The cover shows Chopra leaning on a balcony while wearing a white tank top with the words "refugee," "immigrant," and "outsider" crossed out, leaving the remaining word "traveller."
The sixth anniversary issue of the magazine's Indian edition came out on Oct. 7, and subsequently received backlash on social media for its "insensitivity" to refugees -- but the Quantico star insists that wasn't the intention.
In an interview that aired Monday on Indian news network NDTV, Chopra apologized, explaining that Conde Nast "specially got this [T-shirt] made and implored me to wear it. They said they were addressing xenophobia, which is a big issue that is happening."
"I am really, really apologetic about the fact that so many sentiments were hurt…Of all people, I'm someone who always stands for no labels. I'm someone who stands for people being able to do what they have to do, when they have to do it, without being put in a box," she said, adding that she was "really affected [by the backlash], I felt really horrible."
"The point the magazine wanted to make was actually something good," Chopra said.
Conde Nast also published a statement on their website, attempting to clarify the intended message behind the cover's controversial tee.
"It's about how our labeling of people as immigrants, refugees and outsiders is creating a culture of xenophobia," the statement read. "It's about how we are allowing some powerful leaders to build barriers that make it more difficult for bright, motivated and hardworking people to see more of the world, learn from it and make it better for us all."
The statement concluded that the cover wasn't about Chopra "being a refugee or immigrant or outsider; it's about her, like us, recognizing the power of travel, and joining us in asking everyone to do better for each other."