Priyanka Chopra is one of the biggest movie stars on this earth. She sings, she dances, she smolders. Revered by men, idolized by woman. There are parts of the world she physically cannot walk down the street she's so famous.
And you've probably never heard of her. But, is that about to change.
Chopra, arguably India's most famous woman, is a 31-year-old Bollywood sensation and former Miss World who just arrived in Los Angeles, hoping to crack America, hoping to become America's next big pop star.
“I'm trying to bring pop music an interesting twist of some chicken tikka masala,” she laughs.
She’s collaborating with some glamorous new friends -- hip hop superstar Pit Bull and hit machine will.i.am.
“It's super tricky,” said Chopra. “I'm trying not to be American, I'm trying not to be Indian. I don't know what that is but I'm an artist, an actor and I'm a musician. And whatever that turns out to be, whatever music that I make, it will be for who I am not because I am Indian or not because I am American or somewhere in the middle.”
ABC News “Nightline” correspondent Nick Watt was with her at the studio while she lays down a Robin Thicke duet and polishes her new solo single.
“What worries me, and what I'm really afraid of is it’s scary to go into a completely new culture and see if what you are all about will be accepted or not.”
She's a hands-on perfectionist because the stakes couldn't be higher. This could be her one and only shot. Of course, this is a struggling pop star story with a big difference. She’s already parlayed her international fame into a Guess Jeans contract as well as a spot in the open of NFL's Thursday Night Football. How American.
The P.R. blitz is working. But the goal is still some way off: taking a Bollywood heroine and molding her into America's Sweetheart. Actually, not that much of stretch, she's familiar with American culture.
She went to high school in Massachusetts. But went home to India, where she quickly became a beauty queen and was crowned Miss World in 2000.
“I had some major racist issues when I was in school and it really got to me,” recalled Chopra. “It was just this one girl who hated me. She was just really evil to me. She hated me and she had a coterie of like 10 girls who were like these bad ass girls who would throw people in the lockers when they walk.”
Times have changed. But perhaps only so much. Look what happened when Nina Davuluri, of Indian descent, recently won the Miss America pageant. A Twitter tirade of racist abuse.
“Miss America got the big brunt of it because she was called Miss America,” said Chopra. “But what is Miss America? America is a melting pot of every culture. I think I've been a famous person for long enough to know that you can't please everyone. As many people hate you, there are that many who love you. And they are bound to exist. And they are bound to say this is my country and I want it to be the way I want it, which is absolutely fine too. You have to be accepting of all kinds of people and then life is just easier.”
Chopra’s smart, beautiful, talented and funny. But so are a lot of American wannabe pop stars and actresses.
“Well, they say America is a land of dreams and I've come here with wanting to be the best that I can be,” she said.
Chopra sounds American already.
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