Quantico, ABC’s new, twist-filled Sunday night drama about a group of FBI trainees, marks the American TV debut of actress and singer Priyanka Chopra. And if it also marks the first time you’ve seen the India-born star in action, prepare to be impressed. Chopra — who makes good on her goal to make her Alex Parrish a Jason Bourne-level action heroine — is sharp, intense, infinitely watchable, and the main reason Quantico may also become one of your new faves. Here, 12 things to know about one of fall TV’s most interesting new faces:
1. The 33-year-old is already a superstar internationally, with more than four dozen movies on her resume, and is one of the highest paid Bollywood actresses. Highlights of her film career in India include Fashion, which won her a 2008 Best Actress win at the National Film Awards, the equivalent of an Oscar in India, for playing an aspiring model; and 2014’s Mary Kom, in which she played the titular role as the Olympic Indian boxer.
2. She was born in India, but has lived all over the world. She spent several teenage years in Boston, Iowa, and New York, for example, and she now splits her time between New York, Mumbai, Los Angeles, and Montreal, where Quantico films.
3. In 2000, she won the Miss World crown, during a pageant co-hosted by Jerry Springer. She is also the first Indian Guess Girl.
4. She is also a pop star, who has recorded music with will.i.am and Pitbull. Her first single, “In My City,” was the theme song for Thursday Night Football on the NFL Network for the 2012-13 season, and the video was directed by Joseph Kahn, who directed Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video.
5. Though Quantico is her debut on American television, she voiced the airplane named Ishani in the 2013 Disney animated movie Planes. (Ishani had a fling with a plane named Dusty, voiced by Dane Cook.)
7. The actress thrives on playing a tough, smart, and feminine woman like Quantico’s Agent Alex Parrish. “Any actress worth her salt would have wanted to do this part, because she’s an action heroine, but at the same time, she’s vulnerable and feminine, and she’s a celebration of everything female,” says Chopra. “The strength of a female, the weaknesses of a female, our emotions, but at the same time, our ability to be able to overcome anything. We multitask really well, we have the balls to be able to be tough and deal with life. Alex does all of that together. I mean, she’s slowly becoming my hero. She’s someone I would want to grow up and be. Every time I [film] her, I’m like, ‘Damn, that’s so badass. It’s so cool. I wish I could do that in real life.’”
Watch the first 8 minutes of ‘Quantico’ here:
8. Being a woman of action isn’t a new thing for her. In 2010, she hosted the third season of Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi, the Indian version of the NBC reality series Fear Factor. And she tried some of the show’s stunts herself.
9. She tweets a lot, and has more than 11 million followers.
11. Chopra is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Girl Up Champion. She’s also formed her own charity, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation, to help promote the rights of children and educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for girls in India.
12. Her alternate career plan before becoming Miss World and segueing into a career as a performer? Aeronautical engineer.
Quantico premieres Sept. 27 at 10 p.m. on ABC