Conspiracy theorists, unite! Priyanka Chopra may be the star of ABC's Quantico, but as she admitted at the PaleyFest: Made in New York panel on Monday, October 17, even she doesn't know who the show's real antagonists are. “Every episode, we’d come up with a new terrorist,” she said of the cast’s conversations in their downtime.
Before the event, Us Weekly spoke exclusively with the 34-year-old star — who is in her second season playing Alex Parrish, an FBI special agent undercover as a CIA trainee — about the show’s move to New York, how she survives chase scenes in heels and why she considers herself “socially inept.” Read on to find out seven things we learned from our chat with her.
1. She Is So Relieved Season 2 Is No Longer About FBI Training at Quantico
An ungrateful FBI grad? When Chopra was asked how she felt about the show moving away from Quantico training, she exclaimed to Us: “Thank God! I was done with the Henleys, man! I did think they looked good, but when you wear them for, like, nine months, you’re like, ‘I don’t want to wear them anymore!’”
So does this mean she prefers the black exercise bras at the CIA’s training camp, The Farm? “Not at all,” the former Miss World tells Us. “But I do prefer the fact that I can wear adult clothes when I come to class. Alex’s style is really cool this season. She’s really casually chic, which I really like."
2. She’s Ready to Race Kelly Ripa in Heels
With the G20 Summit terrorist hostage situation in season 2’s story line, Alex has been in more action scenes than ever — and Chopra has become a pro at running in heels. “I do that really well,” she admits to Us. “I can run a marathon in these things.” After hearing that Kelly Ripa hosts — and runs in! — the High Heel-a-Thon, Chopra was committed. “She was like, 'She runs a marathon in heels,' and I was like, ‘I’ve got to too!’”
The Bollywood actress — who played a cabaret dancer in 2014’s action thriller Gunday — credits her years of training. “I’m a dancer as well and I’ve always danced in heels on stage,” she says. “You have to find the right ankle support. If you can find the right kind of ankle support, you can do anything in heels.”
3. Chopra Wears Her Stunt Scars Proudly
The star of next year’s Baywatch remake does her own stunts on the ABC drama. “I have scars all over my hands — everywhere,” she tells Us, pointing to one between her knuckles and then a “recent one” one under her knee. “I’ve bled, I’ve bruised, I’ve had scratches. But I’m a tough girl and they’re my medals of honor, and I treat them like that.”
4. She Calls Herself a “Socially Inept” New Yorker
Even with 24 million Facebook fans and 15.4 million Twitter followers, Chopra tells Us that moving to New York City has tested her social skills. “It’s just been three months, so I’m getting used to New York,” she says. “New York is very social — there are so many people I have to meet all the time. I’m like, ‘Why do they only go out in the city?’”
The long hours at the Silvercup Studios set in Queens can be draining. “There aren’t enough hours in the day, and maybe not the inclination after a 16-hour day, so I need to get my social gear on,” she continues. “I don’t have time for it. I’m tired. It’s like, Oh, my God, I’m socially inept in life!”
But her costar, season 2 newbie Russell Tovey, who plays fellow CIA trainee Harry Doyle, disagrees. “She’s very welcoming, she’s lots of fun and she includes you,” the 34-year-old British actor tells Us. “She organizes lots of events for everyone to get involved in — and that’s a lovely thing!"
5. She’s Still Making Bollywood Movies
One of the perks of moving the production from Montreal to New York City for Quantico is that Chopra can get out of town. “It’s really great because it’s easy for me to go in and out of Mumbai,” Chopra, who was born in Jamshedpur, India, tells Us. “I can access India easier."
And though she’s risen to global fame — even ranking No. 8 on Forbes’ highest-paid TV actresses list — she hasn’t left Bollywood behind. “I have an active career there,” says the star, who has a film, Ventilator, coming out there on November 4. “So that made my life way easier.”
6. She Loves to Eat
With the demanding schedule of the series, Chopra’s favorite thing to do since she has moved to Manhattan is relax. “I love my home,” she tells Us. “I have a beautiful house on the Upper East Side. I’m not there enough, but I’d like to spend a little bit more time at home.”
She’d also like to bank more time for one of her favorite hobbies: eating. “More than anything, what I want to check out in New York that I haven’t been able to is that there are so many places to go out and eat, and I’m a major foodie,” the Global Citizen ambassador tells Us. “I haven’t been able to do that and I want to be able to get into that.”
7. Alex and Ryan’s Relationship Drama Will Resolve Itself Soon
Talking about Quantico’s time-hopping and minute details, Chopra told the PaleyFest audience: “That’s what people love about the show — you have to really stay on top of it. You have to really figure it out. The show doesn’t take your intelligence for granted. It just tells you, ‘Pay attention or you’ll miss out.’”
And part of those specifics in upcoming episodes will be about why Alex was seen returning her engagement ring to Ryan Booth. “You’re going to find out, as you go along, why that happened,” she says. “It will be way before the finale, so that’s a good thing."
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