She might not yet be a household name but Priyanka Chopra has one of the most famous faces in the world. The former Miss World is a Bollywood icon and a massive star in her native India. Now she's making a name for herself Stateside by starring in the opening sequence of NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football."
Chopra's sexy opening intro is turning heads after its debut on Thursday night. Singing her hit single, "In My City," Chopra takes over duties from Cee Lo Green, whose song "I Love Football" kicked off the 2012 season.
“Priyanka’s song really started to resonate with the audience and the executives throughout last season,” NFL spokesperson Alex Riethmiller told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the tune "felt like it belonged with our program.”
The song's inspiration came from Chopra's globetrotting childhood. Her dad was in the Indian Army, a post that took the family to many cities in both India and the U.S. "I grew up in different parts of the world and I took inspiration from that," she explained to the Wall Street Journal. "Plus, that song came during the buildup to the Olympic games in London, and I thought, this would be a great song for the Olympics, it did have in that kind of feel to it."
Surprisingly, professional singing is a relatively new endeavor for the Bollywood beauty. "I always sang all my life, but never professionally," tells Chopra. "It's been about two years that I've been doing this. It's a completely new world — a new form of creativity for me."
Chopra, who currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Mumbai, says she hopes to bring American and Indian cultures closer together through her art. "The world has become such a small place — it's all in your laptop," she says. "It's become such a globalized world. People like Rihanna [who's from Barbados], Psy [from Korea] and David Guetta [from France] have made American-sounding music — why not India? I hope I can bridge a gap in a way, too."
In addition to "In My City," Chopra has also been getting a lot of attention for her single "Exotic," featuring Pitbull, which has been viewed on YouTube more than 13 million times to date.
As for working with Pitbull, Chopra says it was a blast. "Pitbull is so much fun and extremely talented," she gushes. "I'm really grateful he loved the song. We shot the whole video in two days, working 20-hour days…we got lots of champagne and got drunk after the shoot was over!"
In addition to settling into her new role as the face of NFL's "Thursday Night Football," Chopra is busy finishing up her debut album, which she says will likely come out on the DesiHits/Interscope Records label at the end of the year.
She also recently voiced one of the characters in the animated Disney film, Planes. "I play Ishani, a champion plane who's a hot and sexy chick," she says with a laugh.
What's more, Chopra works as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, and is involved in a number of efforts to protect children’s rights, the environment, and the promotion of girls' education in India. "The education of a girl child is something I really pioneer in a country where girls aren't given prioritized education as much as boys," she says. "We focus a lot on India because there's a lot of work to be done in that area."
While her NFL stint may be her initial claim to fame in the U.S., it's obvious that Chopra has a lot more on her mind than just football...which is fortunate, as the beautiful singer admits she's not really a rabid fan. "I got away from the football madness pretty early on," she told Wall Street Journal. "I was a big fan but in my family there were these crazy fights every weekend. I didn't stay too much in touch with that part of my life."
However, she's quick to note that she's excited to be involved with the NFL. "It's a great platform, especially since in music I am a new artist in America. Los Angeles is my home base now."
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