Why we felt she needed to be included in this list: As a longtime activist and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra Jonas highlights social issues through her ambassador role as well as through her film company, Purple Pebble Pictures, giving a voice to the marginalized.
Well known for being crowned Miss World, taking over Bollywood, and then venturing into Hollywood, first as a singer and then breaking barriers as the first South Asian woman to lead a prime-time network show in the U.S. with Quantico. Priyanka Chopra Jonas is also becoming known for her extensive philanthropy work.
The Hollywood A-lister fights tirelessly to promote social causes such as environment, health and education. An outspoken feminist, she is particularly passionate about women’s rights and gender equality. While championing for girls around the world, she also speaks out on social media on issues relating to the lack of opportunities in film and television for women, and especially women of colour.
As her career was taking off, Chopra learned that the son of her family’s housekeeper was in school but the daughter was not, so she stepped up and covered the girl’s tuition. She has since founded The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education, providing education and medical help to underprivileged children across India, and donates 10 per cent of her earnings to the nonprofit.
She has worked with UNICEF since 2006 and in 2010, Chopra was appointed a UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador for child’s rights, where she worked to advance the rights of young children and youth across the world through various campaigns and advertisements. She was involved in the “Deepshikha” campaign, which offered financial education and leadership training to approximately 65,000 young women in Maharashtra, India.
In 2013, Chopra joined the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, which works to empower young girls and enable them to reach their potential by getting them access to education and medical attention. She is also one of the narrators, alongside Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and Liam Neeson, of the documentary film Girl Rising, which follows nine girls from around the world as they face obstacles ranging from child marriage to child slavery, as they attempt to receive an education. In 2016, Chopra went on to be named UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador and continues her work to educate and empower the girl child across the world, with a focus on India.
Wanting to give equal opportunity to those who find it difficult to bring their visions and stories to life, Chopra began Purple Pebble Pictures with her mother, Dr. Madhu Chopra, in 2015, as a way to empower people who may not otherwise get an opportunity. The mission of the company is to tell stories, promote small-budget, regional films, and bring in new talents to the industry. The company produced the critically acclaimed comedy-drama Ventilator (2016), which earned several accolades including three National Film Awards. In 2019, the company’s fourth Marathi film, Paani, won the National Film Award for Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation. Their film The Sky Is Pink, an Indian Hindi-language biographical film, premiered this year at the Toronto International Film festival. The film is based on the love story of a couple spanning 25 years, told through the lens of their teenage daughter who was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. The company announced their plans to start producing small budget Hollywood films as well, with a project on racism underway. A children’s film based on stray dogs is also under works.
Amongst all the awards she has received for acting, in 2016, she also received India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, for taking Indian cinema and talent to another level. The following year she was awarded the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice by the Harmony Foundation, she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, and she was named in the top 100 of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes two years in a row. This December, the actress will receive the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award at this year’s UNICEF Snowflake Ball in recognition of her charitable endeavors.
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Main Image Photo Credit: www.blogs.tribune.com.pk