Preeti Vasudeva Shares her Personal Journey on her Fight Against Breast Cancer

breast cancer

by Krina Chauhan

Diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in February, well-known wedding and events planner Preeti Vasudeva is now determined to help other women become aware of the disease. After many promising years successfully branching out her event planning business, Preeti Exclusive, Preeti was left to fight a new chapter of her life.

Below is Preeti’s story in her own words. Photos are courtesy of Nayeem Vohra

Finding Out

In October 2014, while, in the shower, I felt something by my underarm that felt like a knot. I ignored it for a while thinking it was down to a busy season I was having. It wasn’t until January of this year that I was stretching and felt the pain of another lump on the same breast. I started to freak out, and I was convinced that the new lump was a tumor.

I had a two-day wait before my primary care appointment, and all I remember doing at that time was saying to myself,

‘Preeti, you have an appointment in a few days, don’t Google anything as you may not like the answer… Don’t freak out, it’s going to be a simple appointment, and all this will be behind you.’

During my appointment, it was mentioned that because of my age and family history, the lump might be nothing more than a cyst, and two days later I was scheduled in for a sonogram. I still remember what the technician said, something that will still stay with me forever,

‘If it hurts, that’s a good thing, cancer is a silent killer, that’s why some women don’t even know they have breast cancer.’

After the results from the sonogram, the doctor dismissed the cyst theory, and I was immediately sent for a mammogram, and that is when the real panic set in. I waited for 30 agonizing minutes for the results, only then to be told that I needed a biopsy to determine if it was or was not cancer.

February 3, 2015, is a day I will never forget. I remember my mom’s hand slowly getting weaker, holding mine from sheer shock, and my dad asking the doctor many questions.

I remember crying, in total disbelief, asking if it was my lifestyle of stress, or travel that could have caused this; my doctor very calmly said that cancer doesn’t discriminate, it’s a game of roulette.

It turned out that the lump that hurt, that triggered me to make the appointment, was benign, and the lump I ignored, was the tumor. Had it not been for the painful stretch, I would probably still have ignored the lump and been in complete denial, all while continuing a busy life.

Naturally as a business owner, the inevitable questions were racing through my mind, how would I fulfill my wedding contracts? What’s the backup plan if I can’t be there? How do I even tell the couples and vendors? Do I plan my treatment around the weddings or just give the events to someone else?

I’m always prepared for the unexpected at an event, but then I realized how poorly I was at preparing something so personal happening to me. I started to think, who would stay in my life and be by my side?

Who would fight with me and support me? Would it be people I expect or would I be surprised? We never know what we mean to people until our friendship, love and loyalty are tested.

After the initial shock wore off, I went into business mode; I was to become a planner for my life, not just for my clients.

breast cancer awareness

Treatment Process

Throughout my entire treatment process, my mantra has been:

‘It could be worse, it could have been worse.’

I did twelve weeks of chemotherapy and seven weeks of radiation. I needed radiation because my sentinel node biopsy discovered that I had a lymph node affected, which meant as a precaution more options of treatment were needed. I also had surgery to have a port put into me to receive the chemotherapy drug, which is easier than through an IV.

During the weeks of chemotherapy treatment, most days I would be on bed rest in a lot of pain, fighting nausea, extremely tired, and physically burning up from heat within. I was also on steroids, which made me very bloated, and everything tasted like metal on top of the many restrictions on what I could eat or do.

When my radiation treatment started, the burns made it difficult for me to sleep and anything that area came into contact with felt like sandpaper. The swelling and extra weight was physically draining, but slowly I would regain some strength and energy, and by then, it was time for the next treatment.

The hardest part of treatment had to be the hair loss, and how quickly it started (within two weeks of first treatment). Hair is so valued in our culture, and we’re always surrounded by commercials and adverts of Indian women with long, volumouse, and shiny hair. I remember seeing some hair shed on a Thursday, and by Saturday, I was seeing clumps of my hair gathered in a knot. I was horrified seeing bald spots. That same day, I got my hair cut from my waist to my ears, but still there was very little I could do. By the next day, I woke up with my pillow now covered with shorter hair.

I made the decision that I was not going to watch my hair fall anymore, and my mom and I went wig shopping, bought a do rag and got a mundane; thankfully the shape of my head means I’m able to pull off the bald look. Sure, it made my ears look even bigger, but so was my smile.

I wanted to control my hair loss and after seeing it all fall, I realized, hair is just hair. Losing my hair has never stopped me from leaving the house or having visitors. I also only surrounded myself with those that would be comfortable with my hair loss because I’m certainly not going to be coy or apologetic about it. Slowly after that the hair from my lashes and eyebrows fell out, but I’ve tried to see the positive side of it all— free laser treatments!

I do, though remember the day I had my lowest moment. I just wanted to stay in bed and be numb with drugs to make the pain stop. Talking hurt, but I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I just wanted to lie in bed and have the day end as quickly as it could. I was crying uncontrollably, yet even that hurt. I didn’t know that my cousin sister-in-law were at the house, and she came into my room and I remember crying even harder. As she held my hand, she told me I was beautiful, but just not when I cried. Hearing that my tears stopped and laughter replaced them. I reminded myself that crying didn’t make me weak; it showed that I was alive and full of love for my family and friends.

My treatment process has been extremely hard and I’ve gone from a person who is very active, to someone in so much pain, unable to do the simplest things like walking down the stairs.

On some days I would laugh and say my summer is going by with no shaving required, yet on other days I would forget I don’t have hair, go to brush it and realize, ‘oh yeah, I have no hair,’ unable to recognize my reflection. On most days, I have embraced how I look, but on other days, I would go right back into bed and avoid a mirror.

On occasion, I go back and listen to the voice recordings I made of myself during scans, MRIs, and treatments. Just to hear the tone in my voice, whether it’s excitement, fear or nervousness, it reminds me how far I’ve come.

breast cancer

Friends and Family

My parents have been by my side at every appointment and treatment; my sister-in-law calls my mom the “Project Manager,” and my dad the “Operations Manager.” My mom did research on the best things to eat and how to make them while dad did all the grocery shopping. My family was like a well-oiled machine running a routine as best as we could.

My dad changed his schedule so that he was able to give me breakfast, then another family member would bring me lunch, and then my mom would be home by 5 p.m. — I can’t thank them enough. I have to thank my extended family too, and to say I have a big family is an understatement. We roll about 125 members deep all within a 30-mile radius, and everyone was ready to give their support.

Over time, my list of well-wishers has grown often sending quiet prayers and positive energy, and I’ve called these amazing souls “My Silent Army.”

I’m so grateful for the support shown by these individuals who have been with me the whole time. It’s the simple things like daily texts, funny memes or YouTube videos to make me laugh, the visits, and the gifts!

At one point, I had almost 35 bouquets of flowers, edible arrangements, and countless books! I also had gifts to ease my treatment like socks, eye masks, relaxation candles, movies, and audiobooks — even mouthwash! I also became obsessed with a quote a friend sent,

‘Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.’

I’ve been touched by the amounts of research my friends and family carried out to make me more comfortable, any food I craved was presented to me—I was so spoiled! I also have to thank my clients and vendors who have been amazing, and very supportive. I also cannot thank enough the support our wider community has offered to my parents too, it has been very touching—I’m a truly blessed woman.

Promoting Awareness

Within the South Asian community, I don’t think we talk about breast cancer as much as we should. It could be that within our parent’s generation, they felt ashamed to talk about this disease like it’s their fault. In our generation, although we have the resources available, as well as support, it’s still not widely spoken about, and we need to change this.

As South Asian women, we show skin in saree’s and we see risqué dance moves in Bollywood movies, but suddenly we become conservative on the discussion of health.

No one wants to be abnormal, and it’s the ‘what will people say’ syndrome that causes so much secrecy. Denial doesn’t solve anything and sometimes it’s a shame that diseases like these, are swept under the rug; this is why women in our culture tend to be diagnosed in later stages.

Through my friends, I have been hearing about many other women that have been battling this disease, but they didn’t say anything until I did. It’s unclear why, but I hope that many more women will feel empowered to ask for help or advice.

We live in the world where breast cancer can affect us at any age, at any time, and I would strongly suggest making sure a breast examination is a part of your annual well woman examination; early detection is KEY in fighting this disease. We need to be the generation that advocates and promotes early detection and preventative care until the word cancer no longer exists!

I’ve been in treatment from April to September, and I feel like a rockstar getting past them all, but then I meet other women who have been receiving treatment for years and suddenly can’t help but feel slight guilt. These women though have been wonderfully encouraging, telling me that everyone is different and we are all amazing regardless of how long we had to deal with this. We are fighters, we are strong, and we ROCK.

Although I kept my treatment process quiet, it wasn’t because I didn’t think my community wouldn’t support me, I kept quiet because I didn’t want questions asked, that I didn’t have the answers to. Some questions are without filters regarding marriage and kids, and I just want to finish my treatment with little eyes on me. I did, though sign up for a program called S.O.S. ‘Survivors Offering Support,’ in hopes that I can hold someone’s hand through their treatment process; and hope that if it’s a person of South Asian descent that they will find me!

Listening to your body in these really demanding times can actually save your life. We’re all busy #AintNobodyGotTimeForCancer, I get it, I was in it, but if something doesn’t feel right, take the time to invest in yourself and see a doctor; make sure the smallest things don’t end up being bigger ones later.

Moving on

Currently I’m on Hormone Therapy, and it’s not fun. I go through a number of roller coaster feelings daily. I can be moody, emotional and have some trouble concentrating, to laughing one minute, and angry the next; it’s entertaining and frustrating. I also hope to have this port removed before 2016, and I’m staying hopeful.

From initial diagnosis to where I am now, I’m still very comfortable talking about my diagnosis and experiences to anyone who asks. I still have a little of what they call ‘chemo brain’ where I will forget something like my phone number, but go figure, I can remember the exact flower my bride needs in her bouquet! I just have to remember it’s a matter of time and I can’t be hard on myself.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer has been a complete lifestyle change for me. My tumor was estrogen driven and environmental, so now I’m a big advocate for paraben free products. I threw out every product that contained parabens, and I always read the labels to make sure they are paraben and sulfate free; I also like to consult the toxicity reports on

As for food, I try to eat everything as natural and as raw as possible with very limited ingredients. I try to avoid soy and tofu as its high in estrogen, and I do miss coffee and wine, but I’ve realized that though I have to cut back significantly, I can still enjoy them in moderation.

It will take time to get my energy back to full charge, and to be able to stay out with friends and have a cocktail or two, but for now, I enjoy my time with them over lunch or dinner. Even with all of my treatments and positive spirit, I still have to fight everyday. You are not a survivor or in remission until you are clear for five years. Your hope, faith and strength have to get you through everyday! My future is unknown, which is nerve-racking for a planner, and dating, marriage, kids, health, and work will fall into place eventually; all that I can do is live day by day.

I am not sure why cancer came into my body, nor have I ever asked. Like many other things in my life, I figured this was one of those things that happen and I had to work through it.

Most importantly, what I have learned from this all is, perspective. I was always too busy, on the go, chasing that next event and planning a trip; the life you see on my social media was real life, it wasn’t a made up lifestyle. I made time for friends and family, but what happened to time for myself? What if the reason for this ugly thing to happen to me was for me to learn to breathe, to live in the moment, to focus on things and people that matter, to become more spiritual and to not sweat the small stuff, then sure I accept it.

This part of my life has taught me to appreciate the things and people that matter. You don’t know how precious your life is until you are fighting for it.

I hope no one reading this has to go through anything like I did, but I do want you to understand how limited our time here is. If you’re reading this, I would want to leave you with this:

Listen to your body, watch what you use and eat, live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy your life doing things with people that matter. You are irreplaceable and you have a long beautiful life to live- be your own superhero.

On Friday, New York Brown Girl staffers are supporting Preeti and our dear friend Ayesha Hakki at the Mischief Night Cancer Benefit and Costume Party 2015! We will be in the house to celebrate with Ayesha and Preeti on surviving breast cancer. Join us for the great cause on October 30 and don’t forget to wear a costume!

breast cancer awareness

Krina CKrina Chauhan recently quit her corporate life in pursuit of a life-long dream to travel the world. After witnessing many hidden gems, eating her way around through different countries and sharing a laugh or two with the locals, you can now find her pursuing another dream, to write. Krina wants to write about the things she loves and share it with the world, but don’t worry, though, a traveler’s heart never fades, and you will probably find her researching her next destination soon.

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … 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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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.

In Conversation With Emily Harwitz: Nature is for all of Us

Emily Harwitz
Emily Harwitz

Emily Harwitz is a journalist, photographer, and podcaster whose work focuses on making the outdoors a more inclusive place. Coming from a background in chemistry and ecology, Harwitz uses her knowledge to tell stories about the environment. She has written for many publications including High Country News, Hakai Magazine, Mongabay, Chemical & Engineering News, and more. Harwitz is an ambassador for Girls Who Click which is a nonprofit that empowers women to forge their paths in conservation photography. Her creativity does not stop there as Harwitz is also the host and producer of the Save the Redwoods League podcast: “I’ll Go If You Go.” Harwitz has explored a range of topics such as forest bathing, skateboarding, and building an inclusive community in the outdoors. Her stories do not stop there as Harwitz is always on the move looking for her next story. Continue reading to learn more about Emily Harwitz’s journey.

[Read Related: How Nature can Reduce Stress and Anxiety]

The term inclusion when it comes to the environment and outdoors does not always go together. How can we make the outdoors a more inclusive place?

The outdoors is inherently inclusive because, the moment you step outside, you’re outdoors, regardless of who you think you are. What needs to change is how we think about who is and isn’t “natural,” or what’s a “natural” way to behave. The natural way to be is however you are.

How have your personal experiences in nature affected the way you look at the rest of the world?

When I’m in nature, I feel the smallness of my being in the context of the bigness of the natural world. But the amazing thing is, when I slow down to look around, smell the air, touch the dirt, I feel like I’m a part of that nature, too. It’s really comforting to feel connected to something so vast outside myself. I no longer think it’s hoaky to say that appreciating nature’s beauty is spiritual for me. It just feels so good to look at water sparkling in the sun, or a dusting of purple and yellow flowers in a gently waving field of grass. Watching how animals and other creatures seem to flow through their landscapes is also a spiritual experience. How perfect they seem! And wow, I’m an animal, too!

This brings up some important questions: In what context do I exist that effortlessly? How can I foster that feeling for myself in my daily life? How can I foster that feeling for others? And how can I connect other people to that feeling of “I love being alive!”? That fuels so much of my work—wanting to share the feeling of what I experience in nature with others.

As you have covered many stories for various publications as a reporter, is there one that specifically calls out to you that you would like to expand upon?

I just wrote a story about biophobia, or the fear of nature, for Hakai Magazine and it got picked up by The Atlantic. I’m pretty stoked about that because this is a really important topic. The story’s about how certain aspects of modern life, like urbanization and the ensuing lack of daily nature experiences, are driving people to feel increasingly disconnected from nature. This not only impacts conservation, but also human health because nature provides so many benefits to physical and mental health. Here’s a good article introducing a growing body of research about the health benefits of nature immersion. Nature also provides the opportunity to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves, which I believe is an important thing to experience.

As someone who is in the field of environmentalism do you feel this influences you to follow a vegetarian or even vegan diet which is more supportive of animals from all walks of life?

Absolutely. Animals from all walks of life, I like that! I eat a pretty pescatarian diet and try to use Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch to look up the seafood I eat. I feel strongly about what I put in my body and where it comes from. Beyond the sustainability and health concerns of factory-farmed animals, I am deeply disturbed by the conditions animals are subjected to in factory farms. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up. If you do know what I’m talking about and you’re still eating conventionally-raised factory-farmed animals, I’d urge you to take another look. We all exist in systems, though, and I know it can be hard for people to totally overhaul their diets—especially with things like ag-gag laws in the US blocking the spread of information about the conditions farm animals are raised in. It’s a privilege to even be able to consider where I’m getting my food from, considering the vast food deserts in the US and how inaccessible fresh produce is for many. So, my hope is for a growing collective consciousness about our food systems that eventually leads to regenerative agriculture that’s healthy for all of us on this planet.

Are there any brands we can support which push the message of inclusion?

I think we should all consume less, so I’m going to recommend a few organizations promoting equitable outdoor access, diversity, and inclusivity: Skate Like a Girl, Feminist Bird Club, The Outdoorist Oath, Brown Girl Surf, Queer Asian Social Club, Hike Clerb. All of these orgs have great Instagram pages so you can fill your feed with diverse stories and faces. I guess this is still a kind of consumption, but hopefully an inspiring and generative kind!

How has Girls Who Click empowered you to get into the field of nature photography?

Girls Who Click connected me with an incredible filmmaking mentor, Dewi Marquis, who is also mixed Asian American. In addition to practical advice for film shoots, we’ve talked about work and life as women of color and the importance of listening to our own intuition during the creative process. Dewi’s involved with some great filmmaking organizations that I think the Brown Girl Magazine community would be interested in: Asian American Documentary Network, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, and Film Fatales.

[Read Related: Meet Preet: This is What an Antarctic Explorer Looks Like!]

As you have explored a range of topics on the Save The Redwoods League Podcast: “I’ll Go If You Go,” what are your plans for the newest season and how can we help support?

Thanks for this question! This new season is all about building community outdoors—hearing guests’ stories about how they started and grew their awesome community groups and organizations. My hope is that people can hear these stories and then go foster their own communities, wherever they are. All of our guests started with the desire to connect more with nature and others who can relate to their experiences as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ2S+ folks in the outdoors. If you identify with either or both of those categories, this podcast is for you! It’s by us, for us. The best way to support would be to listen, rate us 5 stars (if that’s how you feel), and share with friends. You can also follow the podcast on IG at @illgoifyougopodcast.

What is the Emily Harwitz starter kit for going camping or hiking?

I love this question! For hiking, aka a big walk outside, I always bring: a least one 32 oz. water bottle, a thermos of tea (oolong or green), a notebook or sketchbook, a pen or pencil. Sometimes I’ll bring a book that I don’t end up reading (how can I when there’s so much pretty nature to look at?), a tub of strawberries or other in-season fruit, my camera (currently shooting on a Sony alpha 6300 and a G200-600 lens). One of these days, I’m planning to bring my flute and a field recorder (Zoom H5). For going camping, I’d say: Make plans with a friend who already has lots of gear and likes to plan camping trips! Or there are lots of organizations that host camping trips you can sign up for. One day, I’ll go solo-backpacking, but I really enjoy camping with friends.

If you could go hiking with anyone in the world who would it be and why?

My Chinese grandpa who recently passed away. He loved nature, especially flowers, and I would love to go for a hike with to appreciate the beauty of nature together.

Who are your conservation heroes?

Personally: my grandmother who worked as lawyer to protect the environment in Florida, where I grew up. She introduced me to the whole world of conservation at an early age and I have so many joyful memories sifting through sargassum weed with her for tiny little shrimp and crabs, or looking for monarch caterpillars in the garden.

Thinking globally: Indigenous peoples around the world who steward and protect the lands they live on—including 80% of the world’s biodiversity. There’s growing recognition of this, and I hope to see more respect, protection, resources, and political action dedicated to Indigenous peoples who are doing this important work.

Do you feel that we will see a change and more representation in the outdoors?

Definitely! It’s already happening. Social media has actually been really beneficial in this regard because people can form their own communities online and share media and resources relevant to them. The outdoors industry is moving slower, but I’m seeing more initiatives to diversify marketing and such. The industry will have to adapt to include the people of the global majority if it wants to survive.

What do you see as the future for the outdoors?

Biodiverse (including humans!), inclusive, healthy, thriving, accessible experiences for adaptive skill levels. I am optimistic!

The sweet smell of petrichor, a cup of tea, and the redwoods. What more could you ask for?

True! Maybe an animal in the bushes nearby and a human friend to share it all with :)

[Read Related: Oil Spill Avoided in Caribbean Sea Thanks to Environmental Groups]

Lastly, what do you hope individuals take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?

We’re all natural and we’re all nature people. There are as many ways to love and be loved by nature as there are people.

Photo Courtesy of Dani Shi

By Arun S.

Arun fell in love with music at a young age by way of his middle school music teacher Mr. D. … Read more ›

Meet Fashion Blogger and Media Star Dolly Singh

Dolly Singh
Dolly Singh

Dolly Singh is a content creator who is from South Delhi. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from Delhi University. Singh then attended The National Institute of Fashion and Technology. She even had her own blog called “Spill the Sass.” Fashion is a true passion for Singh as she made her outfit of the day debut on Netflix’s Bhaag Beanie Bhaagon. She has even appeared on Modern Love Mumbai Edition! Singh was awarded Cosmopolitan Blogger Award in 2021 and IWM Social Media Star in 2022. Continue to learn more about Dolly Singh’s journey!

[Read Related: Fashion Influencer Ritvi Shah on how to Nail Content Creation]


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What parts of your childhood pushed you into the world of content creation?

I have always been an introverted-extrovert kind of person. During my early teens I wouldn’t speak much at home but in school I was quite the talkative showgirl. When I look back it seems so paradoxical, almost as if I suffer from a split personality. Somehow my earliest childhood memories are of my loving to be on stage. I remember when I was in the 12th grade, I cajoled my teacher to include me in a singing competition since I had never ever sung live on stage and I was persistent in my effort for over 4-5 years and eventually she gave up and she said ‘okay its your last year why don’t you go do it ‘and of course in the process I realized what a bad singer I was. But just the sheer joy of being on stage, performing to a live audience and entertaining people is what stirred me at a deeper level. I think on the other hand my reserved side allows me to study people and their nuances and store all those observations in my memory data bank which helps me create great content. I wouldn’t speak much at home, but you know when I did, it was just 2 punch lines and everybody would either laugh or get awkward. I think I always knew that I was born to entertain, and it was my destiny’s calling. I would always get jealous seeing child actors on newspapers and television and I was like ‘oh my God, I am a child, and I could be an actor, living my dream life but I’m still stuck here’.

Do you feel what you do can inspire and impact the world? Please elaborate.

Of course, I think anybody with a decent following on social media has the potential to positively impact the community. Content creators enjoy a certain reach and it’s so important to handle that responsibility meticulously and the kind of message that you’re putting out needs to be respectful of certain socially expected parameters and mindful of the basic laws of the universe. It’s better to say nothing, then to say something stupid something that is going to just bring out the worst in people or send out misleading signals. I feel like the amount of content that audiences are consuming these days can trigger positive change if it’s done in the right manner. I feel strongly about a lot of topics, and I make sure that my platform is a reflection of that in some way. With content creators as opposed to film stars and celebrities, there is a direct engagement with audiences and a more one-on-one connection and hence content creators stand at a more leveraged position to influence audiences positively. I love body positivity as a topic.

Who were your fashion icons growing up?

Any fashion events that you envisage yourself at in the future to represent the brown renaissance? I think a lot of my inspiration came from the indie pop movement of the 1900s and the 2000’s. I started watching Hollywood movies and a lot of my inspiration started coming from the Bollywood Hollywood section in glossies and I made cutouts of the media, the models, the people. Then came Disney Channel and FTV and I used to watch those when my mom was away at work. I would love to represent India at the Paris, New York and London runways and walk for Indian designers who are using sustainable fabrics and indigenous designs and helping skilled artisans make a living in India. I love Madhu Sapre, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawford.

As you started a style blog in college, what were some of your favorite pieces of clothing in your early years?

Yeah, it was called Spill The Sass. I love blogging on T-shirts because there are so many ways that you could style a basic white T-shirt. Another blog I enjoyed back in the day was 5 ways to style maxi skirts. If I had to choose two pieces of clothing it would be a T-shirt and jeans!

How has your style evolved over the years?

It’s evolved from minimalistic and pocket friendly to being experimental and qualitative. The more I visited fashion weeks and events, the greater I experimented with outfit ideas that I curated personally. Over the years, I’ve started leaning more towards keeping it classy, chic and comfortable.

Tell us about your favorite online character since you make a bunch of them?

My favorite online character of mine would be Raju Ki Mummy because it’s based on my own mother.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I would love to collaborate with Jenna Marbles. I love her to death. I discovered her few years ago and I would love to meet her in person. I mean she’s just a person who if I meet, I will just start sobbing like a child.

[Read Related: Malvika Sitlani on Content Creation, Entrepreneurship and Womanhood]


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Have you faced adversity in your field? How have you risen from it?

Adversities are just an everyday fact of life but I like to believe my dreams and goals are bigger than my fears and setbacks. I know at the end of the day I want to be something; I want to give back and quitting isn’t the solution. Every time I face a creative block, I just tell myself this ‘get up and get to work, there are many who look up to you, you can’t disappoint them’. Also, the support from family, friends is nothing less than therapeutic especially when you’re having that typical bad day. I run towards therapy when I hit rock bottom, which happens quite often. We often feel burnt out, exhausted, tired, and just sad. I’ve been taking therapy for the last two years. It’s been beneficial. I’m not saying all my problems have vanished; that’s not how it works. It’s a continuous journey and a continuous process, but I think therapy is my mantra.

You recently turned into an entrepreneur with your own line of candles. Tell us more on what drove this decision and are there any other lifestyle products you will be launching?

As a creator I think it’s just natural to want to extend your brand trajectory to newer realms and not be stagnant in your growth path. It’s hard to gauge the shelf life of any creator considering there is stiff competition and there will be a sense of redundancy that seeps into the algorithm at some point. It’s always beneficial to expand your forte and explore multiple revenue streams is what I’ve gathered from so many interactions I’ve had with my industry peers over the past few years. There were many opportunities where people wanted to create merchandise of mine or partner on a fashion and accessory line but I wasn’t very mentally ready given my hectic schedules. I was a customer of Rad Living and after the pandemic I went into this zone of binge buying so much self-care stuff and you know candles was one of them. So when this came about I think I was ready to experiment and expand and was looking for an avenue to invest my energies on something enjoyable. I had already made a content piece on candles before this offer came my way so I had a list of quirky candle names, taglines for fragrances, matching the fragrance notes with the names. I think with this inning the whole ‘Creator’ part to me really came to use here as well and that’s what was exciting about this and it was funny because it was such ‘a life comes to a full circle’ moment for me. My mom was into candle making because Nainital at that point was known for its candles and she used to make such variety of candles, 100s of types of candles and all my life I mean the first 16-17 years of my life I’ve just seen my mom make candles at home and our house were full of wax and everything was just candles. My father used to sell candles and it was my family business. Let’s just say that I’m taking forward the family legacy and I’m very excited to go home and to my father’s shop in Nainital and put my candles there and sell them!

Will there be any lifestyle products you’ll be launching?

I was so nervous about this candle launch as I never wanted to mislead my audiences and have them indulge in something that’s mediocre. I really invested my heart and soul in this venture, and thankfully the response has been beyond phenomenal. Courtesy all the good word of mouth publicity, I’m thinking of maybe launching my own beauty and fashion line in about 2 years!

What have been your favorite content pieces that have you worked on this far?

I love most of my content pieces as I’m very particular about each one of them so it’s hard to pick a favorite. One of them is a mini film called Aunty Prem Hai and it’s about an orthodox lady finding out that her nephew is queer from his ex-boyfriend, and this is a first time reveal since the nephew has never come out of the closet. There’s also this series called How Aunties Talk About Sex, and I’ve given a twist to how old-timer desi Indians broach the topic of sex based on how I’ve seen my mother interact with her friends, post dinner conversations amongst relatives, and how it’s more like a taboo.

What are your favorite social media trends?

Anything that emits positivity and gratitude. It’s important that social media trends invoke a sense of intellectual enhancement. Anything that kind of teaches you something that enriches your existence or makes you want to live life more wholesomely. I also enjoy throwback trends, something to do with special memories and nostalgia, because I feel old school is always timeless.

Do you feel people are so trapped in social media that they forget about the world around them outside of their laptops, phones, and tablets?

Yes. Personally it’s been a task for me to get detached from technology and balance the real and the reel. In the last couple of years, I have consciously cut down on my screen time, even though it’s all work and no play for me. Social media is so omnipresent and it’s sometimes scary to see this crazy social media obsession where people forget there’s a real world out there with real people and you need to forge real connections that are deeply rooted in authentic exchanges. It’s scarier to see how social media trends have now become rules to live by for a more meaningful existence for many when on the contrary that shouldn’t be the case.

[Read Related: Filmi Nights: A Love Letter to Vintage Bollywood]

How do you feel about the term content creator?

It’s a word that invokes a sense of pride in me because for me it’s all about being innovative, authentic and self-made. Influencer on the other hand is something that doesn’t resonate with me because there’s no real job description. I’ve always maintained my stand of not being an influencer as I create content and make a living out of being creative and curating an audience for myself over the years.

As you’ve worked with Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Aayushmann Khurrana, and others do you hope to be more involved in Bollywood? Tell us about your acting projects.

Of course, I would love to be more involved in the film industry not just in India but globally too. I think there is so much scope for the South Asian community to make a mark in world cinema and it’s time we pick up more Oscars and Grammy’s in the coming times. Anyone who is a creator is also a film star at heart. 90% of creators who make sketches and skits are facing the camera 24×7, making original content, improvising on scripts and all of that stems from that innate ability to be great performers who can keep an audience engaged. I would love to someday have my own podcast where I interview film personalities and get into their skin. I love the dance and song sequences in Bollywood films, and I think I’d be great doing that as well! I’d love to see how I can get out of my comfort zone and do something that doesn’t directly relate to my online alias in the future. I got a lot of offers during the lockdown and shot for a film in 2022 which sees me in a leading role and I’m excited for it to launch later this year. I’m working on some writing projects as I would love to script a documentary or a short film.

Lastly, what do you hope to take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?

I think the questions have been great. The questions have been answered in a way that I feel so confident about myself right now, and I feel so proud about myself and that says a lot. I would like to thank Brown Girl Magazine for taking time out to interview me. I hope this inspires the brown community across the world!

Photo Courtesy of Dolly Singh

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By Brown Girl Magazine

Born out of the lack of minority representation in mainstream media, Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South … Read more ›