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How Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra Cultivated a ‘Personal Mafia’ on Social Media

And why the Bollywood star was skeptical about doing TV

Chopra says her millions of Twitter and Instagram followers are “supremely supportive.” Jason Merritt/Getty Images


Specs
Age 33
Claim to fame Bollywood superstar and former Miss World; now stars as Alex Parrish on ABC's Quantico (Sundays, 10 p.m.)
Base Los Angeles, New York and Mumbai
Twitter @priyankachopra

Adweek: You're really active on social media. Which apps do you use most?
Priyanka Chopra: Twitter and Instagram. I'm a techie, and I started using Twitter when it was just about new in India. I love Instagram because I'm visual, and I like to share what I'm thinking with pictures.

You've got almost 13 million Twitter followers and 5 million Instagram followers. What's your approach to managing them and keeping them engaged?
I don't manage them. I don't think that's what social media should be about. Social media is me talking about what I'm thinking and what I'm feeling. I don't write what I do for attention. I'm really grateful for the followers that I have because they're like my own personal mafia! They're extremely engaged, very loving and supremely supportive.

Do you have any time to watch TV?
I'm obsessed with TV. When I'm sitting in glam, I don't have the patience for hair and makeup. That's when I catch up on all my TV, or at night, before I go to bed. I'm watching Narcos, Making a Murderer, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Empire, Castle … All of that good stuff.

Any favorite apps on your phone?
I recently quit Candy Crush. There's a game called 1010!, which is brainless, but super fun.

Quantico just came back after a three-month hiatus. Did it seem like it had been a long time since the show was on the air?
We're still filming, so it doesn't feel like a break at all for us, but for the audience, it's been really annoying. When I landed in L.A. for the SAG Awards, one of the immigration officers told me that he wouldn't stamp my passport until I told him who the terrorist is [on the show]. [Laughs] But we're coming back better and stronger.

You can breathe easy now that Quantico is a hit, but how nervous were you in the fall when your face was plastered everywhere at a time when many Americans had no idea who you were?
I was skeptical, I will be honest. I come from an extremely prolific film industry. It's a huge demographic and a huge audience which sees me a certain way. And I was a little nervous about whether the world was ready for someone who looks like me to lead a show because I hadn't seen that happen before me. I'm so grateful that the world has opened up to this great content now, and it doesn't matter what your protagonist looks like, as long as you're telling a great story and they're an incredible character.

You're now filming Quantico in Montreal while also shooting the upcoming Baywatch movie in Miami. How are you juggling two full-time jobs?
Nothing's a full-time job as long as you love it. Last year, while I was shooting the first half of Quantico's season in Montreal, I was filming a Hindi movie back home in India. I would fly every Friday, land Sunday morning, shoot a scene Sunday and then fly back Sunday night and arrive Monday morning to shoot Quantico. So if I can do it in India, Miami is easy!

This story first appeared in the March 7 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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