Priyanka Chopra Jonas channeled her “inner Oprah” for a YouTube Originals special based on Richard Reed’s best-selling book.
If I Could Tell You Just One Thing follows Chopra as she interviews gymnast Simone Biles, actor and rapper Awkwafina, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg about their lives and careers. Biles addresses her sexual assault at the hands of physician Larry Nassar. Awkwafina explains the tragedy that led her into comedy. And Von Furstenberg openly admits to still feeling like a failure despite her massive success and influence.
Each candid conversation ends with Chopra asking what their one piece of advice for her would be at this phase in her life.
“I’m in my mid-30s, I’m trying to figure out where I go next, what I do next,” Chopra says in the special. “I guess getting married really made me think about what the next chapter is.”
Below are highlights from If I Could Tell You Just One Thing:
On speaking up about her assault. “I kind of brushed it off and I was like, no, I am not willing to put that out there for the world to see. They’re not going to see me as Simone the gymnast. They’re going to see Simone as a sexual abuse survivor. And so I denied it and I buried it and I was very depressed. I, like, never left my room. I was sleeping all the time and I told, like, one of my lawyers, I said, ‘I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death.’ I had just read the story about my friend coming out and I was bawling, and I called my mom and then I told her, and then we had detectives come and stuff like that. It wasn’t easy, but I feel like I’m a strong woman today. I feel like telling my story has helped younger girls.”
Her one thing. “It’s risk-taking. If I could say one thing, it’s risk-taking, because even in 2018, I took a lot of risks and I did things that terrified me. It made me realize who I was as a person.”
On the dark side of humor. “I developed humor as a defense mechanism . . . when I was like 6 or 7 years old. I lost my mom very young, so people, when they saw me, would cry and I didn’t like to be this, like, emblem of sorrow for people. I wanted people to be happy. I wanted them to feel joy. When I’m most uncomfortable and what I’ve had to do with my whole life is walking into a room and knowing that everyone assumes that I’m a certain person until I prove them wrong.”
Her one thing. “Life is only a series of ups and downs. When you go up, there’s nowhere to go but down. And when you’re down, there’s nowhere to go but up. So there is a kind of balance. And when I think about my career, it’s very, very relevant.”
Diane von Furstenberg
On feeling successful and using her voice. “Even today, I wake up and I feel I’m a total loser. You don’t always feel on top of the game, but life is like that . . . By the way, sometimes the world thinks you’re the peak and and you know you’re not . . . I just turned 72, so at my age now I want to use my voice to tell all women that they, too, can be the woman they want to be. They can.”
Her one thing. “The most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself. Period. There’s no other advice that is more important than that. Relationship No. 1 is the one we have with yourself. Liking and loving yourself doesn’t mean you are so pleased with yourself–it’s just owning who you are. And so to help your partner to own who they are and to be the best of who they are, it’s part of the role that you have.”