Priyanka Chopra said she was the victim of racist bullies while a student in the United States.
In her upcoming memoir “Unfinished” (via People), the 38-year-old actress, who was born in India, writes that she decided at age 12 to live with extended family in Newton, Mass., where she experienced such harsh bullying that she returned to India to finish her schooling.
According to an excerpt shared with People, Chopra says students hurled insults like, “Brownie, go back to your country!,” and, “Go back on the elephant you came on,” while she walked down the halls. She said that she reached out for help, but even her guidance counselor couldn’t provide relief.
“I don’t even blame the city, honestly,” she writes. “I just think it was girls who, at that age, just want to say something that’ll hurt. Now, at the other side of 35, I can say that it probably comes from a place of them being insecure. But at that time, I took it very personally.”
Chopra soon decided to “break up with America” and upon her return to India she was “so blessed … I was surrounded by so much love and admiration for who I was. Going back to India healed me after that experience in high school.”
“In America, I was trying not to be different,” she adds in the book. “Right? I was trying to fit in and I wanted to be invisible. When I went to India, I chose to be different.”
In an interview with People, she elaborated, “I took it very personally. Deep inside, it starts gnawing at you. I went into a shell. I was like, ‘Don’t look at me. I just want to be invisible.’ My confidence was stripped. I’ve always considered myself a confident person, but I was very unsure of where I stood, of who I was.”
Her memoir is set to be released on Feb. 9.