EXCLUSIVE: Priyanka Chopra Stakes Her Claim in the US With 'Quantico'

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The Indian actress opens up to ET about her ABC drama and becoming the face of the network.

A worldwide sensation, Indian actress and singer Priyanka
Chopra has finally staked her claim in the United States with Quantico, the hit ABC drama about recruits
in the FBI Academy. As Alex Parrish, Chopra plays a promising agent whose world
is turned upside down when she’s framed for a large-scale terrorist attack on
New York City. The show feels like a mix between Homeland and Grey’s Anatomy
and probably would have a place in ABC’s TGIT lineup if it weren’t for the fact
that it’s not a Shonda Rhimes

While it’s not always easy for international stars to break
into the U.S., for Chopra, the toughest transition has been going from film to
TV work. The hours have been grueling, filming a 22-episode order, in addition
to mastering an American accent that blends her Indian heritage with her
character’s upbringing in Los Angeles, California. Oh yeah, and she also does
all her own stunts, with the scars and bruises to prove it. “I wear them like a
badge of honor,” Chopra says.

MORE: On Set With 'Quantico' Star Priyanka Chopra -- India's Angelina Jolie

Though, the toughest thing Chopra may have mastered is maintaining
an emotional balance amid all the show’s many twists, not getting lost in “shocka”
(as she calls it) of it all. One particular scene this season saw one of Alex’s
fellow FBI recruits killed in a surprise twist, sending Chopra’s character
running as she lost all sense of composure. “That was a very organic scene. We
had no lines, just direction,” she recalls. “So, it was very gratifying as an

“I’ve very fortunate to play a character that has moments
like that,” Chopra adds.

The success of the show has quickly made Chopra, who
recently won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actress in a New TV Series,
a household name as ABC has practically made her the face of the network. “You
know, I never really thought about it until it happened,” the 33-year-old
actress says of representing the network, alongside its more established stars
like Ellen Pompeo and Kerry Washington. And the fact that she’s Indian is not
lost on her: “To get this kind of platform and opportunity, it feels really
humbling, I have to be honest.”

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Of course, there’s no settling into complacency for the
actress. In addition to a second season, Chopra has been cast opposite Dwayne
Johnson and Zac Efron
as the (undoubtedly sexy) villain, Victoria Leeds, in the
film adaptation of Baywatch. “She’s a
b***h in couture,” she says.

While she doesn’t choose her work based on its location, she’s
trying to figure out a balance between Hollywood opportunities while also adding
to her long list of credits in Indian Cinema. “I hope in my next hiatus I will
be able to do one of each,” she says, referring to next season’s break. “I’m in
the process of trying to figure that out.”

In the meantime, Chopra has her sights set on season two of Quantico, excited to see where Alex
goes. “She’s grown a lot in season one, so I want to see what is expected of
her,” she says, promising even more twists and turns, as if to say there weren’t
enough shockas in season one.

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