The winner of the Miss World pageant of 2000, through her successful film career Chopra has become one of Bollywood's highest-paid actresses and one of the most popular celebrities in India. She has won a National Film Award for Best Actress and Filmfare Awards in four categories.

Chopra was born in Jamshedpur to parents who were both physicians in the Indian Army, causing the family to move frequently during her childhood, but she considers Bareilly her real home. As a teenager she lived for some years with an aunt in the United States.

In 2000, her mother entered her into the Femina Miss India contest, in which she finished second and took the Miss India World title.[a] She was then entered into the Miss World pageant, where she was crowned Miss World 2000 and Miss World Continental Queen of Beauty—Asia & Oceania, becoming the fifth Indian to win the competition.

Although Chopra at one time aspired to study engineering or psychiatry, she accepted offers to join the Indian film industry, which came as a result of her pageant wins, making her acting debut in the Tamil film Thamizhan in 2002. The following year, she starred in The Hero, her first Hindi film release, and followed it with the box-office hit Andaaz, which won her the Filmfare Best Female Debut Award and a nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.

She subsequently earned wide critical recognition for the role of a seductress in the 2004 thriller Aitraaz, winning her the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role. By 2006, Chopra had established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema with starring roles in the highly successful films Krrish and Don. After receiving mixed reviews for a series of unsuccessful films, she received critical acclaim for her portrayal of unconventional characters, including a troubled model in the 2008 drama Fashion, a feisty Marathi woman in the 2009 caper thriller Kaminey, a serial killer in the 2011 neo-noir 7 Khoon Maaf, and an autistic woman in the 2012 romantic comedy Barfi! In addition to acting in films, she participates in stage shows, has hosted a reality show on television, and has written columns for India's national newspapers. Chopra has engaged in philanthropic activities, and was appointed as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights on 10 August 2010.

In 2012, she released her first single "In My City", which, although a commercial success in India, was met with mixed reactions from the critics. Her second single "Exotic" debuted in 2013, and was ranked on music charts in the United States and Canada. Chopra often speaks out on women's issues: against female infanticide and foeticide, and in support of education for girls. In 2006, a "day with Chopra" was auctioned on eBay; the proceeds were donated to an NGO, Nanhi Kali, which helps educate girls in India.

In 2010 the actress was one of several celebrities who created promotional messages for Pearls Wave Trust, which campaigns against violence and abuse of women and girls.

Chopra also appeared at the launch of a campaign called "Save Girl Child", which aims to change the attitudes of Indians towards girls. She has worked with UNICEF since 2008, recording public-service announcements and participating in media panel discussions promoting children's rights and the education of girls, and also participated in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

She was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights on 10 August 2010. In 2012 Chopra spoke at the launch of Awakening Youth, an anti-addiction programme. The actress is a supporter of environmental charities and is brand ambassador for NDTV's Greenathon, an initiative to support eco-friendliness and improve electricity supplies to rural villages. She appeared with children in an animated video to support the cause, and removed rubbish from the banks of the Yamuna river in Agra to increase awareness of environmental issues.Chopra "adopted" a tigress in 2011 and a lioness in 2012 at the Birsa biological park, paying for both animals' upkeep for a year. Chopra has made appearances in support of other charities, such as the 2005 HELP! Telethon Concert to raise money for the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. In 2009, she shot a documentary for the organisation Alert India to increase understanding of leprosy.She modelled for designer Manish Malhotra and Shaina NC's charity fashion show to raise funds for the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) NGO. To promote organ donation, Chopra pledged to donate her own organs after death and was co-keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Bollywood-themed 20th-anniversary celebration of its liver-transplant programme in 2012

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