Priyanka Chopra says wedded bliss with Nick Jonas is her ultimate beauty secret
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As a woman who pays heed to the patterns of the universe, Priyanka Chopra Jonas can smile about the neat loop in her own life. She’s one of the few actresses to ever make the leap from Bollywood to Hollywood, but today she’s circled back to the very start, when she was crowned Miss World at the age of 18.
Then, it was the start of the new century and a wide-eyed Priyanka found herself whisked from India to London to parade at the just-opened Millennium Dome. Now, two decades later, she’s back living and filming in the capital for a year.
It’s an exciting time for her career but it means Priyanka, 38, has spent far more time away from her husband than usual. Priyanka, of course, is blissfully spliced to fellow superstar Nick Jonas, 28, and tells us she misses the singer madly when they’re oceans apart.
When she’s not filming, Priyanka is also being kept busy as the new face of Max Factor, fronting its 33-shade Facefinity All Day Flawless Foundation. It’s a job her teenage self would never have foreseen when she was trying to lighten her skin, or when racist bullying at school sent her fleeing back to India from the US, where she had been living with relatives.
Today, Priyanka is not a woman who runs away from anything. Having faced her demons head-on, she’s supremely happy in herself and tells us she can’t wait to find out where the universe will take her next…
Hi Priyanka! How are you enjoying being back where it all began?
I have a very special connection with London because of Miss World. I’m so excited that the city is opening up again because the energy here is so cosmopolitan.
What are you missing about home?
I miss my husband. I miss my bed. I miss my closet. [laughs] Thank God for FaceTime and video calling.
What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
What I would say is ‘Chill out! The world is not going to collapse if you make one mistake.’ Every time I drive past the Hilton on Park Lane where the Miss World contestants stayed, it takes me back to my 18-year-old self looking out into the big city and feeling daunted by what the day might hold. Now on the other side of 35, I'm good to say it's okay to chill out.
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You wrote a very candid memoir, what made you ready to share your life?
I think that coming into my 30s gave me a sense of self and of self-assuredness that I didn't have in my twenties. I also think I’m in a place of being content with my life and not insecure about the things that held me down.
You wrote about very personal things like racism, grief and love…
I reached a point when I realised I've been a public person half of my life and I still hold the power in my own hands. I choose how much I want to share with the world and much I want to hold on to myself. That gave me a lot of confidence to share things that aren't daunting to me anymore. These are things I have dealt with. It was very cathartic and I recommend keeping a journal to everybody. It helps you think about everything that you've been through.
How will you look back on the past year?
Lockdown forced me to stay still for the first time in a long time and I definitely want to hold onto that. I had taken so much for granted because I was running so fast.
Then suddenly everyone was on the same level playing field, and the fact that I could stay with my family and stay healthy was a massive privilege. I don’t think I have ever felt so much gratitude in my life.
You called your memoir Unfinished because your story is only getting started..
Actually it’s more than I’m not ready for it to end. [laughs] I also believe we put too much pressure on ourselves to perfectly tie a bow on every choice that we make. I've left a lot of things unfinished in my life – if things are not assets to the trajectory of my life anymore, I'm happy to leave them behind.
I feel like I'm someone who has a thirst for life. I love evolution and I'm really curious to see what else life has in store for me next.
You went to Hollywood determined not to be a stereotype..
I do feel I've been able to do that because I demanded to play roles that were not specific boxes that I usually saw South Asian characters being put into, and I demanded roles with something to say. I think I really knocked down the door and demanded for it to shift.
But I was working at a time when a lot of other people were demanding inclusivity and diversity, so being amongst a pack of really loud voices really helped me. It wasn't the easiest. I had to play more ethnically ambiguous parts initially.
After a few years, when people were like, ‘okay, she's not that different’ [laughs] then I could really demand roles where my ethnicity popped. That's what it took to get a seat at the table.
What advice do you have for aspiring starlets?
The one thing I’ll say, it’s a grind. It looks glamorous and it sounds like it's just about red carpets and designer clothes, but it’s a grind.
Today for example, I have been in water all day, being hit by waves for the entire day, and even though it’ll last two minutes in the movie, I am filming it for multiple days. Being a part of this industry is really about putting in the work.
You tried to lighten your skin as a teen. Does that make fronting Max Factor’s Facefinity foundation especially personal?
There was such an equity put on lighter skin where I came from. When I was a teenager, definitely the lighter skin you had, the prettier you were.
I remember all the “natural” and “nude” skin tones in make-up at that time were all for light skin. The foundations I used to use were probably for someone with skin 20 shades lighter than me, but that was just what you got.
So it’s really empowering to see a brand like Max Factor, with so much legacy, having shades for darker skin, lighter skin, different tones, and being so inclusive.
Is there a day in your life when you felt your most beautiful?
It would be my wedding. I think the universe was in the right place and I felt my most confident and my most beautiful. It was a really magical day, being surrounded by all the most important people in my life.
I wasn't even thinking about how I looked, I was just in the moment but looking at my photo now I can see I did feel my most beautiful. I was feeling so happy and confident and that's what shows.
Do you love being in your 30s?
Oh my 30s are the best! You lose the insecurities of the 20s, and you come into a place when you're young enough to be stupid but old enough know better. So I can say: "Today I’m going to be stupid and I know I’m going to regret it but it’s my choice!"
And you’re clearly ultra-confident now too..
I just feel like I’ve found it in having lived life. Confidence isn't something that you're born with. You're not supposed to always have it, and actually you don't always need it. To me, it’s like your favourite lipstick.
There are days when you might need a lot of it. There are days when you don't need any of it. It is okay to be vulnerable. And that is how I treat confidence, as something you hone and keep with you. And when you need it, you pull it out. It’s like a super-power.
How do you manage to stay grounded when you're so famous?
Well, my family. If I ever bring fame into the house, my mum will slap me on the back of the head and be like “that kind of thing is not allowed in my house!” [laughs]
We live when my job stops. Work is my work and my home is my home. Everything inside my home is rather normal. Other things take priority. Like ‘Oh my gosh, the dog pooped on the carpet.” That’s the reality!
Priyanka’s beauty must-haves
Max Factor FaceFinity All-Day Flawless Foundation, buy it here for £13.99 at Superdrug
I have a very busy life and I usually do my makeup in the car so I love this because it has a primer, concealer and foundation all in one. It has the coverage I look for but feels light.
I took my skin for granted for the longest time in my 20s, and as I entered by 30s protecting it properly swiftly became a big priority. SPF is something I’ve now woven into my skincare regime.
Augustinus Bader Cream Cleansing Gel, buy it here for £20
In my 20s I was super casual about makeup removal, but in my 30s I spend time making sure my skin is squeaky clean before bed.
111Skin Celestil Black Diamond Serum, buy it here for £360
I apply this at bedtime, followed by Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream and 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Cream.
Max Factor Divine Lashes Mascara, buy it here for £11.99
I do not like mascaras that give you spider eyes after the first coat. This one gives max length, amazing volume, but at your own pace as you layer it.
Priyanka Chopra-Jonas is the new global ambassador for Max Factor and wear FaceFinity All-Day Flawless Foundation in shade Warm Caramel
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