Priyanka Chopra Defends Beauty Pageants Despite Its Problematic Influence

Priyanka Chopra has achieved a lot during the course of her career. She has been a singing star, a Bollywood icon, a television actress, and an activist. Most recently, she married Nick Jonas a grand, multi-day ceremony.

Chopra is never afraid to speak out on causes or subjects that matter to her, and recently, she raised some eyebrows when she defended beauty pageants. Pageants have long been controversial among feminists, and many believe that they should be canceled entirely — but Chopra doesn’t agree. 

Priyanka Chopra’s beauty pageant beginnings

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Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore, March 2020

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Priyanka Chopra was born in India in 1982. Her parents worked in the military as doctors, so young Chopra moved a lot as a child. She studied in the United States as a teenager, attending school in both Massachusetts and New York.

These days, Chopra is known as a great beauty. However, as a teenager, she was bullied and later admitted that she suffered racist treatment while in high school. Chopra describes her teenage self as “gawky” and stated that her middle-class background also led to issues with her classmates.

After a few years in the United States, Chopra moved back to India to be with her parents. It was in her later teenage years that Chopra began entering beauty pageants. She entered and won second place in the Femina Miss India World pageant in 2000, going on to enter and win the Miss World pageant.

She quickly earned fame in the beauty pageant world, becoming well-known for her incredible beauty. Her parents even had to put bars on the windows at their house in order to keep impassioned suitors well at bay. 

Priyanka Chopra is a proud feminist

Priyanka Chopra attends the CHANEL Dinner
Priyanka Chopra attends the CHANEL Dinner | Rich Fury/Getty Images

After making a name for herself as a beauty pageant winner, Chopra went on to become a star in Bollywood films. She appeared in many films throughout the early 2000s, before making the switch to Hollywood roles in 2015.

Her first major role in the United States was in the television series Quantico. She has since appeared in many different film and television projects and has even received some acclaim as a singer, although she hasn’t sung professionally in some years. 

Chopra is also an outspoken activist on behalf of many feminist causes. She has had a long time working relationship with UNICEF and describes herself as a feminist. In 2017, Chopra had this to say about feminism and the way she spends her days: “I’m unapologetic about the way I live my life. That’s what we say as feminists, right? We want to be able to enjoy the same freedoms as men have.”

In spite of her feminism, a few people have taken issue with Chopra’s relentless defense of beauty pageants.

Why does Priyanka Chopra defend beauty pageants?

Feminists have long had a problem with the beauty pageant industry, claiming that the shows seemingly praise women solely for the way that they look. However, Chopra doesn’t agree with the criticism of pageants.

In a recent interview, Chopra claimed that she’s proud of her career in beauty pageants, stating that her win as Miss World “gave [her] a trampoline to my acting career.”

“It gave me a sense of self, a sense of confidence to be able to stand in front of heads of state, to be able to speak in front of media from around the world, and actually know what I’m talking about,” said Chopra.

These days, Chopra has moved on to some major projects and has found happiness with Jonas. But it is clear that she remains proud of her past, and of the unconventional way that she rose to the top.