Priyanka Chopra Early Life
Priyanka Chopra was born on 18 July 1982 in Jamshedpur, Bihar (present-day Jharkhand), to Ashok and Madhu Chopra, both physicians in the Indian Army. Her father was a Punjabi Hindu from Ambala. Her mother Madhu Chopra from Jharkhand, is the eldest daughter of Dr. Manohar Kishan Akhouri, a former Congress veteran, and Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri (née Mary John), a former member of Bihar Legislative Assembly. Her late maternal grandmother, Mrs. Akhouri was a Jacobite Syrian Christian originally named Mary John, belonging to the Kavalappara family of Kumarakom, Kottayam district, Kerala. Chopra has a brother, Siddharth, who is seven years her junior. Bollywood actresses Parineeti Chopra, Meera Chopra and Mannara Chopra are cousins.
Due to her parents’ professions as military physicians, the family was posted in a number of places in India, including Delhi, Chandigarh, Ambala, Ladakh, Lucknow, Bareilly, and Pune. Among the schools she attended were La Martiniere Girls’ School in Lucknow and St. Maria Goretti College in Bareilly. In an interview published in Daily News and Analysis, Chopra said that she did not mind travelling regularly and changing schools; she welcomed it as a new experience and a way to discover India’s multicultural society. Among the many places that she lived, Chopra has fond memories as a child of playing in the valleys of Leh, in the cold northwestern Indian desert region of Ladakh. She has said, “I think I was in Class 4 when I was in Leh. My brother was just born. My dad was in the army and was posted there. I stayed in Leh for a year and my memories of that place are tremendous. We were all army kids there. We weren’t living in houses, we were in bunkers in the valley and there was a stupa right on top of a hill which used to overlook our valley. We used to race up to the top of the stupa”. She now considers Bareilly her home town, and maintains strong connections there.
At 13, Chopra moved to the United States to study, living with her aunt, and attending schools in Newton, Massachusetts, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after a stop in Queens, New York, as her aunt’s family also moved frequently.] While in Massachusetts, she participated in several theatre productions, and studied Western classical music, and choral singing. During her teenage years in the United States, Chopra sometimes faced racial issues and was bullied for being Indian by an African-American classmate. She has said, “I was a gawky kid, had low self-esteem, came from a modest middle-class background, had white marks on my legs. But I was damn hard working. Today, my legs sell 12 brands.” After three years, Chopra returned to India, finishing the senior year of her high-school education at the Army Public School in Bareilly.
During this period, she won the local May Queen beauty pageant, after which she was pursued by admirers; her family equipped their home with bars for her protection. Her mother entered her in the Femina Miss India contest of 2000; she finished second, winning the Femina Miss India World title. Chopra next won the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania at the Millennium Dome in London on 30 November 2000. Chopra was the fifth Indian contestant to win Miss World, and the fourth to do so within seven years. She had enrolled in college, but left after winning the Miss World pageant. Chopra said that the Miss India and Miss World titles brought her recognition, and she began receiving offers for film roles.