10 Reasons We’re Curry-Scented and Proud


Azealia Banks’ recent Twitter feud with Zayn Malik and the consequential Brown Twitter reaction to her racist, homophobic tirade have broken the Internet over the past few days.

[Read Related: Azealia Banks Attacks Zayn Malik; Brown Twitter Claps Back With #CurryScentedBitch]

The hashtag #CurryScentedBitch has become a title of empowerment – hundreds of beautiful BGs have posted selfies using the hashtag to spin the insult into a term of endearment and to highlight the positive aspects of desi culture.

1. Coconut oil is life, and beauty experts agree.

You didn’t grow up as a girl in a desi household if your mom didn’t insist on pouring an entire bottle of coconut oil onto your hair and then comb it into braids at least once a week. Not only is coconut oil the magical potion to cure all hair woes, it, along with all other things coconut, have recently been trending in American beauty stores as a vital ingredient in most hair, skin, and beauty products. But of course, we’ve been ahead of the trend for centuries.

2. We can drink chai 3x a day.

What’s Teavana? Whether it’s your mom making you a hot cup of masala chai on a cold, rainy day or brewing an entire pot to share with aunties over a round of gossip, tea is an integral part of our lives and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

3. The love-hate relationship with hair is so real.

South Asians are hairy people. For desi girls especially, finding the perfect way to get rid of unwanted body hair is a quest within itself and a constant source of anxiety. But at the end of the day, we know we love all the compliments we get on our perfectly groomed eyebrows and luscious, dark hair on top of our heads.

[Read Related: Suraiya Ali, Body Hair, and the Clap Back Heard Around the World]

4. Weddings are a weeklong affair.

Forget a 30-minute ceremony and a reception an hour later in the same dress. What’s a big fat South Asian wedding without 3-4 events before the shaadi and 6-7 stunning outfits to change into? From adorning your hands with intricate mehendi designs at the mehendi ceremony and waiting to see how dark the stain is the next day, to dancing the night away to Bollywood classics (with the added entertainment of drunk dancing uncles) at the sangeet, to feeling like you’re going to die from your stomach bursting with all the food you’ve eaten at the reception, there really is nothing like a brown wedding. 

5. We can kill it in school AND be in charge of Fortune 500 businesses.

Sundar Pichai. Satya Nadella. Indra Nooyi. What do these names have in common?

They are all names of Indian-born CEOs of major US companies – namely, Google, Microsoft, and PepsiCo, respectively.

Indians and South Asians are climbing the ladder at major corporations in America and are adding a bit of diversity, color, perspective, and talent to these white-dominated businesses. No longer are we just the nerdy kids in school that do well and become doctors, lawyers, and engineers. We are changing the face of global capitalism as we know it.

6. Recycling is in our DNA.

“Slumdog Millionaire” may have portrayed India as a country filled with garbage and slums, but as we know growing up in desi households, our parents are the foremost experts on using things over AND over again.

Can’t find your mom’s sewing supplies? Just check that tin that falsely claims it’s filled with butter cookies.

Need a plastic bag for garbage? It’s probably in that plastic bag filled with 50 other ones.

Looking for an old t-shirt? It’s probably cut up and used as a rag to dust the house.

Say what you will, you’ll never find more resourceful ways to reuse items than those concocted by our dear mummies and pappas.

7. Everyone is your aunty or uncle.

Let’s be real – there was one point in your life where you thought you had 294185 aunties and uncles because your parents referred to all of their friends using that title. Now you probably know that’s not the case, but in a sense, we’re all still one big family. Desis seem to know all other desis. Gossip travels FAST. Yet if you’re looking for a rishta or a job, you know your parents know whom to call…or they know someone who knows someone who does. We’ve all got each other’s backs.

8. We are one of the most accomplished minority groups in America.

Sure South Asians are running the country’s most popular companies, but as a population, we’re doing pretty well for ourselves, as well.

The Wall Street Journal’s article “Why So Many Indians Succeed in America,” stated:

“Statistics suggest that Indians have thrived in America. They make up less than 1 percent of the country’s population but are estimated to have founded more than one in eight Silicon Valley startups. The community boasts two governors: Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley.

According to the Pew Research Center, the median income for Indian-American families in 2010 was $88,000, nearly twice the national average. Seventy percent of Indian-Americans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the national average of less than 30 percent.”

9. Keychains and mugs never have our names on it – but that’s okay.

If you’re a Pooja or an Amina, a Roshan or a Parth, odds are you will never be able to walk into a gift shop or dollar store and find a keepsake with your name on it. That’s because we’re some of the most unique and diverse people in the world and we love our unpronounceable names anyways.

10. Indian food is actually scientifically bomb.

Last year, researchers found that the reason why Indian food is loved around the world is because it is flavorfully intricate at a molecular level. Upon review of thousands of Indian recipes, these scientists discovered that Indian cuisine tended to mix ingredients whose flavors don’t overlap at all, thus making it more appealing to the senses.

So yes, Azealia, there’s a reason why that curry scent is strong and it’s here to stay!

By Tina Lapsia

Tina Lapsia is an attorney working and living in NYC. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law … Read more ›

Redefining Manners: British Asian Priya Kansara Talks About her Latest Film ‘Polite Society’

Priya Kansara

Weddings, huh? Talk about a stress fest. And for the bride, it’s like a 24/7 walk on eggshells. However, add in a paranoid and overprotective sister, and you’ve got a recipe for a completely different degree of drama. In “Polite Society,” Ria Khan (Priya Kansara) and her gang of clumsy pals take the phrase “till death do us part” to a whole new level as they plot to “steal” the bride — aka Ria’s own sister, Lena (Ritu Arya), during her shaadi reception. But with a wedding hall packed with guests, a mother-in-law from hell, and a groom with more shades of fraud than a rainbow, this heist is anything but smooth sailing.

It goes without saying but “Polite Society” comes with a cast of wacky characters, gut-busting one-liners, and an action-packed heist sequence, making it a must-watch for anyone who loves a good comedy. I mean who hasn’t dealt with some serious wedding drama, am I right?

Lead actress Kansara agrees wholeheartedly. “I definitely have!” she chuckles, as I catch up with her at Soho Hotel in London. Despite the rubbish weather outside, Kansara is a ray of sunshine with her infectious enthusiasm.

The minute I read the script, I thought to myself…wow, playing Ria is going to be one wild ride!

[Read Related: Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History — A Review of Sundance’s ‘Polite Society’]

And wild is definitely the right word to describe her character. Ria is a British-Pakistani martial artist-in-training from London, determined to become a professional stuntwoman. Her sister, Lena, who dropped out of uni, often ends up being the guinea pig for filming Ria’s stunts for YouTube, including one lovingly dubbed “the fury.” She reveals

I’d never done martial arts before this film. The stunt training started from the day I got the role, and it was three to four times a week all the way until we finished filming. It was a seven-week period in total, and boy, was it physically demanding. Oh my God, I think I can add a whole new skills section to my CV! But on a serious note, it was so much fun and we had an amazing stunt team. They, including my stunt double, taught me so much. It was important to me to do my own stunts as much as possible, but also strike a healthy balance.

For South Asian women, who are often expected to be quiet and agreeable, all that punching and kicking on set must have been cathartic, right?

Honestly, it was like anger management at work! I got to kick and throw things around — it was the perfect balance.


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A post shared by Priya Kansara (@priyakansara)

What sets Kansara apart from other actors starting out in the industry is her ability to draw from her own life experiences to bring authenticity to her characters on screen. Her career began with a degree from UCL and a communications job at a pharmaceutical company. But today, her versatile range and unwavering commitment to her craft have propelled her to the forefront of British comedy, portraying defiant South Asian women we’d love to see in real life.

From my own experience as a South Asian woman, I’ve always been told to do what’s ‘proper’ and think twice before speaking up. Playing a character like Ria and putting myself in her shoes, I felt like I was doing and saying things that I wish I had done at her age. It was almost like living through her and speaking my mind about things I never did.

Without a doubt, every South Asian woman on this planet wishes she cared more about herself and less about what other people think.

Ria totally inspired me. If only I had her mindset when I was younger, my career path would have taken off way sooner instead of worrying about other people’s opinions.

The chemistry between the cast members on and off-screen is so apparent, especially the sisterhood between Ria and Lena. The wild adventures of a bride, and her paranoid maid of honour navigating through family drama, are bound to create some unforgettable moments on set.

[Read Related: ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’: A Modern-day Exploration of Love Across Cultures]

We both confess our love and admiration for Nimra Bucha’s portrayal of Raheela, Lena’s evil mother-in-law and share a teenage fangirling moment:

I’m obsessed with that woman. There’s something terrifying yet ultra sexy about her character in “Polite Society” that’s mesmerising. I absolutely loved the dance sequence. As South Asians, we’ve all grown up watching Bollywood films and idolising Madhuri Dixit’s iconic dance moves. “Polite Society” gave me my Bollywood heroine moment, and it was a dream come true with the costumes and jewellery.

It’s definitely a unique experience for Kansara, considering her former career was worlds apart from entertainment. So, what advice does she have for aspiring actors who may secretly wish to pursue the same path, but are unsure of the next steps? Kansara advises, drawing from her character’s heist-planning skills.

I believe starting small and honing your craft is an underrated superpower. If you’re passionate about acting, make short-form videos, and build your portfolio. You never know who might be watching.

So, grab your popcorn and your sense of humour, and get ready for “Polite Society” — the film that proves that sometimes, the most polite thing to do is kick some butt and save the day. It released in cinemas on April 28th, and I highly recommend it.

Photo Courtesy: Universal Pictures

By Queenie Shaikh

Desk bound by day and travel bound all other times – Queenie thrives on her weekly dose of biryani and … Read more ›

Anita Verma-Lallian Launches Arizona’s First South Asian-owned Film Production and Entertainment Company

Anita Verma-Lallian

Indian-American commercial real estate and land consultant Anita Verma-Lallian launched Camelback Productions at an event held in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Jan. 7. Billed as the state’s first women-and South Asian-owned film production and entertainment company, it will focus on South Asian representation and storytelling, according to a press statement issued by Verma-Lallian. The announcement follows “Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s $125 million film tax credit for film and TV production that was introduced in July 2022, “ the statement added.

The Jan. 7 private launch party and meet and greet introduced investors and supporters to what’s ahead for Camelback Productions.

Noting the “major push to see minority groups represented in the media over the past few years,” Verma-Lallian said she wants to see more South Asians represented. “I want my children to see themselves when they watch TV. I want my daughter’s dream to become an actress to become a reality. Skin color shouldn’t be a barrier to that.”

The event opened with remarks from Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, who has served as the city’s 62nd mayor since 2019. She welcomes the company to “the greater Phoenix community.” She expressed confidence that “the team will attract some of the country’s top talent to the Valley.”

Guests at the event included actor and comedian Lilly Singh, actor Nik Dodani, Aparna of Netflix’s “Indian Matchmaking,” Bali Chainani and Anisha Ramakrishna of Bravo’s “Family Karma” fame, and Paramount+ executive P. Sean Gupta, to name a few.


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A post shared by Anita Lallian (@anitavermalallian)

The company is Verma-Lallian’s first venture into the film industry. She is known for providing full concierge services for land seekers and developers of all types of sites and assists investors in discovering viable properties in the Phoenix area through her company, Arizona Land Consulting, the statement added.

Named in honor of the iconic Camelback Mountain in the Valley, Verma-Lallian says she wants her production company to have the same indestructible foundation. Camelback Productions plans to begin its first project later this summer.

Anita Verma-Lallian Talks Camelback Productions and the Need for Greater South Asian Representation

Camelback Productions

Award-winning commercial real estate and land consultant in Arizona, Anita Verma-Lallian, is venturing into the world of entertainment with her newfound production house, Camelback Productions, making her the first South Asian female in the state to do so. Verma-Lallian is a woman used to paving her own way, and now she’s committed to doing it for future generations.

[Read Related: Anita Verma-Lallian Launches Arizona’s First South Asian-owned Film Production and Entertainment Company ]

Through her production company, she aims to contribute towards greater South Asian representation in mainstream media with a focus on storytelling that’s relevant to the community. In a conversation with Brown Girl Magazine, the real estate maven spoke about what inspired her to shift from investing in land to investing in creative dreams.

Tell us more about Camelback Productions and what your hopes are for the company?

The intention is to help communities that are not being represented in the media. As you know, there are a lot more streamers looking for content so that presents an interesting opportunity for people to tell stories that are otherwise not being told.

For us it’s important to tell these stories that aren’t being told, and tell them in the way that we want them to be told. With South Asians, for instance, the roles typically given are stereotypical. There are only four or five roles we are playing repeatedly. I want to show the South Asian community and culture in a different way. 

You come from a business and investor background. I am curious to know what catapulted your interest towards establishing a production company?

Good question. There were a few things that inspired my interest. I was looking to diversify the different opportunities we offered our investors. We’ve done a lot of real estate, so we were overall looking for different investment opportunities.  And then, at the time when I started exploring this, the real estate market was in this wait-and-see for many people. 

Everyone was sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens next. There was a slowdown at the end of 2022 which is when I started looking into this more. Film seemed like it was kind of recession-proof and not really tied to what’s happening in the economy, which I thought was refreshing and exciting.

Also, overall, I observed what was happening in the industry with there being a push to see more South Asians in the media. The timing felt right, and I think we’re moving in the right direction.

What kind of content are you looking to create?

Good stories and good quality scripts. We are looking at all types of content — movies, docu-series, comedy shows, and reality shows. We’re open to anything that has a good message. 

On a personal level, what hits home for you with this production company?

Growing up I always loved film and TV. We watched a lot of Bollywood movies because that’s what we related to and I always loved that. But I did feel there wasn’t a lot of representation of people that looked like me. Being able to change that — especially after having kids, and a daughter who wants to go into film — is important for. It’s a contribution for future generations. It’s important to me that as they grow up, they see people that look just like them.  

Is there a significance to the name Camelback?

Yes! Camelback Mountain is a very iconic mountain in Phoenix. It’s one of the most famous hikes we have here and a relatively challenging one.

The significance is being able to overcome challenges and barriers. I have a nice view of Camelback Mountain and it’s something I look at every day, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. It has a very calming and grounding presence.

To me the mountains signify being grounded and not being able to be moved by external factors. That’s what I want this production company to be!

What would you advise people interested in entering the entertainment industry?

The best advice I would give someone is to align yourself with people that you know are experts in the industry; that have a good track record. Learn from as many people as you can. I learn as much as I can, talk to as many people as I can, and I study different things to understand what was and wasn’t successful.

Photo Credit: Claudia Johnstone

By Rasha Goel

Rasha Goel is a 2X Emmy-nominated television host/producer and international correspondent. Her talent has led to opportunities such as giving … Read more ›