PEOPLE unveils its third edition of India’s Best Dressed with Priyanka Chopra in Manish Malhotra on the cover AND at the Mercedes-Benz Best Dressed Show 2011 happening at The Grand Hyatt tonight! As for the cherry on top, MissMalini will be the only paparazzi allowed beyond the gold carpet into where the real action happens, yippee! Oh and because I love you (my dear blog readers) I held a contest for you to come too and now Yasmeen Mun and her pal will be joining me :) but first we’ll be getting glammed up courtesy b:blunt…
Psst! Check out exclusive excerpts from PCs People interview, just for you. xoxo
From “gawky teenager” to one of Bollywood’s most stylish stars, Priyanka’s lifestyle (and wardrobe!) has undergone dramatic changes since she debuted eight years ago. The actress talks about the transformation and reveals her style secrets to Sandipan Dalal.
How does it feel to be called India’s Best Dressed?
PC: Shocking (laughs)… because I’m more of a lazy dresser and the credit for being called India’s Best Dressed should go to my stylists. The only thing I know when I’m wearing an outfit is does it look good on me or not! But yes, I’m excited because I never thought I would get this title.
Growing up, did you always dress up?
PC: Yes. I always thought I was an ugly duckling. I was really skinny and I had long frizzy hair. So I used to dress up to look better but it never worked. I still think I’m a gawky teenager.
How did your upbringing affect your appearance?
PC: Dressing up was a big part of growing up in the army (her parents, Dr. Ashok and Dr. Madhu Chopra, were in the army). One always had to be well turned out. When kids met up at the sports complex in the evenings, everybody put their best foot forward. Even today I always shower, dress up and then step out of my room when my parents are at home.
You moved to the U.S. at 13. Did that affect your sense of style?
PC: My family, being conservative, would insist I wear XL size T-shirts and jeans to school which was really embarrassing. I remember I used to skip lunch and save up pocket money to pick up clothes on sale. I would keep the clothes in my locker and change into them after getting to school. My friends used to take the clothes to laundry so that was not a problem. When we were preparing to move back to India, my mom had come to clear out my locker and she was shocked to find only clothes and shoes instead of books!
As a teenager, who or what influenced your dress sense?
PC: When I was 15, I was influenced by pop bands like Destiny’s Child. In summers, I used to wear a lot of shorts and ripped denims with stuff written on them. In the winters, I wore big puffy jackets, tight jeans, big block heels and big hoops. Strangely, I was never crazy about films at that point. In my head I was very Puerto Rican and I used to dress like that in school. Of course, I had to change and come back home looking like a good Indian girl.
You moved back to India when you were 16. That must have impacted your life in a lot of ways?
PC: I moved back to Bareilly in Class 12. On the first day when I went to meet the principal of the army school there, everybody had gathered to figure out who I was because I had worn a loose T-shirt, tight jeans and six-inch heels. The next day I got into trouble for wearing nail polish and a skirt that was above my knees.
At what point did you decide to pursue modelling?
PC: While I was in Class 12, I had taken some pictures to apply for a scholarship programme in Australia. I was good at studies and I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. After taking pictures in a suit, the photographer said, ‘You are very pretty. Let me take more pictures of you.’ For me it was a chance to wear my clothes from the U.S. after a gap of almost eight months. Dad had confiscated them and I had been wearing salwar kurtas.
It was mom who sent those pictures to the Miss India contest. I only got to know when we got a call. So I took a break from my studies and tuitions and went to Delhi for a week. I didn’t know I’d get selected; then I went on to win Miss India and Miss World. It all happened when I was 17.
After you were shortlisted, did you undergo a change in your look?
PC: I had no sense of dressing. I didn’t know how to do make-up. So I just did what I was told to do. I learnt very quickly. I learnt how to hold a saree pallu and walk elegantly in it.
Miss India was a stepping-stone to modelling. I modeled for four months and then I won Miss World. And I signed my first film at 19.
When you entered Bollywood in 2003 that must have meant another seismic change in lifestyle and appearance. How did you cope with it all?
PC: I’d wear anything and everything that designers asked me to wear. Plus, I wore tons of accessories. Now, when I look back, I say, ‘What was I thinking?’ I made those mistakes because I was young and I didn’t come from a fashion background.
The most hurtful thing said about your appearance during that time?
PC: That I didn’t know clothes or style (laughs). Some papers wrote that I dressed funny, which I got used to…
Your wardrobe has undergone a transformation since then. How did that come about?
PC: It was only in 2006 when I started understanding what suited me and what didn’t. After doing Don (2006), I started dressing like my character and that kind of worked for me. I wore things that I was comfortable in. Plus, I took a minimalist approach. I really believe that less is more. I started working with multiple designers to see who made me look my best.
Just being aware of myself also helped to a great extent. Right kind of hair, make-up and costumes can make a huge difference. It’s bizarre how people say that I have gone through cosmetic surgeries when it has all to do with make-up. I used to wear four kgs. of make-up! With great make-up artists coming into my life, I started understanding it better and that changed my life. I started looking really different.
Your recent fashion buys?
PC: A whole range of Judith Leiber and Hermes bags and clutches in silver, gold and black. Lots of shoes… some from Fendi. I don’t like shopping myself so I hire a stylist to do it for me.
You are coming out with a pop album soon. Have you thought about what your look is going to be like?
PC: A team of people who have worked with the biggest pop divas are working on my look. So I’m not going to bother about it. I’m just focusing on the music. Also, I’m not going to completely change my look around as a billion people here know me. I can’t suddenly become Lady Gaga. I personally admire Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna’s style.
Any fashion advice for young women?
PC: Don’t try and be someone else. I did that for a long time and it didn’t work.
What are the elements that you consider important while dressing up today?
PC: One can’t go out with wavy, crazy hair. I wash, condition and blow-dry every two days. While going to a party, I’d rather just wear a well-fitted black dress with solitaires. Keep the make-up basic as I have good skin. And yes, I wear confidence.