Priyanka Chopra wants the world to rethink how it sees beauty.
The first time I heard of Priyanka Chopra, my father had informed me that Miss India had become Miss World 2000. It was official: A South Asian woman (and not even the first) had been declared the most beautiful woman on the planet. Having immigrated to the United States and often longed for their lives back home, my parents celebrated whenever they saw a South Asian on the international stage.
I wasn’t quite so ecstatic. Really? I thought. Women can be doctors, engineers, lawyers, even the president, and we’re celebrating a pageant winner? But the knee-jerk judgement I was verbalising masked something deeper: A late bloomer who had evolved into an awkward 21-year-old, I had no firsthand experience with having my brown skin, black hair, and dark eyes measured against Eurocentric standards of beauty and deemed “beautiful.” And even through my veneer of righteous feminist indignation at the news of Chopra’s win, I couldn’t help but feel more visible.
“We’re twinning, again!” a voice yells at me from halfway across the top floor café at Bergdorf Goodman.
Priyanka Chopra is making her way towards me when a table full of women stop her—one claiming it’s her birthday—to ask for a quick selfie. Chopra obliges, flashing the seasoned smile of someone who’s been recognisably famous for nearly two decades.
In a cream-coloured top that reveals the tops of her shoulders and a maxi length beige skirt with a high slit, she looks like a literal goddess. Thick gold hoops peek out from under her voluminous, balay age-highlighted hair. She’s wearing a berry lip and a purplish-red, shiny eyelid and when I compliment her appearance, she informs me that she’s just come from a shoot.
Yeah, twins, I think to myself. That’s exactly what we are. But, I laugh because I’m also wearing an off-white silk top, a berry lip, and gold hoops. This isn’t the first time Chopra and I have met, and the reason she’s calling us twins is because it’s also not the first time we’ve worn the same outfit. The last time, we both showed up in head to-toe red with Ruby Woo lips to match, but Chopra simply did some variation of a “yas, queen!” and we both giggled.
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