World is her oyster

She’s almost always photographed on the move, either for work or for pleasure, and her jet-setting life straddling the US and India rarely betrays the fact that Priyanka Chopra suffers from asthma. The 36-year-old actress has fought with the condition since childhood and if she has lived by anything, it is to not let it slow her down.

By Priyanka Roy
  • Published 2.09.18
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She’s almost always photographed on the move, either for work or for pleasure, and her jet-setting life straddling the US and India rarely betrays the fact that Priyanka Chopra suffers from asthma. The 36-year-old actress has fought with the condition since childhood and if she has lived by anything, it is to not let it slow her down. On an email with t2oS, Chopra, the face of Cipla Respiratory, shared how how she stays one step ahead — an example worth following.

You are a power woman who jets through continents on a regular basis and is constantly working. How do you manage to maintain such a hectic lifestyle despite being asthmatic?

By taking control of asthma instead of letting it take control of my life. I think educating one’s self on the condition is important. Asthma is a completely manageable condition. There are misconceptions that exist and the best thing that you can do for yourself is to understand asthma completely and fortify yourself with the knowledge on how to keep it in check.

Are there any lifestyle habits inculcated during childhood that you follow even now?

Steam inhalation and hot water in the morning. 

How many people know you have asthma?

Most people who are around me know I have asthma. It’s not something that I hide at all. Sometimes after stage shows I need my inhaler. When I’m around dust, I need my inhaler. So everybody around me definitely knows I have asthma.

What do you have to say to those who are asthmatic and do not want to talk about it? 

First and foremost, we are in 2018. There’s nothing we can’t talk about. Second, we have to ditch that mindset, because we are only harming ourselves. I learnt very, very early, when I was very young, that I need to control my asthma; my asthma cannot control me. I have achieved everything that I have today, despite and in spite of having asthma. And there have been numerous occasions, whether I’m in India or in America, or wherever else in the world I am, that I use my inhaler in front of everyone openly, and no one even gives me a look. It’s literally like, when you have a headache you take a pill and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. So don’t let asthma define you. Take it in your stride, and the world is your oyster. 

I did not allow it to come in the way of my dreams, and neither should you. Yes, there were times when I couldn’t breathe, I was tired and somebody was running faster than me because I could not breathe, but I controlled it. You need to consult your doctor, choose the right treatment for you and go and achieve your dreams. Don’t let asthma stop you.
Cipla’s inhalers were one of the first inhalers that I ever used. So it just made for such an organic association. It just felt real, and I really wanted to educate people on what asthma is.

Does Priyanka Chopra ever slow down? What’s a lazy day for you like and what do you like doing the most in your me-time?

Not if I have my way.  But I’ve begun to appreciate the importance of taking some down time… allowing your body and mind to switch off and rejuvenate.  For me a day off is mostly a lazy day… catching up with friends and family, sleeping, binge-watching TV shows and movies and the like. 

For someone who’s constantly travelling, what’s the best way to cope with jetlag?

I have adopted different things over the years that work best for me… drink lots of water. Being on an aircraft dehydrates you, so you need to compensate for that.  Try and sleep according to the time zone of the place you are travelling to; it will help your body adjust itself and reduce the effects of jet lag. It’s worked for me.

What would we find you doing on a long-haul flight — sleeping, reading or watching movies? 

You’ll probably catch me doing all those things… just depends on what my life was before the flight and what it will be after… I make those many hours very productive.

On your cheat days, what do you like binging on the most?

I usually eat what I like and don’t really follow a very strict diet. I try and eat healthy most of the time but I don’t really stop myself from eating the things I like except when I’m in serious physical training for a role. I’m a true foodie and I don’t like to deprive myself of the things I like for too long. I’m also blessed with a good metabolism, so that helps!

Will we see you actively pursuing a career in Hollywood, or will you always want to straddle both Bollywood and Hollywood?

I have never believed that I need to make a choice between both worlds. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive… I have seen that I can straddle both and make it work for me. I’m excited about the work I am doing right now both in India and the US and I’m looking forward to what’s in store.  

Priyanka with The Sky is Pink team — Ronnie Screwvala, Farhan Akhtar, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Zaira Wasim and Shonali Bose

You just shot the first schedule of The Sky is Pink in India. What is it about this film that made you sign on?

The Sky Is Pink (tentative title) is a film that is very special to me. The minute I read the script, I knew I wanted to be a part of this film and I am now in the capacity of both actor and co-producer. Shonali (Bose) is a formidable filmmaker and I can’t wait to see this story unfold in her expertise. I’m looking forward to working with Farhan (Akhtar) and (producers) Ronnie (Screwvala) and Sid (Siddharth Roy Kapur) again. 

What was the last film you watched and loved? 

The last film I watched was Jumanji and quite enjoyed it. 

What’s the best thing about being Priyanka Chopra?

Everything… I am very blessed and fortunate to live the life that I do, filled with the people who I love and the opportunities I have to do the things I’m most passionate about.