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Priyanka Chopra Jonas comes from a culture that doesn’t exactly encourage women to talk publicly about their personal lives—much less publish books about them. Therefore, when Chopra Jonas thought about writing her memoir, her plan was to let people read between the lines.
“I started the process in early 2020 thinking I would talk about my achievements, my laurels, give advice to my younger self—that sort of thing. I thought I would scratch the surface and skim over the more difficult parts of my life.”
She added: “The process became more like writing in a journal. As I started thinking about everything, writing became a dissection of my emotions, my failures, and my pain. There was so much that flowed out of me that I hadn’t thought about in years or even realized that I remembered.”
The task of immersing herself completely into Unfinished, her autobiography, came at the right time. “I was approaching 20 years of being in the entertainment industry and it was something I personally wanted to acknowledge.”
The child of military doctors, Chopra Jonas grew up moving from one army base to the next. Boarding school was an emotional place Chopra Jonas felt she needed to revisit. It gave independence and at 13, during her first-abroad trip to the US, she felt America could offer the brand of freedom she was looking for.
She wasn’t afraid of being away from home this time, like her Indian boarding school, but she wasn’t prepared for the bullying and racism that cast a shadow over her new life. During her sophomore year in Newton, Massachusetts, a peer in the ninth grade and her squad of “hecklers” started targeting Chopra Jonas.
She tried to manage the situation by herself for a year, but her self-esteem suffered. “I was tired of being pushed around and seeing vile things written about me in the girls’ bathroom. She called her mother and told her she wanted to come home. “I broke up with America.”
When her father passed away from cancer in 2013, Chopra Jonas says she never really examined or dealt with her grief, which resulted in a depression that surfaced a few years later.
“Instead I just powered through it. Distracting myself with work has always been my modus operandi. Any kind of heartache, failure, grief, or loss—I always just turned to my work. Work engulfed me whenever I needed it to. I was like an ostrich: I always just buried my head in the sand.”
There was one notable bright spot during Chopra Jonas’ intermission from life, was when she met Nick Jonas, the singer-songwriter, now her husband.
Reflecting on her past through her book was a healing process. “For once in my life, I allowed myself to feel the feelings that I should have felt at the time.”
Chopra, however, was terrified about her book release. “It is still fresh in my mind especially since I just finished listening to the audio version. The whole time I was thinking, Oh my God, how am I even talking about these things? But you know what? It’s okay. I understand that I can’t always be in control of everything. It’s also too late to stop the presses.”
Source: Elle magazine