The star opened up about her father’s impact on her life. “When I was little, my dad used to call me ‘Bandarella’, because I was a mess—a Bandar is a monkey in Hindi. I was not a girly-girl and would always break something and would be running around and didn’t really fit in. And he would tell me, ‘Don’t worry about fitting into a glass slipper; shatter the glass ceiling.’ I lost my dad two years ago to cancer, and before he died, I asked him to write ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ on a piece of paper for me. I told him it was for an album. He practiced and practiced and then sent it to me and I had it tattooed onto my wrist and surprised him with it. He cried when he saw it, happy tears. This way, I always carry him with me,” she said.
The star also opened up about the current state of television when she said:”The strongest content is ALL on television right now. And, happily, there are strong, amazing characters for women. Quantico is a huge example of that. When was the last time you saw a hijab-wearing, ballsy, badass, unapologetic, flirtatious female FBI agent in a film? Movies are now so much about the entertainment. They’re all big blockbusters. And I love them, don’t get me wrong, but the writing has all gone to television.”
While the actress first found fame in India, she doesn’t consider herself a “Bollywood” celebrity. “I’m proud of being Indian, but I don’t think I need to be labeled based on where I am from. It’s divisive in many ways, and we’re already so divided. By saying ‘Bollywood’—first of all, we’re not an offshoot of Hollywood, we’re the Indian film industry that produces a tremendous array of films every year—it’s using a word that encapsulates a stereotype of what we are. And we don’t really do that with any other countries. We don’t say, ‘Spanish celebrity Penelope Cruz‘ or ‘Italian star Sophia Loren.’ So why make it a defining point for me? I’m trying to be global and trying to push us, as a society, to becoming colorblind, and so I’m very grateful to ABC for casting me in Quantico. It was based on my merit, not on my ethnicity. The part wasn’t written for an Indian girl, it was just written for an ass-kicking, mess of a girl, and I happen to portray her best,” she said.
For more from Priyanka, be sure to scoop up the April issue of Esquire.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.