Priyanka Chopra insists women should have the right to take part in beauty pageants if it is their own choice.

The 35-year-old actress took her first steps to stardom as a beauty pageant contestant and after small successes she won the Miss India World title and then went on to be crowned Miss World 2000.

Despite criticism of pageants, Priyanka - who is now one of India's highest-paid actresses - still thinks they are perfectly acceptable competitions for women to enter as long as the models aren't degraded or made to ''feel stupid''.

However, when women are vulnerable and see it as the only way to make a living, she says that is ''wrong''.

Asked how she feels about pageants now, Priyanka - who started entering contests after high school - told Allure for the publication's first ever digital cover story: ''I feel like in an evolved world, where we are today, as long as a woman understands that that's not [her] only option. And then chooses to do it. Who is anyone to judge her? But when women are made to feel like your only option to succeed is to be OK with being objectified or being made to feel stupid ... then it's wrong.''

As the entertainment world diversifies, the 'Baywatch' star says it's great that women of different sizes and colours are getting acting and modelling jobs, but insists there is still more work to be done for equality of opportunity.

She said: ''You see so many women, different sizes, modelling, acting, taking their strength, but it's the mindset that needs to change, of society, of men, of people - that view where a woman in a plus size should not be a check in the box. Or a woman of colour should not be a check in the box. Or a woman shouldn't be a check in the box.''

The 35-year-old beauty - who is dating pop star Nick Jonas - says that she feels every woman should have their ''moment'' to dress up and feel great, without being seen to be ''vain or narcissistic''.

She said: ''It's a necessary evil to look the best that you can.

''But I'm also the kind of girl who likes to be turned out. I like to get dressed up. I'm not saying become vain and narcissistic. But I'm saying sometimes, you just need a moment. And give yourself that minute. Just that minute helps so much.''