As desis, we’ve seen this happen a few times. It happened once with Shah Rukh Khan and before that, Aishwarya Rai: Journalists at U.S. publications insist that nobody in the U.S. has ever heard of these superstars. It’s a strange assumption — because there are people in the U.S., of South Asian descent or otherwise, who have grown up watching Bollywood. In our communities, household names like Khan, Rai, and Priyanka Chopra have coexisted in our collective consciousness alongside George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Lopez.
Effective immediately, we’re placing a moratorium on using the qualifier “never heard of” — or any variation thereof — on articles about Chopra’s superstardom. Many of us, American residents and all, know her body of work well. It’s simply that many of the 1 percent of folks shaping culture in editorial positions have themselves never heard of Chopra — and so they assume nobody else would’ve either. And while we know media diversity is a recurring issue, a blog post about Quantico or Chopra’s acting chops isn’t the stage to inadvertently showcase it.
So for the journalists among us who themselves don’t know Priyanka Chopra’s work — and can’t be bothered to Wikipedia, YouTube, and Netflix it (seriously, it’s that easy), The Aerogram’s here to help you out! Here are nine pointers that even the most rushed or uninterested journalist can use while writing about the international superstar, without needing to do (much) research! We’ll ooh and ahh at how great the finished product is.
1. Chopra has nearly 11M Twitter followers. This is more than President Obama, and almost as many as Beyoncé. At this point, she’s doing ABC a favor by bringing her enormous, built-in fan base to Quantico.
2. She’s capable of Oscar-caliber performances. Did you catch 2012’s Barfi!? Chopra stars as a young autistic woman whose family has given up on her — and she owns the role. It’s recommended viewing before you dive into Quantico — because it shows you Chopra’s full range as a thespian. Actually films like Barfi are why even if Quantico fizzles after a few episodes, Chopra’s star will probably continue to shine brighter than those of most Hollywood stars’. Pro-tip: It’s on Netflix now.
3. She had a fleeting interest in pop music. Her foray into pop yielded all-star collaborations with will.i.am and Pitbull and even a music video opposite Jess from Gilmore Girls.
4. The incomporable P.C. is a triple threat! She acts, sings, and dances in 2015’s Dil Dhadakne Do — and sure Hindi is not a language native to most U.S. media outlets, but editors! reporters! do your readers a favor and remember to embed the title number from this film.
5. She’s chill af. Seriously. Read Vanessa Golembowski’s interview with her at Refinery29–by the way, Golembowski totally gets how to write about a star like Chopra, so make sure to take notes, too!
6. Resist the urge to say “for U.S. audiences.” Seriously. Hi, I’m part of your U.S. So is a large part of The Aerogram’s readership. But we all know who Chopra is (we may not all share my enthusiasm for her, but that’s another post altogether!) You could try “mainstream audiences” instead–this would be more accurate.
7. Avoid gross adjectives. Don’t describe Chopra as “exotic” (I mean yes, she called herself that once, but she’s allowed to.) While we’re at it, other words you can avoid using include “Eastern”, “smoky”, “mysterious”, “enigmatic”, or “alluring.” Basically, don’t be a creep.
8. Do talk about her love for Tupac. Chopra is awesome for a lot of reasons and her love for Tupac? Chief among them–so play. that. up.
9. Talk about what other Bollywood projects she has in the pipeline. We all know that journalists fail at their jobs when they don’t cover the whole story. With Chopra, Quantico is one piece of a brilliantly multi-faceted entertainment pie. Just because the other pieces might not be produced in English doesn’t make them news. So ask her about it.
Rohin Guha is an editor at The Aerogram. Talk to him on Twitter, if you’d like.