I wanna do and who should i be meeting and just sort of learned on the job. My acting school has been my career. I have never been to you. Know any sort of formal education when it comes to films and the arts. And i just kind of figured it out by sheer sort of great. I fell dust myself off and tried it again. Ibes mother william. You know you just have to evolve in. Stay a student. I think that's really important. One in the things that i find fascinating about actors is how often they have to deal with rejection and swimming. Starting out totally additioning for roles. How did you deal with that. And has it gotten easier for you over time you come to terms with the fact that it's part of the job over time and it happens to everyone but in the beginning it's very person he's like you feel rejected. It's like how dare you. I thought it was great. It feels very personal in the beginning. I mean it's it's it's still not fun. it's shitty. Yeah it seems like it would be really shitty to have that be part of your day but it's literally your job like it's part of your job for someone to watch you deliver the best that you think you have and then say that's not good enough for me on memphis not what i'm looking for like. That's my job to deal with that all the time. I always think it's so interesting to hear how actors deal that because we get rejected from a job in. It's it's not our job but it happens all the time that people don't get what they want or they think they're right or something. Okay think about it this way for actors. We have no consistency. We don't know where next check is coming from. We don't know the next couple of months where we're going to be because our jobs dictate that so. It's a constant hustle. You have to constantly be on your feet and there's no consistency of if you at least have age of you know that you have some sort of consistency for a bit for a couple of months for us. It's like okay. You know just for two months or like for six months. It figure out what the next thing is. It's so inconsistent. And unstable thrive off of that hassle or does that stress. You do thrive off but it also is sort of insane. Like it's not healthy to have that level of competitiveness with yourself constantly looking for what's the next thing you know. I see my career. I've always in this way like a ladder. I've never arrested on laurel. I've never liked movie. Does really well not someone to be like all right. I'm going to take a vacation for six months now. That like no. I've never been at home for six months. Except for quarantine and it took a global pandemic to do that. All of this the chaos that you thrive in the hostile. What is stabilizing for you. I didn't really know what it was for a very long time. Because i lived out of hotels rentals. The last home i own before the one. I'm in right now. Was about fifteen years ago. You know. I just like never had anything just moved around in a suitcase. I think when this house we made this house. My husband and i threw quarantine. Actually it really gave me that sense when i wrote this book. Actually which is why. It's such a sort of steady reflection of my life. It's like really a window into my life. From a very steady place is because i felt ground beneath my feet and i felt like i could breathe. I knew all my stuff was everything. Had a place you know. And i didn't realize i was missing it so i think only now. I sort of crave a home. And i crave like my dogs and i need my family and like all of that stuff really really matters to me and i take a lot of time even if i work crazy hours to be able to have. That gives me a sense of peace. The entertainment industry is infamously known for just the continued issue of wage equity the disparity around how men and women have been paid and obviously there are strides. Being made and people are much more open about it. But i would love to understand from you your experience with that and how you learn how to get more. Comfortable talking about money negotiating. I've been kicked out of a movie. Ones for arben told that i should leave. That wasn't kicked out of it. Because i decided to stay and suck it but i was told that if i don't Take the paycheck which was nominal compared to my co actor for almost the same amount of work that produces sentiment. There's so many other girls who will take this opportunity and you know women in movies are interchangeable in big movies. Like this are interchangeable is fine and you know that really stuck to me on point and this was early in my career and i didn't do anything about it. I had to work within the system. Because that's what we're told that you know if you want this job. This is the only way early twenties. That's what i believed again and took almost fifteen years for me to get to that place where you know could stand my ground and it took hearing the conversations from other women banding together to give me the confidence to stand up for myself. You know. I started reading about a lot of women and female actors and you know when we female actors when we would mean we talk about it at parties in. Generally that became a topic of conversation. Women were championing each other. And you know it sort of gave me a sense of like fuck that i want. I want to be able to stand up for. What i you know what i think i bring to the table to do. Think that that demand has pushed the needle. I have to say that you know in one of the jobs that i was doing. It was actually brought up by the studio that there should be buried with me. And michael acta and my agent sprouted up and it happened. I was very pleasantly surprised. And you know. I love that. We as an industry are going towards that direction. And it's kudos to all the women that stood up for themselves and for others by providing for this large fight. And we've seen that in history all the luxuries we enjoy today of being able to get jobs in powerful powerful positions and being able to vote and drive has been because women before us have fought that fight females. Women have been denied so much through yawns. I think those our generation's responsibility to change that so that the next generation doesn't inherit these problems. And i'm glad to see the with so many of us banding together. We're doing that. It takes me forever to fall asleep. This is not something new. But it's just gotten worse with being a new parent living through a pandemic. And i somehow always end up scrolling through social media until way past my bedtime. So i wanna tell you about something that could help called proper. It's a natural sleep supplement. That helps you fall asleep. Faster stay asleep longer and wakeup refresh. Proper offers various formulations to help you find what works best for you so you can choose from benefits like immunity stress reduction mental clarity and they even have a line of supplements including cbd. Start solving your sleep issues with proper. Had to get proper dot com right now to find out which formulation is best for you and use our special promo code skin s. k. I m. m. to get ten percent off your first order. That's promo code skin at get proper dot com for ten percent off. You've talked in the past about losing worlds because of your skin color and when we think about the ways that you've been an activist one of the things that stands out is being on a mission to change representation in the entertainment industry whites changes g. You want to see made. And how do you think the industry is is doing. So i feel like when i first started trying to find work in hollywood and trying to build a career here. It was almost like there weren't any parts of written for someone who looked like me. It was never a conscious thought to do that. In mainstream entertainment in new mainstream leading parts are important roles and that was an issue that really required breaking down doors. And sort of telling people that i'm here auditioning for a mainstream movie and mainstream part. Not for the stereotype that you're used to seeing someone like me be in. I'm fighting for that role. That's the one i want. And that sort of required education really have to say that. I met some wonderful people between the hindi film industry and hollywood who kind of always had faith in my abilities once i showed that like. I'm not afraid of walking onto a set. Because i know what i bring to the table. I'm not my twenty one year old self anymore. you know. I have had tremendous experience in various genres. I haven't even done that. I knew scratch below the surface as an artist in america yet. And that's what i'm looking to do for myself. And for people who look like me minorities females south asians specifically south asian people not just in india around the world are one fifth of the world's population but when you look at global entertainment in english language cinema won't see that in like leading roles in mainstream part in pop culture and i didn't even realize that i started seeking it myself. You know i was busy building another career back home in india for me. And i'm so glad actually to see their to have teammates in this mission like you see indicating in serie camille raise all of these amazing artists are pushing the envelope to save that we want to be a part of mainstream pop culture and that's great and hopefully with us pushing that goal post further demanding entertainment. Look the way the world is actually that it'll be a big change. I think we're walking. We're definitely going in that direction. And i think the industry is especially would streaming coming in now like for example. My movie the white tiger. I don't think that movie would have been made five years ago with the budget. That has right now before streaming became what a did. It's an all indian stock us. It's an iranian director. It's an indian story in india written. I don't think that would have had the mainstream of that kind of release it's going to be seen. In one hundred sixty countries people around the world are going to be able to access it now with a platform like that would streaming coming in. Today we have to provide content that is global and that is cross cultural in parasite winning best picture last year. What really is a foreign film anymore. You know i. I was watching an iranian show the other day my mom watches k dramas all day like we're all consuming entertainment from and now we need to the industry needs to reflect that your drive and ambition and work ethic are incredibly obvious in five minutes of reading about you but also invite minutes of speaking to you. Do you ever stop her second. And just say that. I'm really proud of myself actually. Had a moment like that. When i read my book for the first time. Like you know when you're writing a writing in pieces and like this chapter and editing. That when i read it cover to cover for the first time i kind of had to sit alone for about half an hour and process but i just read and i kind of told my younger self to like. Stop being so hard you know doing myself to stop being so hard younger self like alright. I went through a lot. And i pulled myself out of the bullshit time and it was my strengths and my grit that my career was self made and with the support of my family. I've been able to build it on my back. And you know i. I had a moment after read. I'm curious you know as we kind of keep coming back to you and you list all of your occupations and all the things that are on the horizon when you think about your other projects are things that you're dreaming up in that are we don't even know yet. New beer agent doesn't even know yet. What stresses you failing at it. Whenever i try something for the first time like i mean this is the first time i've ever founded a company out of one hundred. I don't know how to do it. I'm just gonna run with it. You know when. I started being movies. I didn't know how to do it. Started pageant when. I wrote a book like i'm everything that i've done has been for the first time and every time i have the stress of dropping the ball on it a for not living up to my expectations because i really strive for excellence in everything i do from my personal life to like how my bad looks like how i you know. My house looks to my various verticals. But that's always a fear. I think that's everyone's fear right. We're gonna move into our lightning round so quick questions and quick answers We are spending a lot more time at home. What's replace your morning. Cardio my workouts. I've gotten so consistent at working out also. I'm training for a job but the morning commute used to be my sort of meditation time you know the car drive. I used to check all my My phone and what happened in another part of the world. While i was sleeping and but now like i feel that way when i work out and i've been able to do that almost five six times a week. So that's gripped. What's the last show you binge Bridge or two. And i went through sunday shooting day to. I think like a hundred people. Ask this question. What is your favorite jonas brothers song. I believe Was written for me a good reason. Yeah there's been actually really made me laugh we're gonna. This is our last jonas family question. What is it like to have your sister in law as queen of the north. I really don't see her. That i just here. Sophie are you a good cook. No terrible cook with the first thing. Then you go to order depending on my mood. I love asian food so usually tie biggest vice carbs when will world sort of resumes travel at a normal speed. It's the first trip. You wanna go on. I go on beach sand between my feet. I need a bikini and anita bellini now. I need son. I mean the sun. I'm in london for a year. So i mean the silent ninety two all right. Let's let's do one more. What's the last book you read. Gosh actually that's all. I've been reading. I like reading multiple things. I read this amazing book called homegoing last year and i really recommended by yoga z. Bestseller but story of two sisters in ghana and they're multi generational story all the way to america how they both had two different sort of like sliding doors. They had two different lights. And it's amazing so beautifully written bianca. Congratulations everything. congratulations on the new book. And the hairline. Thank you for coming up so lunch ladies. This was so fun. Thanks for hanging out with us. Join us next week for another episode of skin from the couch. And if you can't wait until then subscribe to our daily email. Newsletter gives you all the important news and information. You need to start your day. Sign about the skim dot com. That's the s k. I am dot com to m's for a little something extra.