How to Fail Well, According to Priyanka Chopra Jonas
There’s a lot of evergreen advice flooding our social feeds and “finish what you started” is one that’s always on my mind. It implies that you should persevere and hold yourself accountable—both very good things to do as a creator. It’s inevitable that we’ll have moments when we want to give up and sometimes, breaking free of that mindset feels like an uphill battle. Still, we get up and get sh*t done, even if we’re crawling toward the finish line. I cringe at the thought of not finishing things (which I’ve done plenty of times, BTW) and consider it a failure if I don’t. Am I being too hard on myself? Priyanka Chopra Jonas might say yes.
During her fireside chat at BlogHer’s International Women’s Day celebration, the actress, producer and best-selling author (Unfinished: A Memoir) reflected on how she discovered her power (and potential) as a woman in Hollywood; specifically, how reframing some of her missteps ultimately led to her greatest successes.
“If I fail at something, it’s not the end of me. I’m not defined by my failures or rejections or insecurities because there’s always something else that I can pivot to. That’s very powerful—to not be defined by the things that are not working out. To not be defined by the things that are unfinished. Just leave them and move on to something that you feel is adding to your life,” she said.
“We get stuck sometimes by just attempting to fix something that is just broken. For me, for example—my music. I worked on it for a while and it didn’t get up to my standards and I had to make a really hard decision of leaving it behind and pivoting to something I thought would be better for me.”
Chopra Jonas also emphasized the importance of allyship while recalling a star-studded moment shared in Unfinished: meeting fellow TV actors Kerry Washington and Ellen Pompeo at an Upfronts event.
“When I first arrived on the carpet, I thought, what is this going to be like? The first person I saw on the carpet was Kerry [Washington] and she had this big smile on her face and waved me down and called me over. I was just so happy to know someone. And she gave me a big hug and said let’s talk inside. We finished our pictures and then I met Ellen [Pompeo] inside and she, me, and Kerry sat down and talked about what it is like to lead a network TV show and how it takes crazy hours and crazy days,” she shared.
“Both of them had done it for a really, really long duration and were talking to me about a sense of discipline and the tone that is my responsibility to set on the show of what the work ethic should be like. It was just so nice to hear how they managed their extremely large, successful TV shows. It was nice to be able to sit backstage and hear the 411…because I had never done it before.”
Just as Washington and Pompeo were mentors to her, Chopra Jonas hopes to do the same as she continues to explore herself as an artist.
“In terms of the work I’m doing, female-led stories are really crucial to me. I wanna be able to play really interesting parts that break through mainstream entertainment so that female actors, especially South Asian female actors, that come into Hollywood aren’t looked at the way I was looked at.”
In case you missed it, check out our entire convo with Priyanka, who also talks about why she loves mentoring, acting alongside Celine Dion (!), and her hopes for the next generation of women.
“It is really crucial to recognize your power. It is crucial to recognize that you have the ability to change your circumstances,” she concluded. “We’ve been told for a very, very long time who to be, how to be, and it’s important to allow yourself to dream.”
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