The Banglez Evolution: Introducing Tenasãti, an Embodiment of Art, Aesthetic and Spirit in the Face of Challenge and Growth

The following post was originally published to and republished here with permission.

By Cassandra A. Williams-Ramjit

If one is to consult the dictionary definition of the word, “bangle”— the now widely popular, ancient accessory that holds vast cross-cultural significance dating back nearly 5000 years—they would find it commonly characterized as a circular and rigid ornamental bracelet, slipped or clasped on, fashioned out of materials ranging from shells and clay to various metals, glass and precious stones. A historically intact, nondescript enough concept, right?

Well, rigid couldn’t be any less accurate in describing how things are done at Banglez, the Toronto-based jewelry brand borne out of South Asian influence. Their business philosophy and signature style embodies an entirely imaginative, modern and bold approach to this term. Partners in life and in business, founders Malinda and Hardip Chohan, seek to recreate enduring cultural accessories by weaving old ways with new. The inventive pair accomplishes this meaningfully by infusing their personalities as well as timely, socially-conscious trends into the collective and customized experience of their jewelry-wearers.

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I had the good fortune of discovering Banglez nine years ago, while it was in its nascent stages and the couple was still working out of their basement at home. It was a mere two days before my own wedding, on a hot, sunny July afternoon and I was frantic that I had not found any bridal jewelry that I deemed swoon-worthy before my big day. Imagine my utter surprise when I pulled up to the Chohan residence, was greeted at the door and led downstairs to a dizzying display of THE most eye-catching bespoke, color-coordinated rows of bangles, necklaces, tikkas and nose-rings that I had ever seen. Plentifully bestrewn with glittering stones and lustrous metals, multi-hued threads and ornate patterns—their work was arresting in effect. From the basement to boutique, I have witnessed the ascension of Banglez from a vendor in the South Asian wedding industry to a global disciple of higher art and fashion form. Almost a decade later, I still marvel at how they took such a simple concept and molded it into something so completely and extraordinarily their own. 

All great movers and shakers have a few things in common—an original vision, the courage to take a few risks and tenacity in the face of challenge. The goal at Banglez has always been creative self-expression, deeply rooted in authenticity and inclusivity. Conceived in 2006, the inspiration behind Banglez pre-dated Malinda’s very own bridal experience, yet she was still well enough acquainted with the fact that there were very limited accessory options available to South Asian brides at the time. Passionate about the art of make-up and jewelry throughout her life, Malinda was inspired to design a brand of bridal jewelry that would be as accessible as it was customizable. Not quite knowing where to begin on this new journey of theirs, the couple decided to take their talents and foraging skills to India, traveling around the country to places like Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab and Rajasthan in search of raw materials, manufacturers and suppliers with whom they could work. 

As the shipments arrived from India to Toronto, Hardip’s involvement in the repairing and swapping of stones in the pieces to better accommodate the needs of their clients, allowed him to grow more comfortable and confident working with jewelry. He soon learned how to use various stones to create and manipulate new patterns and styles. Their blossoming into designers of jewelry, instead of simply being importers of it, marked an unexpected and exciting turn for the company. The Banglez approach evolved into combining loose stones and diverse materials with artisanal methods to handcraft their collections entirely in-house. Clients found the idea of creating their own jewelry appealing and were enthusiastic about not having to wait on or worry about how long it would take to ship from India.

Over the years, as Banglez continued to thrive along this artistic trajectory, Malinda and Hardip began to really unearth their love for jewelry making. Their work grew more intricate and unique and as their fascination with crystals and semi-precious stones deepened, they learned more about their benefits and found ways to incorporate them into their pieces. In 2019, there were personal challenges that the couple faced, including the loss of Malinda’s mother. The culmination of these ushered a reconnection to the couple’s faith and spirituality, and in a Reiki session, Malinda experienced crystals being used on each of her chakras. For the couple, this was not mere coincidence but a fateful reminder of the power and raw beauty of these stones, and the transformative quality they possess. 

It was at this moment that the couple’s work together metamorphosed once more from superficial to experiential. They decided that it was high time to share these benefits with others through their jewelry. They debuted the Sage collection, which paid homage to each of the chakras and went in-depth about the stone choices and benefits. This line inspired them to experiment with designing simpler pieces, made for everyday wear that would appeal to a wider audience. As it was very different from what Banglez was known to carry, they decided to test out the designs on Etsy. While the jewelry was well-received, the global health crisis that followed months later placed a halt on the promotion of the line. The formidable push by people all over the world to return to nature for answers was one that Malinda and Hardip understood and truly connected to. Like so many others, practicing “social distance” became a time to focus on the mind, body and spirit as a family. From their extensive work with precious crystals and gemstones, Malinda recalled that crystals were a natural diffuser for oils. Alongside their children, they would place oils on their own crystals as part of their morning routine.

The couple was soon struck with the realization that this practice could be adapted to their work as designers. By carefully pairing their jewelry with oils, others could experience the jewelry they wear through an emphasis on natural elements; energy healing aromas and crystals. The organic shift in focus felt as necessary to Malinda and Hardip, as it was natural. During a period of immense challenge, Malinda and Hardip felt as if they were being given a chance to persevere and grow once again. With the determination of the human spirit and its ability to overcome, the couple was profoundly moved and inspired to launch the brand Tenasãti (pronounced: tenacity/ tuh-na-suh-tee). 


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While Banglez continues to create bridal and South Asian inspired pieces designed for more extravagant occasions, Tenasãti adds a unique natural touch of luxe to everyday wear and allows one to feel both pampered and even further, connected. With so many breathtaking crystals and designs to choose from, I selected my own necklace through their website and simply chose it as a gift set. Recently, burning sage in my home each day has become a practice that found its place among the daily rituals that are important to me. Upon the arrival of my new Tenasãti piece, I felt that much more confident about embracing this new aspect of my lifestyle. From packaging to product, I was utterly satisfied! Being able to read about the benefits of the crystals along with applying the oil that comes perfectly packed in a matching crystal-filled roller bottle; this unexpected experience was one I immediately wanted to share with those around me.

Tenasãti’s refinement of a distinct style of beauty, quality and spirituality are inspired by real-life and the idea that our sense of aesthetic is not just material as it is our ability to grow with a deeper understanding of the inherent relationship between us and the natural world. This beautifying union of one’s self-image and environment redefines the way we approach jewelry and is an experience that is not to be missed. 


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Credits: Photographer: O’Shane Howard
Models: Bali Bassi & Teona McKenzie
Brand & Product Photographer: Narbir Gosal
By Tenasãti

Tenasãti’s refinement of a distinct style of beauty, quality, and spirituality is inspired by real-life and the idea that our … Read more ›

17 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands on our Radar Right Now

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.

[Read Related: The Budget-Friendly Beauty Guide you Need This Spring Season]

Ayurvedic beauty brands focus on using herbs and natural ingredients to create their skincare range and consumers around the world are attracted to these natural products.

Scroll down to see some Ayurvedic beauty brands founded by South Asians.

Soma Ayurvedic

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.


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Sama Tea

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.


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Sahajan Skincare

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.


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Shaz and Kiks

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!


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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.


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UMM Skincare

UMM Skincare is known for its brown sugar body scrub, made with natural ingredients, and Bakuchi oil known to improve signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Try it for yourself by shopping here!


Give your skin the best by adding ZAILA to your daily skincare routine! Click here and start shopping!


This brand is all plant-powered, and we’re here for it — you should be too! Check out their full range of products here.

Inde Wild

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.


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Mango People

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!

Kama Ayurveda

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!


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Forest Essentials

According to Forest Essentials, night time is the best time for hydration. Check out their night cream, filled with nutrients to enrich your skin. You can shop their wide variety of products here.


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Koppen Ayurveda

A brand made for modern living, their essentials are all worth a shot! Start shopping here!


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Looking for a new face mask to try? AAVRANI has a variety of face masks and explains in detail when you should apply the mask during the week depending on your skin type. Take a look here!


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Plant-based skincare, anyone? Delhicious has got everyone covered, so click here and fill your baskets!


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Pratima Skincare

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!


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Fable & Mane

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.


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[Read Related: 10 Clean Beauty Products That’ll Have you Winning on Earth Day]

In a world that’s becoming more conscious of holistic living, embracing Ayurvedic beauty in your day-to-day is a step in the right direction, and these brands are here to help you get started.

By Hrishika Muthukrishnan

Raised in North Carolina, Hrishika Muthukrishnan spent 18 years thinking there wasn’t much to the suburbs before she discovered how … Read more ›

Ankush Bahuguna: “My Favorite Makeup Hack is to Underpaint”

If I DM my friends a bunch of videos on any given day, one of them is almost always an Ankush Bahuguna reel. When I first stumbled upon his content, I saw him as an actor and a comedian, lifting our mood up during the lockdown one video at a time. However, his day-to-day content is more than just that — Bahuguna is changing the landscape of the beauty industry by making (and holding) space for men who aspire to be makeup artists and who have a passion for all things beauty.

[Read Related: The Art of Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes]


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Content creator, makeup enthusiast, actor: Which title do you resonate with the most? And, why?

A creator is the word I’d resonate with the most — that’s what got me here — creating comedy, creating beauty content. Even as an actor, I’m very collaborative. I tend to weave nuances around a character and make it my own. I believe, no matter what you do, your work should be unique to you and that can only happen when you build it up yourself.

How did “Wing it with Ankush” come about?

Till three years ago, I used to work for a media house that had a whole team of stylists and MUAs working on every shoot. So when the world went into lockdown, I realized I would have to don all those hats myself. I used to [regularly] shoot videos with my mother and she didn’t know anything about makeup either. So I had to try my hand at it — I would do her makeup and we’d shoot videos together. Soon I realized how much I enjoyed learning a new skill from scratch. I used to paint as a kid, so makeup just somehow made sense. It felt like even though I had a whole lot to learn, it came naturally to me. I decided I would journal these experiments [on] a ‘secret’ page called Wing it With Ankush so that I can look back at it five years from now and see what I was up to [during] lockdown. I didn’t tell anyone about it. But people eventually discovered it and there was no looking back!

One word for gender stereotypes?

One word: Ingrained. It’s so deeply ingrained in us that we find it hard to just accept people the way they are.


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How is (or isn’t) India evolving in terms of stereotypes?

We are definitely evolving. It’s a slow process but there’s hope. There’s a long way to go and for starters, I wish people could give non-cis people as much respect, appreciation, and credit, as they give to cis people like me, especially in the beauty space.

Must-have makeup products for men?

Makeup ‘must-haves’ are very subjective across all genders. Some people can’t do without a full face of makeup, while others could care less. I feel nothing is a must-have. [D]on’t wear makeup because you feel you need to, wear it only if it makes you feel good. My must-haves would be a color corrector, concealer, and powder.

Favorite makeup hack ever:

My favorite makeup hack is to underpaint. Apply bronzer and blush before your foundation. It’s so much more natural looking.

Let’s talk about your career in entertainment. What does comedy mean to you?

Comedy is a defense mechanism for me. It’s also self-expression, to be honest. That’s how I go about my day — finding humor in mundane things. Comedy is how I see life.

Beauty Influencer Of The Year Male (Popular Choice) — Ankush Bahuguna! Congratulations! You left your audience with these words in your Instagram post: “There’s always been too much self-doubt and too little self-worth.” How does one overcome that feeling of self-doubt?

As someone who has grown up constantly feeling inadequate, it’s difficult for me to not give in to self-doubt, literally every day. But I guess the idea is to be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to others. If you’ve come this far, you must’ve done something right. Right?


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Absolutely right!

We can’t deny that Ankush Bahuguna is going out of his way to put a smile on our faces with his day-to-day content — reels, photos, Insta stories, and more! All while paving a new path for himself and, like we mentioned before, holding space for those who aspire to be them one day. Ankush continues to push the envelope one makeup tutorial at a time, showing the modern world that it’s time to take men in makeup seriously because they’re here to stay!

The featured image is courtesy of Dream N Hustle Media.

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›

South Asian Creators Claim Their Space at the Cannes Film Festival

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.

[Read Related: Cannes Film Festival 2022: Red Carpet Representation at its Finest]

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.

Diipa Buller-Khosla

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.


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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.


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Dolly Singh

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.


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Shivani Bafna

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?’


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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.

By Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to … Read more ›