For some time now, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra's career has seen a steady ascent. American television network ABC’s Quantico, in which Chopra plays the feisty FBI agent Alex Parrish, is back on the small screen. Jimmy Fallon eats chicken wings and bobs for apples with her. Taylor Swift's ex Tom Hiddleston reportedly couldn't take his eyes off her, when they presented an award together at the Emmy's.

But being an A-lister is tough work, and Chopra has to manage a full-time acting career in two industries, with frequent magazine shoots. This perhaps explains why she agreed to pose for the Indian edition of the monthly magazine Conde Nast Traveller in a white tank top that read "Refugee, Immigrant, Outsider, Traveller" with all but the last descriptor crossed out in red.

Chopra, who is at present one of Hindi cinema’s most recognisable faces in the world, has frequently told interviewers about her childhood in America, and experiences with racism. In a cover story interview with Complex magazine, for instance, Chopra was described thus:

"Even before she was an inter-continental star, cultural division was a defining factor of Chopra’s life. At 13, she left her family in India to study in the United States, living with her aunt and uncle in Newton, Mass. But being a gawky teenager and the only Indian girl at school wasn’t without its challenges, namely, xenophobic encounters that proved too suffocating and dispiriting to endure. “I was bullied by a freshman named Jeanine,” she tells me, emphasizing the added shame of being picked on by a younger girl. “She was black, and supremely racist. Jeanine used to say, ‘Brownie, go back to your country, you smell of curry,’ or ‘Do you smell curry coming?’ You know when you’re a kid, and you’re made to feel bad about where your roots are, or what you look like? You don’t understand it, you just feel bad about who you are.”

Given Chopra's exposure (Conde Nast Traveller's cover story describes her as being "at home in the world") and excellent public relations skills, it is difficult to imagine why she would, in a year marked by refugee crises, xenophobia and almost daily racist attacks, denounce refugees, immigrants and outsiders. Did she not realise that by Trump rhetoric, she too is an outsider in the US, that the Indian immigrant population forms her largest fan-base outside the Subcontinent, and that no one is a refugee by choice?

Call it bad timing or an oversight, the white top, worn by one of the world's highest-paid television actors, has created a storm on social media with users referring to the message with racist undertones as offensive, insensitive and ignorant.

Chopra is yet to comment on her t-shirt, which was reportedly designed by V Sunil. But Conde Nast Traveller put up a statement on its website on Monday, explaining the "message behind our 6th anniversary issue cover":

At Condé Nast Traveller, we believe that the opening up of borders and the breaking down of walls can help us discover the world, and open up our minds and hearts. So, when we had actor Priyanka Chopra wear a T-shirt we created on the cover of the 6th anniversary issue, we had a point to make.

It’s about how our labelling of people as immigrants, refugees and outsiders is creating a culture of xenophobia. We are allowing thousands of innocent people who are forced to cross borders due to unimaginable terror and atrocities to be treated without humanity and empathy. It’s about how we are allowing some powerful leaders to build barriers that make it more difficult for bright, motivated and hardworking people to see more of the world, learn from it and make it better for us all.

It’s time we demand better, and stand against the building of walls, literal and otherwise. We must demand a world free of racism and bigotry and prejudice, so that we – and generations after us – may enjoy all the abundance that travel offers, the beauty of a world that is open and rich and diverse in its people and cultures and geographies. And we must, in the midst of our many differences, find and celebrate our commonalities, our oneness. We must recognise that we are all on a journey. Whether we are moving across oceans or just a few kilometres, or in our mind’s eye, into a completely different world, whether we are doing so due to free will or circumstance – we are all travellers.

And this is why Priyanka Chopra – a star at home and abroad, who has experienced firsthand the opportunities that travel offers – is the perfect ambassador. It’s not about her being a refugee or immigrant or outsider; it’s about her, like us, recognising the power of travel, and joining us in asking everyone to do better for each other.