Priyanka Chopra Jonas: Racist bullying left me unsure of who I am
Priyanka Chopra Jonas says racist bullying when she was a teenager left her “very unsure of who [she] was”.
The 38-year-old actress was born in India, but moved to America when she was 12 to live with her extended family, where she enrolled in an American high school.
And Priyanka has now revealed she was subjected to racially motivated bullying whilst at the school when she was a teenager, which she “took very personally”, and left her without any self-confidence.
She said: “I took it very personally. Deep inside, it starts gnawing at you. I went into a shell. I was like, ‘Don’t look at me. I just want to be invisible.’ My confidence was stripped. I’ve always considered myself a confident person, but I was very unsure of where I stood, of who I was.”
The ‘Baywatch’ star and her relatives moved from New York City to Indianapolis before settling in Newton, Massachusetts, where Priyanka’s experience with bullying got even worse.
She added: “I don’t even blame the city, honestly. I just think it was girls who, at that age, just want to say something that’ll hurt. Now, at the other side of 35, I can say that it probably comes from a place of them being insecure. But at that time, I took it very personally.”
Priyanka found the experience so harrowing that she decided to move back to India, where she was able to “heal” and regain her confidence.
She said: “I was so blessed that when I went back to India, I was surrounded by so much love and admiration for who I was. Going back to India healed me after that experience in high school.
“In America, I was trying not to be different. Right? I was trying to fit in and I wanted to be invisible. When I went to India, I chose to be different.”
Priyanka opens up about her experience in her upcoming memoir, ‘Unfinished’, and says she wanted to write the book in order to help others who have been bullied or are battling the resulting “sadness” and low self-esteem that she experienced.
She told People magazine: “Insecurity becomes small as soon as you talk about it with someone you trust: A therapist, a counsellor. I feel like a lot of people spend their time when they’re feeling dark [in isolation]. That’s the worst thing to do, is to feel sad alone.
“Sadness is very seductive. It sucks you in and you want to just wallow in it because it feels comfortable and warm – and light is harsh sometimes. [But] you have to look at it, you squint. [The light is] a lot, but it gives you life. It gives you joy. We have the choice, most of the time, to step out of the darkness ourselves. The best way I’ve found of doing it is talking to people who care.”
This article originally ran on celebretainment.com.