Priyanka Chopra Jonas is very busy — despite the pandemic.
“Unusually busy,” she said, on a video call from London. “It’s crazy.”
She typically lives a fast-paced life (alongside pop star husband Nick Jonas) as an actor and producer, balancing several projects at once, she explained. And while confined to her home in lockdown for six months last year, she continued to keep busy.
She worked on developing TV shows, signed a multimillion-dollar first-look deal with Amazon and wrote a memoir, “Unfinished,” which will be released on Feb. 9. When she was able to leave her house in October, she returned to the set of Lana Wachowski’s upcoming and much buzzed about “The Matrix 4” with Keanu Reeves, then wrapped Sony Pictures’ “Text for You” (“with Sam Heughan and Celine Dion — her acting debut, which is very exciting,” she said). And now, she can be seen in Netflix’s “The White Tiger,” the film adaptation of Aravind Adiga’s debut novel, and is getting ready to shoot the Russo Brothers’ Amazon series “Citadel,” which she stars opposite Richard Madden.
Throughout it all, she managed to create her own beauty line, hair-care brand Anomaly, available exclusively at Target on Feb. 1.
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“I just find it fascinating,” she said of the new venture. “I love the ability to, as an entrepreneur, find a gap in the market and try to fill that.”
Anomaly, a partnership with beauty brand creator and incubator Maesa, is providing accessibility and sustainable packaging, while investing in results-driven formulas. Every item — shampoos, conditioners, a hair mask and dry shampoo — costs $5.99. Gender-neutral and produced entirely in the U.S., Anomaly is labeled cruelty-free, free of harmful chemicals and packaged in recyclable bottles made with post-consumer recycled materials. The shampoo and conditioner bottles use 100 percent PCR content, while the mask container uses 70 percent. The dry shampoo bottle, made with recycled aluminum, is also recyclable. Industry sources share a projected sales growth of $20 million for the brand.
The beauty and personal care market is valued at about $500 billion globally, according to Statista, a market and consumer data firm. In a report released in December, the company notes that hair care — which is expected to grow worldwide from $85.5 billion (as valued in 2017) to $102 billion by 2024 — is most profitable in the U.S., with a domestic annual revenue of approximately $12,861.9 million in 2019. And though revenue growth saw a dip in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s anticipated to reach $13,745.5 million in 2025. The market value for dry shampoo alone will grow from $3 billion in 2017 to $4 billion in 2022, reports Statista.
The beauty industry has been reshaped by the rise of e-commerce, shoppable apps and social media marketing, and those with the highest number of engaged followers, notably celebrities, have a leg up. The rise of celebrity-owned beauty brands has been a topic of conversation of late, as the beauty world continues to see a boom of these brands enter the market across categories. Known personalities in all areas of entertainment — music, film, television — have found significant success with their beauty brands, transitioning from endorsement deals to seeking ownership of their intellectual property.
Wellness, too, has grown in popularity. The category, which incorporates “clean” and eco-friendly beauty, is valued at $4.5 trillion globally, according to the Global Wellness Institute. The nonprofit released its 2021 wellness report this week, listing “Hollywood and the entertainment industries jump into wellness” as a rising new trend. The organization notes that the mass market’s embrace of the category has created “unprecedented reach and affordability.”
“We are going to constantly push innovation to be able to reach a place where we’re amazingly sustainable, but at the same time have superior product for a very affordable cost,” said Chopra Jonas, adding that the bottle caps cost just 3 cents to produce. “We’ve spent less on the bottle and spent so much more on the product. And it’s better for the earth than most. It’s a step in the right direction, and you can afford it. I think it’s the trifecta of that — that was the gap for me.”
“What we do is we create, develop and scale meaningful brands for retailers exclusively, so we’re constantly asking ourselves, pushing the envelope: ‘How can we make products better, how we can make them different and how we can make them relevant,’” said Megan Fay, Maesa’s vice president of marketing and product development in hair care. “When we speak about Priyanka, she’s an anomaly in her own right. She’s one of the first women to crossover from Bollywood to Hollywood. She’s a UNICEF ambassador, and she’s also quite the business entrepreneur. Maesa really just helped her bring the brand to life.”
For Chopra Jonas, hair is also very personal.
“I have a really important relationship with my hair,” she said. “I remember when I used to go to buy shampoo as a 15, 16-year-old, just about discovering my teenage vanity at that point, all the really amazing, good stuff was so expensive. I’ve always been aware of what I use and what I consume. I saw that in hair care, we’ve not really had environmentally sustainable sort of hair care which is clean and really good for you but also affordable for everyone.”
As a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the topic of sustainability has been a key, forward-looking human and environmental issue that she has discussed many times.
“I think it’s high time that beauty and fashion take responsibility,” she added. “You know, take responsibility on how much waste there is being created in the earth.…Beauty shouldn’t cost us the earth. As large as the beauty market is, that’s how large our responsibility should be.”
For those unaware, Chopra Jonas rose to fame in India, where she was born and raised. She was crowned Miss India and Miss World 2000 at the age of 18 and became one of Bollywood’s biggest stars. It was in 2015 that the U.S. truly took notice of her, when she starred in ABC’s thriller series “Quantico.” She currently has 59.9 million followers on Instagram.
As the subject of public gaze since her teens, how does she define beauty today?
“Beauty itself, they say, lies in the eye of the beholder, so anything can be beautiful,” said Chopra Jonas, now 38. “Everything has its own way of being beautiful, and just like that, I think human beings do, too. And we have to find our own sort of beauty.”
It’s a lesson she’s had to learn, she added: “I’ve had low self-esteem. When I was growing up, I was really aware and conscious of the way I looked, how my weight was, how my color was, the fact that I had dry skin, my hair was super frizzy. I used to be super conscious about every part about everything about myself.”
Over time, she’s developed a sense of self and confidence, she continued. “Beauty has become a very intimate experience now. For me, beauty is not about everyone else. Beauty for me is when I look in the mirror, how I feel.…And when you feel beautiful, when you feel confident, that’s what the world sees. It shouldn’t be how people look at you, it should be about how you look at yourself. And that took me a long time to understand, by the way. Now in my 30s, I can tell you that. In my 20s, that was not the case.”
With Anomaly, she’s promoting universal acceptance of self and beauty.
“In the campaign that we do for Anomaly, it’s natural everyday beauty,” she said. “Not the blown-out, silky hair. It’s all kinds of hair, everyone’s hair. It’s every gender. It’s every color. It’s every kind. That is the idea of Anomaly, that all of us are anomalies.”