Priyanka Chopra Jonas is a name that needs no introduction. The former Miss World India turned Bollywood star has officially conquered Hollywood—she stars in Amazon Prime Video’s Citadel, out tomorrow—and is at the helm of Anomaly, now the second-richest celebrity beauty brand. In an interview with Hoda Kotb for TODAY, she shared insights into her personal and professional life, including her journey with body image and mental health, and left readers inspired by her refreshing—and relatable—honesty.
From her humble beginnings in the world of acting to her marriage with Nick Jonas and her latest role as mother to daughter Malti Marie, Priyanka bared it all in the candid conversation. When asked to pinpoint a time when she faced her most difficult challenges with her body, the actress and entrepreneur pointed back to her thirties, a time shortly after the passing of her father.
“The 30s were kind of tumultuous for me when it came to my body. As you grow, and your body’s changing, I was going from this 20’s body where your metabolism is at its highest, and then you reach your mid-30s and you’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t skip a meal and it’ll just look great.’ You can’t do that. You can’t just work out for four days and come back to your pre-vacation body. But I think that the standards of beauty in the industry are, especially for women, extremely skewed. And I’ve spoken about this tremendously.”
Chopra Jonas explains that time in her life was a dark one for many reasons. “My dad passed away, I had moved countries, I had come to America, I was filming Quantico, and didn’t have many friends. I was in New York, I felt a lack of community, I would emotionally eat, I would emotionally drink. I wasn’t taking care of myself in the best possible way. And it had nothing to do with how people perceived me. But I perceived myself as not the best version of myself. It was a really tough time for me to be able to say, ‘Alright, I’m gonna do what’s good for my body,’ because emotionally I wasn’t there. And I think that’s okay.”
The actress and entrepreneur says she’s come to make peace with the time in her life. “I’ve thought about that phase in my life a lot, and my body needed to mourn. My heart needed to mourn. And I needed pizzas to do it. I allowed myself to do that. Pizza and a bottle of wine and a s***ty movie. My heart needed it. I did it for a while, and then I reached a point where I knew that bottom had been hit and that now the only way was up. And I started taking one step, and another step. Maybe going to the gym two times, or maybe even walking for breakfast or starting to find my health again— my mental and physical health. Trying to reach out to friends, friends had stopped inviting me to things because I would never go, I just wanted to go home and just hide. And then slowly I would say yes, or I would reach out to someone.”
For anyone reading or listening to her story, Chopra Jonas offers up some solid words of advice. “I started choosing myself instead of the darkness that is seductive, and that kind of reaches out for you sometimes and that can happen to anyone at anytime.
As soon as you choose what’s good for you and stop waiting for somebody else to be that hand to pull you out of it, it’s a very powerful thing.”