Priyanka Chopra Jonas says the racism she suffered in high school forced her to leave America

ABC News/Steve Iervolino(LOS ANGELES) — Priyanka Chopra Jonas is opening up about the racist bullying she endured while enrolled at an American high school.  The actress reveals that the abuse and harassment was so severe, she returned to India when she was 15 years old.

Speaking to People about her upcoming tell-all memoir Unfinished, which arrives next month, Chopra Jonas revealed it was nearly impossible to ignore her bullies.

“I took it very personally. Deep inside, it starts gnawing at you,” the 38-year-old Quantico alum admitted. “I went into a shell. I was like, ‘Don’t look at me. I just want to be invisible.'”

Chopra Jonas explained how the persistent torment affected her mental health, furthering, “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, who recently celebrated her two-year wedding anniversary with husband Nick Jonas, says she moved to the U.S. from India when she was 12 and stayed with relatives in New York City, Indianapolis and, finally, Newtown, Massachusetts.

Living on the East Coast, she says, was when she was met with outright racist aggression from her fellow classmates.

Chopra Jonas, providing an excerpt of her upcoming memoir, detailed what her classmates would shout at her as she walked down the hall, such as “Brownie, go back to your country!” and “Go back on the elephant you came on.”

The Citadel star says she tried to overcome the bullying, but the persistent abuse made her “[break] up with America” and move back to India.  She does not regret the decision.

“I was so blessed that when I went back to India, I was surrounded by so much love,” said Chopra Jonas, who went onto win Miss World. “Going back to India healed me.”

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.