Priyanka Chopra has spoken honestly about how instances of racist bullying caused her to leave the US as a teenager and return to her birthplace of India.
In a recent interview with People, the actress discussed her forthcoming memoir Unfinished (published on 9 February) in which she details her childhood, beauty pageant days, acting career, and marriage to singer Nick Jonas.
Speaking about the bullying she endured as a teenager, the star 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."
Chopra was born in Jamshedpur, India and moved to New York City to live with her relatives at the age of 12. She later moved to Newton, Massachusetts where her experience of bullying intensified. At one point it became so debilitating, that she returned to India to finish her secondary education.
"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," she explained.
"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."
Speaking about her decision to pen her memoir, she told the publication that she felt compelled to open up about her life experiences in order to help others who have experienced bullying and moments of low self-esteem.
She said: "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."
Looking back at her time at school in the US and bullying, she reflected: "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."
In recent years, the actress and philanthropist has gone on to dominate Bollywood and Hollywood, following her debut on US screens in 2015, and marry Jonas in 2018.
The Miss World 2000 winner is currently filming her highly anticipated film Citadel, also starring Richard Madden, in London.
If you have experienced a hate crime or instances of bullying you don't have to remain alone. Here are some links to help provide you with support no matter the circumstance:
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999
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