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Diipa Khosla on Motherhood, Representation and inde wild

7 min read

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve already heard of Diipa Khosla before — either because of her wide reach as a fashion influencer, her gorgeous Jaipur wedding (which went viral in 2019), her nonprofit work or the recent launch of her skincare brand, inde wild. It goes without saying that Diipa wears a lot of hats, and we have a lot of admiration for everything she has built. We are so excited to get to know her a bit better today and learn about the thought she has put into each of her ventures.

 

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[Read Related: 2018: A Year in Review of South Asian Women]

Khosla’s Work in the Fashion and Beauty Space

 

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A lot of your work involves being the face of campaigns, and I think your visibility in those campaigns, as well as in certain spaces like at the Cannes Film Festival, brings representation of those who look like you — like us. I’m sure women around the world feel represented by you. What are your thoughts on representation and why it’s important?

It’s so important to me that our voice, the South Asian voice, is heard and seen throughout the world. From my earlier days pursuing a career in law to stepping into an influencer role, I wanted to pave the way for the future generation of younger desi women. I felt it important to show that despite growing up around narratives of patriarchy and certain traditional ideals, they could embrace their differences and independence but still be connected to their traditions. Beyond being representative on behalf of South Asian women, I wanted to be FOR South Asian women, so they too can see and believe in the heights they can reach. My mission is to leave the world a better place than how I found it — and it starts with me.

When did issues of representation become important to you? Growing up in the U.S., as a South Asian you clearly know you’re different. You don’t see people who look like you in mainstream American TV or if you do, they’re a side character that’s almost meant to be laughed at. But since you grew up in India, in a society where you were ethnically the same as people around you, I’m curious how you realized that representation is important.

It’s true, mainstream media’s representation of South Asians is always cast as a side character who is deeply rooted in their culture — but there’s so much more to that. It’s important to change the narrative because, yes, we do love our families and our traditions but we are independent, strong, brave and free to be who we want to be and love who we want, despite everything that’s been instilled in us from our youth. I think my lens widened when I moved to the Netherlands to study. It was there I became more aware of my difference, and when I decided to lean into it more. I truly believe our differences are our superpowers and it was here I sought out to become an influencer, to amplify that narrative.

Beyond bringing that much-needed representation of India to the forefront, what are your goals for your career in the global fashion and beauty space? We’ll get to inde wild, but I’m asking more so with the career you’ve been building with social media and brand campaigns, etc.

Ultimately, I want to bring South Asian beauty and fashion to the forefront of the industry but I want to share my experience along the way. Beyond this, in a sector where brown women are underrepresented, I want to show that our differences are what make us beautiful and that much more deserving of these platforms and in campaigns.

I know that you were in law school once upon a time, so you maybe didn’t start out planning to pursue a creative career, but at some point, you made a bit of a pivot and went in a different direction. What advice do you have for women or girls who want to pursue a creative career but maybe aren’t sure how to start because it’s not as clear-cut as the path to something like law or medicine?

Just start! Even if you feel silly, continue to work at it and try. Experiment and embrace what makes you unique, because people are interested in what is authentic.

On Motherhood…

 

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How has motherhood changed you?

Motherhood is a concept so pure and honest. A mother is responsible for not only her own life but two, simultaneously, for nine months. Understandably a special bond is formed that no other relationship could compare to. Needless to say, motherhood would change any woman; although our values might remain the same, our responsibilities and priorities will certainly differ. My day-to-day life has taken a complete 180 spin, prioritizing the little organizational habits more each day, whilst fulfilling my newly appointed (yet pleasurable) responsibilities. As for my perspectives on life, they have certainly shifted in a direction that prioritizes the future of my daughter. I have a desire to leave the world a better place for her to grow up in; whether that be contributions towards environmental or societal improvements — a mother just wants the best for her child.

I think what you portray on social media really demonstrates that women don’t have to be boxed into one category and that you can be a mom while also being a business owner or walking the red carpet. On the other hand, I think there exists an argument that this idea that women can “do it all” makes the expectations and pressures on women a little higher and unrealistic. What are your thoughts on this and how do you think we find a balance between not boxing women into one category but also not adding more pressures and expectations than there need to be?

Being a new mom and influencer, being so open about my life, I definitely understand the pressures that come with the title, especially with the world watching your every move. With that, I do always feel a constant need to “wear many hats” but it can become a bit draining because finding a great work/life balance is hard. However, I think whether you juggle between jobs, whether you have one job, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, a sister, an aunty, a grandma — [we] women are so strong. But in that, it’s also important to know that you’re allowed to take a break from wearing different hats, listen to your body and what it tells you. Our journeys are different, our stories are different but to find that balance is remembering that our womanhood is powerful and capable of accomplishing anything no matter what ‘box’ we are placed in.

You are doing so much, and I think it’s fair to assume that you have some help behind the scenes. Culturally, I’m curious if you feel a stigma about outsourcing certain things — whether that’s cleaning or cooking or folding laundry. I ask because I know that growing up in the subcontinent it’s common to have help in the home and it’s not stigmatized at all, but I think in the global West there is a little bit of that stigma where if you’re not making your baby organic applesauce yourself, you’re doing it wrong; or, that if you hire a nanny to take care of your baby, you’re somehow not being a great mom. Now that you live in Europe and now that you’re a mom, I’m wondering if you’ve felt that stigma at all.

As much as I would like to acknowledge the fact that mothers are superheroes, we are still humans in reality. There are only 24 hours in a day, and believe it or not, we deserve a few to ourselves! It’s incredibly important to have a good support system around you. Having a helping hand allows you to buy time not only for yourself but also time that can help you be a better mother. Despite any cultural traditions, we are women of the 21st century who have work responsibilities to fulfill and need time to take a second to breathe. I personally am a strong believer in taking that spare hour to soak in a relaxing bath or hit the gym for a power session. In every sense, to be a good parent, you have to care for yourself in order to have the strength to take care of your family — both physically and emotionally.

Let’s Talk About inde wild

 

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I’m super excited to learn more about your brand and I want to say that I appreciate you putting so many experts with unique perspectives together on the team for inde wild. I’m curious what really got you inspired to do this and what gap in the need-space you saw that led you to start this company.

It was never a matter of if inde wild would come to be, it was when. Growing up my mother was an ayurvedic doctor, so I’ve always been exposed to the science of skin and Ayurvedic rituals that help to enhance and connect the body to the soul. I struggled with acne so I know firsthand how important it is to find the right products that will work for my skin type and tone. I wanted to create a brand that not only solved those problems but I wanted it to be real — I want to be radically transparent about not just what ingredients are in these products but who these are made for. It’s suitable for all skin types but also caters to the specific needs of brown skin tones, like myself.

At least here in the U.S., there’s a new celebrity beauty or skincare line coming out every month at Sephora and only a handful of those really stick around long-term. What are some challenges to celebrity makeup and beauty lines that you’ve seen in the past and how do you think inde wild is going to be different and not fall prey to those same challenges?

I think what sets inde wild apart from the rest is that we are backed by our expert board. We lean on our diverse board of all-female experts consisting of cosmetic chemists, formulators, Ayurvedic doctors and more. We’re pairing our ancient rituals and culture with cutting-edge science by involving experts on both ends of the spectrum from choosing the Ayurvedic ingredients to the formula creation, which took two years to develop! With bringing Ayurvedistry to the market — a brand new segment of beauty — we’re offering something new and unheard of, filling whitespace.

What celebrity beauty lines do you admire and think have done a good job?

Among the many honorable beauty brands in the industry, I’d have to admit the ones that truly stand out to me are Honest Beauty by Jessica Alba, Ouai by Jen Atkin and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. These are all representatives of values I stand for, such as transparency, self-acceptance and overall representation for women of color. It can be so easy to get lost in a world of false advertising, so when a refreshing brand with true values peaks, appreciation must be given.

What are you most excited about with inde wild and what are you most fearful of?

I think I’m most excited to see how consumers react to using both products and to see how the brand will develop over the years to come. It’s definitely time for us South Asian and desi women to hone our talents and be celebrated as entrepreneurs.

It’s clear from speaking with Khosla that she is trying to live out her values by making the most of her global presence. Putting the spotlight on everything that India has to offer — whether in terms of fashion or Ayurvedic skincare — is something she has become so skilled at throughout her career. We couldn’t be prouder of her and we are so excited to see how inde wild, which launched on October 12, changes the beauty industry.

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