As the founder of a mobile makeup team, I often find myself in admiration of various makeup artists who turn their passion into a profitable business. Always looking to perfect and hone my craft I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the work of master stylists Harp Sohal and Shannon Mann of Vancouver’s Pink Orchid Studio. Being a visual person, the POS Instagram is eye-catching to both brides-to-be and fellow artists like me. To excel at anything, it’s imperative that we learn from the top leaders in our chosen industries. So with a drive for betterment, the student in me found herself in the back cab heading over to the POS studio for a one-on-one class with one of the world’s most glamorous CEOs.
Enter Shannon Mann. Runway tall and elegant, Mann exudes warm ease paired with feminine energy. The same feminine energy is often lacking in male CEOs and the male-dominated world of corporate.
My mind raced with questions about beauty techniques and business as I stood in the presence of the woman half responsible for building one the most successful South Asian and all-woman operated beauty businesses in North America. Polished and pretty, Shannon is beyond just glamourous. Underneath it all she is equipped with the skill of a marketing exec, is an excellent content creator, educator, and master stylist.
My one-on-one class left me beyond transitioning into becoming a master stylist. I had the opportunity to have a real conversation about business and the beauty industry with Shannon. I left filled with knowledge, inspiration, and most importantly the ability to share with other femtrepreneurs how they too can become successful amidst the roller-coasters waves of entrepreneurialism.
What is the inspiration behind the name Pink Orchid Studio?
“When we decided to create this business, I had the vision to create a brand that was larger than both of us as individuals. We wanted to be more than just ‘Shannon & Harp’ as artists, but an entity that would be synonymous with service, artistry, and excellence. So we decided on a company name. We love orchids and the color pink, and we wanted to open a studio location. It came together and we liked the sound of it, and we never looked back.“
Many women gawk at Pink Orchid’s gorgeous Instagram feed. How have you built your social media following? Your Instagram has a whopping 143k followers and counting. Any specific tips on how creative entrepreneurs can grow their social media tribe?
“Our social media strategy has been simple, create great content and post. We have worked very hard to practice our art until we mastered it, and as they say “the proof is in the pudding”. It does take a lot of effort not only to execute beautiful services for your clients but we also have to capture the experience on social media and share it to the world. My tips to any entrepreneur is to master your craft, and then take the steps to share that with your audience. In our case images and videos of clients is the most effective way of promoting what we do. You also need to keep up with technology. This is our 10 year anniversary at POS, we started on Facebook, then came Instagram, and now Snapchat, IG story… the landscape is ever-changing. Use the tools to promote your work is almost as important as the work itself.”
Many women entrepreneurs and artists look up to you and are in awe of Pink Orchid’s success. What would you say are the most important factors in creating the right brand for your target audience?
“Do what you love, become the best you possibly can at it. We didn’t create a service for an audience or market in our case. We love helping women feel beautiful and the business came to us.”
Being self-employed or in business for yourself can be a roller coaster. For women out there who are starting out as makeup artists or building a brand what advice can you give about weathering the lows and feeling down when their business or brand isn’t going the way they expected?
“It is an intensely competitive market, and success will not come overnight. Many people go to art school but never become successful artists. Why? Art takes time and effort to master (think about how long it took you to learn to write). This task is no different. I do feel that the artists that put in the time to master their art, once they put in the work, there will be a place for them in their industry. If you want this, don’t give up. Keep practicing. There will always be setbacks. Stay the course, don’t give up.”
Many people start a brand or business but find themselves fading out of it or not being consistent. How have you stayed driven over the years and not lost motivation or faith in making Pink Orchid what it is today? What is your motivation?
“We have suffered through those challenges, life happens, and priorities change over time for all of us. But we love what we do, and POS is like a garden we are tending, and it has grown over time, we want to see how much we can grow. And again it comes back to really enjoying providing services to our clients. Harp and I both live in homes full of boys, our work provides us girl time with our staff and clients, and we are doing what we both love. Making women confident and feeling beautiful to face the most important days for their lives is so rewarding!”
Are there any artists or businesswomen that you look up to? If so, who and why?
“Huda Beauty is definitely Harp’s inspiration. She is an industry leader in cosmetics, with a family to raise, she and unapologetically her quirky self. I remember purchasing Kevyn Aucoin’s iconic book ‘Face Forward’ when I started doing hair and makeup before Pink Orchid and I was awestruck by his skills and the power of fashion, hair, and makeup to transform someone into somebody else. I was hooked and the bar was set.”
Unfortunately, there’s the age-old stereotype of catty behavior amongst women? In your opinion, what can we as women do to stand more united and support each other as artists in the same industry?
“We discuss this a lot in our academy program, it’s an important dialogue to start as they embark on their careers in this industry. We try our best not to partake in this kind of behaviour, and we tell our students loud and clear that throwing shade doesn’t make your star shine any brighter. Unfortunately, this behavior is rampant in the Vancouver makeup artist community. Let your work do the talking, talking about other artist during your appointments makes you look insecure and petty. Super gross behavior in my opinion. Ick!”
How did pink orchid get started?
“We started very organically. We were both were sought after by friends and family over the years as hair and makeup stylists on the most important events in their lives. I started doing wedding hair and makeup after I first got married, I realized that I looked better on the events I styled myself and I found trained professionals in the industry were so very limited at that time. I did hair and makeup for about a year and then I quit. I received a promotion at work with full-time hours and my husband was getting annoyed that now my evening and weekends were taken up with appointments. Fast forward a few years, Harp and I looked for artists for her wedding and we weren’t happy with any of the trials or consultations. She is really good and after several disappointing meetings ended up doing her own makeup on her wedding day, and I helped with her hair and clothing styling. We were onto something. We talked about opening a business and I decided to quit my job, and to pursue this full time with Harp as my partner. We were going to give this 110%, create a beauty and service brand, we knew the demand was there.We were going to become the artists that WE needed on our big day. It was then our passion for beauty and fashion was turned into a one-stop service for brides looking for the very best on their big day.”
Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to POS lovers?
“I would like to say thank you. Thank you for supporting us over the last 10 years, the feedback from all of you has been wonderful, and keeps us motivated to grow and continue to provide you with the very best products and services to help you look your best on the most important days of your life.”
Dashing through the aisles, in a festive shopping spree, in the air, there’s a feeling of glee! The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and what better way to spread joy than by curating a gift guide that celebrates diversity and creativity. Jingle bell, jingle bell, it’s time to share the cheer! Join us on a sleigh ride through the realms of home, fashion, beauty, food, and kids, as we showcase the brilliance of South Asian and minority-owned brands. The holiday season is more than just tinsel and lights; it’s a time to embrace the spirit of giving.
Dive into a world of premium artisan dried fruit-based products, seamlessly combining gourmet excellence with a commitment to a healthy lifestyle — 100% natural, preservative-free, and without added cane sugar. Elevate your festivities with these exquisite, guilt-free indulgences.
Explore the culinary magic of ‘The Chutney Life Cookbook‘ this season, a perfect gift for busy moms and curious cooks alike. A culinary treasure trove filled with anecdotes, love notes, and time-saving tips. Share the joy of flavorful journeys inspired by travels and Indian-American cooking traditions.
Savor the joy of the season with the ‘Milk and Cardamom’ cookbook — infusing every occasion with bold, unforgettable desserts inspired by Indian-American heritage. From Ginger–Chai Chocolate Pot de Crème to Gulab Jamun Bundt Cake, each bite is a celebration worth sharing. Get it here!
Bring home the flavors of India with The Cumin Club’s ready-to-eat meals — a diaspora-inspired solution, crafted by expert chefs using regional ingredients for an authentic taste of comfort; perfect for the busy holiday season.
If you’re craving authentic chai that tastes just like what you’d get back in India, check out Kolkata Chai Co at either of two city New York City location or order from their online store. Their “Aunty Approved” masala chai is a must-try!
Sip the spirit of the season with Kola Goodies’ teas — crafted from high-quality, directly sourced ingredients that not only bring freshness to your cup but also empower the communities they hail from. Share the warmth of conscious sipping this festive holiday.
Are you a chai lover? If so, you need to check out The Chai Box’s fantastic tea blends! From the aromatic Masala Chai to soothing Green Tea, each hand-crafted blend takes you on a flavorful journey through the diverse regions of India.
Fuel your day with Transcendence Coffee, a brew that breaks free from traditional limits, merging specialty beans and all-natural flavors for a truly unique and exotic coffee experience. It’s not just coffee; it’s a flavorful journey connecting cultures and countries worldwide, starting with the founders’ roots in India and Algeria.
Embrace the sunshine spirit with a 7-year-old rum from the Philippines. Infused with tropical vibes, it boasts flavors of sweet pineapple, a hint of vanilla, and a pinch of sea salt — here’s some island bliss for the holidays.
Ignite your holiday celebrations with Naagin Sauce — an authentic tribute to India’s spice culture. Free from purees and high fructose corn syrup, these hot sauces are a versatile, high-quality blend, perfect for the true Indian palate. Bring the warmth and flavor of India to your festive table.
Sip into the holidays with Vahdam Teas, a favorite of icons like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Indulge in premium teas sourced directly from India, elegantly delivered to your doorstep, making for the perfect gift or personal treat this festive season.
Delight in the holidays with Madhu Chocolate, a small-batch, award-winning chocolatier crafting unique Indian-inspired flavors. Indulge in handcrafted chocolate made with cacao from India and Colombia. Support a 100% LGBTQ+ and 50% BIPOC minority-owned business from Austin, Texas, making for a sweet and inclusive holiday treat.
Spice up your festive season with Diaspora Co. — bringing you the freshest, heirloom, and single-origin spices directly from South Asian farmers. Elevate your holiday cooking and add a touch of authentic flavor to your celebrations.
Wake up to the holidays with Ministry of Kaapi! This woman-owned, wildlife-friendly coffee haven is all about fine Indian coffee. Sourced, imported, and roasted with love — their super slow-drip Decoction proves that good things, especially coffee, take time. Cheers to festive sips!
Savor divine indulgence with Theobroma —’ Food of the Gods.’ From brownies to breads, their heavenly treats spread smiles nationwide. If you find yourself in India this holiday season, don’t miss the joy at Theobroma Patisseries!
Add some noise to your holiday cooking with Omsom, a Vietnamese phrase for noisy and riotous, just like our unruly childhood car rides. Crafted by two first-gen Vietnamese sisters, Omsom brings delicious sauces and saucy noodles in collaboration with iconic Asian chefs. Get ready for a flavorful riot!
Up the ante in your kitchen with Our Place, where kitchen essentials meet connections made across the table. Begin your culinary journey today with their Heirloom dinnerware, creating moments that last.
Bask in the golden goodness of Brightland — consciously crafted extra virgin olive oils and vinegar from California, containing nothing but fruit, love, and sunshine. Explore their mini bottles, the perfect stocking stuffers that bring a taste of the Golden State to your holiday season.
Awaken your taste buds with Driftaway Coffee — offering personalized, farmer-focused, and eco-friendly subscriptions, delivering a unique tasting experience. Keep an eye out for their Indian-origin coffee, adding a touch of warmth and flavor to your holiday sips.
Elevate your hydration game with Urja — 100% real coconut water straight from Kerala. Cold-crafted to retain all the nutrients and flavor, URJA is your go-to for pure refreshment. Stay hydrated and refreshed this holiday season!
Snack guilt-free with Asha Pops — offering healthy, vegan, and paleo low-calorie treats made from popped water lily seeds, known as makhana. These plant-based delights are not just low in calories but also delicious.
Elevate your well-being with Spicewell’s clean and delicious pantry essentials, blending ancient Ayurvedic wisdom with modern science. Their commitment to non-GMO, vegan ingredients ensures a guilt-free indulgence.
South Asian-American fusion snacks made with guilt-free ingredients? Yes, please. Their holiday box comes with their staple offerings: Black Truffle Masala, Chili Chaat Popcorn, Mint Chaat Popcorn, and a bag of their Black Truffle Masala-Oven Roasted Peanuts and Chili Chaat Oven-Roasted Peanuts.
A slow fashion handmade brand that brings timeless elegance to your holiday season. Crafted using traditional methods, their durable sandals are inspired by the classic Kohlapuris’ blending of conventional and modern designs for a unique touch.
The pioneers of Desi food-inspired jewelry — from jalebis to pani puri — their quirky-themed earrings make the perfect holiday gift for co-workers or your secret Santa group. Add a sprinkle of fun and flavor to your festivities!
A small batch, Indo-Western swimwear boutique bringing you unique, desi-inspired designs crafted for beach comfort. Make a splash this holiday season with distinctive swimwear that stands out on the shore.
Tia Bhuva is a pioneer in game-changing saree silhouettes that offer maximum comfort, efficiency, and effortlessness. Beyond sarees, they curate great ethnic options with the intention of helping you look and feel your best, hassle-free.
Houston-based slow fashion studio merging South Asian art with contemporary design to create bold and beautiful garments. Seize the opportunity to add their unique pieces to your collection this holiday season!
Wrap yourself in the warmth of State Cashmere — crafted with generations of expertise from Inner Mongolia’s cashmere heritage. Improve your winter style with luxurious pieces that bring comfort and sophistication to your holiday season!
Founded by three in 2013, Dagne Dover creates problem-solving bags – for all the problem-solving humans out there. An eco-friendly brand, Dagne Dover bags keep up, stay organized, and look good doing it.
Dive into the unique world of Warp, a Pakistani-made contemporary brand reshaping fashion norms with high-quality, abstract forms, and minimalist accessories. Discover non-conformist aesthetics and support the reinvention of leather craftsmanship.
A Los Angeles-based brand, intricately weaving traditional Indian textile techniques. Crafted in Gujarat by local artisans, their designs are not just stylish but also embody fair labor practices, time-honored craftsmanship, and a touch of holiday flair!
An innovative brand founded by a mother-son duo, seamlessly blending traditional craftsmanship with modern technology. Morni’s subscription-based platform revolutionizes the fashion landscape, promoting supply chain transparency and radical self-expression.
Explore the intersection of sustainability and luxury with Gundi Studios, a brand redefining the connection between traditional Indian textile techniques and contemporary silhouettes. Crafted by women for non-traditional women,.
This is a brand that epitomizes contemporary chic with a touch of traditional elegance. Gift the joy of bold prints and fashion-forward designs to your loved ones, encapsulating the spirit of celebration in every outfit. And calling all brides-to-be, don’t miss out on exploring Masaba’s first-ever bridal collection that debuted this fall — a blend of modern sophistication and timeless charm for your special day!
If you’re looking to indulge in some sonu (gold) this holiday season, check out Sonu Company for fine jewelry. As seen on the latest season of “Indian Matchmaking,” this brand is 100% Seema Aunty-approved!
A Jaipur-based fashion haven enriched with the essence of rural India’s historical textile techniques, HARAGO seamlessly blends tradition with modernity. By crafting contemporary clothing, this brand contributes to the preservation of ancient crafts, empowering traditional artisans to share their legacy with a global audience.
A brand crafted with a vision to amplify the artistry of South Asian craftsmanship — and operating between the vibrant streets of Delhi, India, and North Carolina — Sani brings to life clothing and accessories inspired by the rich cultural tapestry of South Asia.
Get ready to chill in style with Monday Chill! They’re all about bringing you the comfiest bamboo loungewear that’s both budget-friendly and downright luxurious. Say hello to effortless everyday coolness!
Add a cozy touch to your space with House of Amu’s exquisite cushions. Plus, enjoy a free 30-minute consult to discover the perfect pillow combination that suits your style and elevates your home decor.
If you’re feet are constantly cold, The Kushie keeps you warm year-round.Available in picture worthy prints like plaid, chenille, rose and blush, you can be sure to find one for you or someone you love.
Celebrate the season with Nayana Design Studio, where each hand-illustrated pattern is a whimsical blend of global inspiration and Indian tradition. Gift joy, magic, and meaning with their unique and vibrant creations.
Unwrap the essence of South Asian culture with Shop Kishmish’s hand-poured candles and thoughtfully designed paper goods. Each product preserves the charms of tradition, offering relatable and nostalgic delights for the festive season.
Toast to the festive season in style with Rayt’s vibrant glassware, adding a pop of color to your celebrations. Crafted with high-quality materials, these glasses are perfect for clinking in joyous moments that last a lifetime.
Your ultimate online plant shop, catering to plant enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a budding plant parent or searching for the perfect green gift, The Sill has you covered with a variety of plants, resources, and delightful merchandise!
Dive into the world of cultural crafts with Hamesha Project’s enchanting kits. Each kit is a celebration of slow regional crafts from South Asia, offering a mindful and joyful crafting experience for kids and beyond.
Founded by the sister duo Taran and Bunny, the brand was created to make self care easier and healthier, while destigmatizing normal things like acne, puberty, periods and sex ed. We’re here to protect and nurture, and shift the narrative away from perfect skin and towards healthy skin.
Powered by science, backed by tradition, AAVRANI honors the founder Rooshy Roy’s beauty and celebrates her duality by uniting my worlds: clinically-proven, modern-day routine and ancient, all-natural rituals.
Spice up your holiday gifts with Teak Beauty’s lip products, a nod to the beauty of South Asian traditions. Crafted by Telugu sisters Nupoora and Pooja Reddy, these lip essentials bring a touch of glamour inspired by the intricate Teak wood doors of our homes. Perfect for adding a pop of color and culture to your festive season!
Treat yourself — or a loved one — to the beauty of Ayurveda with Forest Essentials. Indulge in organic facial, body, and hair care for a truly rejuvenating holiday pampering. Stock up on these cult favorites for a luxurious and wellness-filled season.
Your mother’s wisdom comes to life in Ghlee’s products, harnessing the goodness of ghee. Their lip balms are a godsend, especially during harsh winters, and make for the perfect gift. Not to mention, they smell divine!!
Transform your skincare routine with Ranavat, uniting luxury and Ayurvedic wisdom. With a cult following, their Mini Rituals Set is the perfect gift for a skincare enthusiast, promising indulgence and radiant results this holiday season.
Discover thoughtful beauty crafted with deep understanding and care for diverse skin types. With a goal of promoting healthy skin for all, Sachi Skin brings you skincare solutions that cater to your unique needs.
Indulge in the goodness from the Indian forest with Soma Ayurveda. As featured in VOGUE, ALLURE, and VANITY FAIR, their products offer an intimate way to experience fragrance and embrace each season with skin that shines.
Experience inside-out nourishment with Kanya. Their products, rooted in ancient yogic Chakra Balancing and Aromatherapy, go beyond skincare. They leave your skin supple, hydrate your body, elevate your mood, and work on internal imbalances through distinct chakra-focused essential oil blends.
Immerse yourself in the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with Pure Alchemy Beauty. Rooted in this 5,000-year-old Indian healing system, their handcrafted products embrace every Ayurvedic principle, ensuring a holistic approach to skincare.
Redefining beauty standards, Mudita Earth is on a mission to bring clean beauty to women of color. Embrace skincare that empowers without compromise, providing a toxin-free path to glowing, confident skin.
Ever wondered how to make your daily skincare routine more exciting? Enter Nopalera! Their body products, infused with prickly pear and cactus, add a touch of Mexican freshness to your self-care game. give it a try!
Seeking a skincare routine that caters to diverse skin needs? Plantkos has got you covered! Their clinically-inclusive range addresses common concerns, ensuring effective results for all skin types and tones.
A South Asian haircare brand that needs to find a spot on your beauty shelf ASAP! Their Back To Your Roots Scalp and Hair Pre-wash offers all the benefits of a deep hair oil massage without the hassle of greasy strands.
On a mission to bring the wisdom of her foremothers, the secrets they held dear, and the natural ingredients they trusted, each tube of Aks Ubtan is a testament to this legacy. Enriched with Ayurveda’s power, their skin polish is a harmonious blend of nature’s most potent ingredients, such as Turmeric, Honey, Lactic Acid, and Jasmine Flowers.
Celebrate your unique beauty with Smart Melanin™ Beauty! Created by women of color, for women of color, Eadem offers science-backed, inclusive skincare that embraces, rather than alters, your natural tone. Redefine beauty standards with skincare made just for you.
Let’s make this season merrier by supporting these unique businesses and delighting our loved ones with thoughtful treasures that reflect the rich tapestry of our world. Happy holidays, and may your festivities be as bright and beautiful as the gifts you give!
Holistic beauty trends are more prevalent than ever — that makes ayurvedic beauty brands incredibly sought-after, as well. Do you find yourself asking what your beauty products are actually made of? A lot of us even resort to food products for a skincare routine such as honey for face wash.
The term “Ayurvedic Beauty” is getting more recognition outside the South Asian world as well.
Ayurvedic beauty is coined upon the term “Ayurveda,” which originated in Hindu culture as the basis of utilizing the five life forms — air, water, ether, fire, and earth — to heal the human body.
Is your skin feeling a little dry this winter? Nourishing your skin with body oil will lend it the right amount of moisture — Soma Ayurvedic’s jasmine body oil can do that trick! Shop the oil, and their full line of products, here.
If you’re familiar with author and podcast Host, Jay Shetty, then you may have heard of his tea line, Sama Tea. Herbal teas provide many natural benefits. Has it been a stressful week? Try their lavender rose chamomile tea for some TLC. Check them out here.
Know the Netflix show “Ginny & Georgia?” Loved the actress’ fresh-looking skin? Sahajan Skincare is behind that glow! They’re a must-try, featured in both Vogue and Elle India. See their full range of products here.
This unique company showcases its brand with an emphasis on ‘holistic.’ Whether it’s bad hair days or excessive shedding, not only do Shaz and Kiks provide the products to help but also break down the science behind the problem. Go on your very own shopping spree by clicking here!
Looking for accessible ayurvedic beauty products? Look no further! Ranavat is now in Sephora. With a beauty line that covers both hair and skin, there’s something here for everyone. See for yourself here.
Are you looking for brown skin-friendly sunscreen filled with nutrients? Look no further. Inde Wild has its very own SPF 50, with natural substances such as liquorice extract and cica, and it’s a mineral SPF suitable for all skin types. See what the brand is all about and shop it here.
I’m always in the market for brown girl-friendly lipsticks, and ones that are made of natural ingredients are a huge plus. Mango People does just this with their unique lipstick colors that suit all brown skin tones. Try them out here!
Need to swap out your shampoo for something better? Try Kama Ayurveda’s Ayurvedic Hair cleaner, infused with a variety of herbs and pulses with key ingredients like vetiver, tulsi, rose, moong beans, and shikakai. They have a variety of products to choose from so start with your hair and keep shopping for more here!
Just getting into skincare and don’t know where to start? PRATIMA skincare has starter sets, with basics, that every woman can use such as vitamin C serum, essential oils, and collagen creams. Grab yours now by shopping here!
Struggling with hair care recently? Fable & Mane includes various hair oils in their collection that help grow and nourish your hair. Not only that, they have a scalp detox line as well — definitely worth checking out. See their full range of products here.
Ever since we can recall, the Cannes Film Festival has been a merger of movies and glamour. On one side, there are hand-picked films — ready to premiere and make their mark in the world of entertainment — and on the other, audiences and paparazzi alike are served epic moments in fashion.
The festival, aimed to preview upcoming films from all over the world, invites a wide variety of guests that span the film fraternity, of course, but more recently, has opened its doors to many digital content creators, including renowned South Asian creatives.
With a more vast guest list comes a more recent debate: Cannes is a film festival and not a fashion showcase. Kickstarting the debate this year was none other than ace Bollywood director, Nandita Das, who in an Instagram post shared:
Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes!
In short, Das wants Cannes’ narrative to continue to focus on films.
But of course, there’s been a paradigm shift in the guest list over the last few years; this shift has allowed talents from various industries — including lifestyle content creators, entrepreneurs, etc., who showcase their work in fashion and beauty like fine masterstrokes — to walk the carpet and represent their craft, making space for others in their industry.
Influential names like Dolly Singh, Kaushal, Diipa Buller-Khosla, and Shivani Bafna — all of whom made a raging impact on the red carpet this year — weigh in on the significance of representing South Asian artists/influencers on the red carpet, and how they feel they’ve been part of this paradigm shift at Cannes Film Festival.
I believe that each step we take at events like Cannes sends a powerful message of diversity, cultural richness, and artistic excellence. Representation matters, and the presence of South Asian creators on the red carpet at Cannes helps broaden the narrative of beauty, talent, and creativity. It allows us to showcase our unique perspectives, narratives, and contributions, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive industry. By actively participating and making our presence felt, we help create more opportunities and spaces for South Asian creators, encouraging others to share their stories with the world.
Since 2015, the first time I walked the red carpet, till this year I have always been invited by L’Oreal Paris, one of the main sponsors of the event. It has always been such an honor to be invited to the festival through the makeup brand that I have been using for almost two decades, and, before my social media career began. Personally, I feel a sense of acknowledgment from such a prestigious brand, and its head office teams that sponsor Cannes Film Festival, and value the work I have done and continue to do as a South Asian content creator within the beauty space. Makeup, hair, and beauty will always play a big role within the film industry and it’s something I have always created my content around which is why I am proud to attend.
This is a proud moment not just for me but also [for] my peers and the entire content creator ecosystem given that we have reached such new global stages and presence. Of course, as you said, such film festivals, once considered as an exclusive hub for a congregation of the finest acting talents have, in the last few years, opened their arms to more people from the entertainment industry.
This is not just a sudden phenomenon with a burst of Indian creators at the festival this year but there is increased participation from non-film and non-South Asian celebrities across various spectrums from different sides of the world. Along with the many filmmakers, actors, producers, etc I also met some amazing influencers and entrepreneurs from other sides of the world. It’s amazing to represent India and celebrate and champion the advent of the digital ecosphere on such a prominent platform.
The confluence of actors and creators signified the amalgamation of traditional cinema and new-age digital influence, highlighting the transformative power of creative expression and how festivals like Cannes have become more forthcoming and progressive in their approach.
Cannes, like any other prominent festival, boasts of a red carpet that is synonymous with fashion and glitz, and I wanted to use this opportunity to represent all the amazing Indian fashion designers on the carpet besides, of course, attending the screenings. As someone who is just not an influencer but also an actress, I thoroughly enjoyed all the red-carpet screenings and meeting like-minded film talent from around the world at the event. At some point in the future, I would like to be attending Cannes for a film I’ve featured in.
Creators are often placed into boxes of where they belong and the rooms they can be a part of. Being on the red carpet dismantles the ideology that there’s a cap on how far we, as creators and as a South Asian community, can go and what we can achieve.
The Cannes Film Festival has always been viewed as the epitome of a glamorous event — everyone who attends looks like they’re living their best lives. I used the platform to share an authentic message of what the experience felt like for me. To represent all of us who doubt our potential, experience imposter syndrome, and are nervous to find their place, yet continue to push through to achieve their dreams!
As the first Indian American influencer to walk at Cannes, I hope I can inspire young women to confidently ask, ‘Why not me?’
There’s no doubt that the Cannes Film Festival is centered around films, and continues to be a unique space for the global film fraternity to bring their art and showcase their aptitude. But, creators like Bafna, Singh, Buller-Khosla, and Kaushal — a special shoutout to Raja Kumari for being instrumental in paving the way as well — have their own set of responsibilities to fulfill upon their invitation to the prestigious event. Their will to represent their South Asian identities, celebrate their industries, and continue to hold space for their peers makes their presence at Cannes more than just clothes.
All images in the featured photo are from the influencers’ Instagram feeds.