AceShowbiz - Actress Priyanka Chopra struggled to find her own identity as an Indian immigrant living in America after suffering racist bullying throughout her teens.
The "Baywatch" star moved to the U.S. when she was 12 to live with her extended family, and was enrolled in a local high school, where she had a particularly tough time during her formative years.
She said of the bullying, "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."
Priyanka and her relatives moved from New York City to Indianapolis, Indiana before settling in Newton, Massachusetts, where her experience with bullying only got worse.
"I don't even blame the city, honestly. I just think it was girls who, at that age, just want to say something that'll hurt," the star reflected to People magazine. "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."
Priyanka found the experience so harrowing that she decided to move back to India, where she was able to "heal" and regain her confidence.
"I was so blessed that when I went back to India, 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," she shared.
"In America, I was trying not to be different. Right? I was trying to fit in and I wanted to be invisible. When I went to India, I chose to be different."
Priyanka, who is married to singer/actor Nick Jonas, opens up further about her experience in her upcoming memoir, "Unfinished", which she wanted to write in order to help others in similar situations.
"Insecurity becomes small as soon as you talk about it with someone you trust: A therapist, a counsellor. I feel like a lot of people spend their time when they're feeling dark (in isolation). That's the worst thing to do, is to feel sad alone," she said.
"Sadness is very seductive. It sucks you in and you want to just wallow in it because it feels comfortable and warm - and light is harsh sometimes. (But) you have to look at it, you squint. (The light is) a lot, but it gives you life. It gives you joy. We have the choice, most of the time, to step out of the darkness ourselves. The best way I've found of doing it is talking to people who care."