The Brown List: Staff Picks for February 2018

Brown List

Love is in the air! Whether you’re snuggling up to bae or a nice gallon of ice cream, you’ll be falling for our February staff picks. Pamper yourself or the light of your life with these dreamy DIYs and exciting new products! Our staffers put in extra care into this month’s Brown List, so get ready to feel the BGM love.

1. Refresh Mint Herbal Tea by Tazo

[Refresh Mint Herbal Tea by Tazo/Photo Source: Amazon]

Cozy up to a warm cup of Refresh Mint herbal tea this winter.

BG Abha raves: “These have been my latest obsessions.”

Herbal teas have major health benefits and you can enjoy them cold or hot. This minty tea from Tazo is perfect for unwinding and binge-watching Netflix. You can get a box from your local grocery store or online at Target, Walmart and Amazon.

2. Podcast of the Month: “The #SafeWordSociety Podcast” by SafeWordSociety

The #SafeWordSociety Podcast/Photo Source: Sticher

BG Sheena loves a good podcast. Her current favorite is from SafeWordSociety, a visibility company for LGBT+ people of color.

“Their podcast is curated by two queer women of color (QWOC) aimed at empowering other queer and trans people of color (QTPOC),” she said. “They always invite QTPOC who are doing entrepreneurial/cool things in a creative space. SafeWordSociety conducts very empowering conversations. They create important dialogue on how we can push society forward and creates visibility for communities that don’t always have representation in the media.”

If you want a bit of knowledge and a ton of life inspiration, then check out the #SafeWordSociety podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Sticher.

3. All Natural, DIY Eyelash Volumizing Hack

[DIY Eyelash Volumizing Hack/Photo Source: Flickr]

BGM’s in-house makeup artist, Jasmin, is constantly working up new DIY’s and hacks for us. You won’t believe how excited we were when she taught us her all-natural eyelash thickening hack.

It’s easy to do and can work wonders to improve the quality of your eyelashes. All you have to do is wash an old mascara wand. Then, dip it in cold-pressed castor oil (Jasmin gets hers from Amazon). Apply it 1 to 2 times per week and you can expect fluffier, stronger lashes in no time.

4. Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray by Not Your Mother’s Brand

[Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray/Photo Source: Target]

BG Saumya is impressed with Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Salt Spray.

“I have thick, unruly hair that operates in this grey area between straight and curly. I have loose, frizzy waves. I’ve always wanted something that will allow me to wear my hair to be natural without looking overly poofy. After picking up this spray on an impulse, I finally tested it out last year, when I was getting ready for a date after a workout. I didn’t have enough time wash and straighten my hair beforehand so I used the sea salt spray. True to its name, it gave me that beachy, tousled look. Also, my waves were much more well-defined and I could finally work my hair’s natural volume to my advantage. Now, I use the Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray all the time, either when my hair’s damp after a wash or even when it’s dry and not straightened. As a bonus, it smells wonderful!”

You can get a bottle of this amazing sea salt spray from the Not Your Mother’s Brand’s website, Walmart, Ulta, and Amazon.

5. Nail Color of the Month: Topless and Barefoot by Essie

[Nail Color of the Month/Photo Source: Essie]

Spring is almost here and this season, we’re all about the neutrals! Whether you need a good color for long acrylic nails or just something that’s office appropriate, Topless and Barefoot are the perfect shades. You can pile on the gems or go all natural because these colors are good for every occasion.

6. The Sanaya Set

[The Winter 2018 Sanaya Set/Photo Source: The Sanaya Set]

Let’s face it: the world is going to shit. And it’s our mental, physical, economic, social and medical health that are impacted the most by these trying times. Yet, as all BG’s do, we always overcome.

Our CEO, Trisha, is breaking down boundaries and the definition of “lady boss.” When she’s not fighting the good fight, she likes to recharge and cleanse negativity with her Sanaya Set box.

If you’ve been on the hunt for a subscription box service that’s run by women of color while, at the same time, filling your life with items you actually want — then this is what you’ve been looking for.

The Sanaya Set is a seasonal subscription box that offers a wide range of ethically sourced bath/body, food, clothing, accessories and beauty products. The winter Sanaya Set features the book “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Also, 10 percent of Sanaya Set profits go to Planned Parenthood, one of the U.S.’s largest and most effective public health organizations. It specializes in sexual and reproductive health and helps countless people get the healthcare they need. So if you want to treat yourself, and the world, then order your Sanaya Set today!

7. Movie of the Month: “Black Panther”

[A version of the “Black Panther” poster featuring Letitia Wright/Photo Source: Disney Movies]

Black History Month is in full swing and the arrival of “Black Panther” couldn’t come at a better time. With a cast of almost all black actors, this is taking #OscarsSoWhite and flipping it on its head.

BG Marina is excited to see it. “I normally stream or find a way to watch movies for free, because I have neither the money nor the ability to sit down at a theater to watch them. But this time, I am taking my entire family and paying full price for ‘Black Panther’ tickets. I truly believe in this movie; I love all of the Marvel movies. Also, I did some reading and found out that Wakanda, the primary location of the film’s plot, has a defense force that’s all-female and super badass. I recommend everyone go see this movie and support all of these amazing actors. I feel like watching this movie in theaters should be a prerequisite to calling oneself an intersectional feminist; it’s just that good on every level.”

Click here to get tickets to a “Black Panther” viewing near you. Also, if you haven’t already, check out the breathtaking movie trailer.

8. Desi Shepherd’s Pie

[Mouthwatering desi shepherd’s pie/Photo Source:  Flickr]

Let BG Pooja teach you how to make this bangin’ desi-style shepherd’s pie. It’s perfect for a cold night in with your boo (or Netflix)!


  • 1 lb of ground meat (chicken, beef or lamb) or meatless veggie crumbles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala seasoning powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili
  • 1 medium sized bag of frozen vegetables (a pea/carrot/corn mixture is best)
  • 4- 5 large potatoes (Russet potatoes and Bamberg potatoes are best)
  • 5-6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon ghee, melted and an extra 1 teaspoon of ghee
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Crushed red pepper or finely chopped green chilies to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and sugar to taste


1. Making the keema: Add ground meat into a hot pan. Brown the meat while mashing it with a potato masher. Discard any extra liquid from the pan and set the meat aside. Saute onions and tomatoes until they both soften and onions because golden colored. Add the desired amount of salt and a tiny sprinkle of sugar. Add garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander,  and chili powder. Add more salt if needed. Mix in cooked meat, add contents of frozen vegetable packets and simmer the mixture until cooked. The keema should not be runny or contain any gravy; however, it should still be moist.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Making the mashed potatoes: Microwave potatoes with the skin on until cooked (typically about 8 – 10 minutes). Remove potato skins. Brown onion and garlic slices with extra ghee. Add milk, ghee, browned onions and garlic, and crushed red peppers/green chilies. Add mustard oil if desired. Mash all ingredients together in a large bowl.

4. In an oven safe dish, place keema in an even layer. Press down and firmly pack layer with a spatula or broad spoon. Top keema layer with potato mixture and smooth out out this top layer. Place dish in oven until the top has a golden brown color (about 30 minutes). Garnish with cilantro and serve.

9. Multicolor Faux Fur Sweater Vest by Charlotte Russe

[Be stylish and environmentally friendly in this faux fur vest!/Photo Source: Charlotte Russe]

Depending on where you live, the last few weeks of winter may be raging on. But have no fear, we’ve got the gear to keep you warm!

BG Saumya is falling head over heels for faux fur vests.

“I bought a black BCBGeneration faux fur vest in 2016 because it had a level of chic I thought I could never attain. I spent very little time wearing it that year because I didn’t know if it would go with my outfits. However, in 2017, I threw all caution to the wind and just threw the vest over all my outfits. It was then that I realized my faux fur vest added an extra glam factor to whatever I would wear and kept me incredibly warm! Unfortunately, they sold out of the vest that I got, but here is something similar from Charlotte Russe. This faux fur best is a lot more affordable than the one from BCBGeneration while being just as durable and warming.”

Get yourself one of these on-trend vests by clicking here.

10. Productivity Hack: Use a paper planner in 2018!

[#PlannerGoals with this Erin Condren agenda/Photo Source: Pinterest]

You promised yourself that you would get your life together in 2018.

BG Abha has the best advice: “get an actual paper planner with lots of colorful plans to stay organized and keep track of those never-ending assignments!”

Finding a good, easy to use planner is the best place to start. Write your goals, daily tasks, and deadlines. Draw doodles. Use your planner how you want and make it fit your lifestyle! There are a wide range of designs and layouts to choose from. You can go for a super fancy and decked out style, or just something minimalist that gets the job done.

Check out these planners from the, Lilly Pulitzer, Erin Condren, and Mead to get an idea of what works best!

By Marina Ali

Marina Ali is a medical student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is the poetry editor for Brown Girl … 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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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

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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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

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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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

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 ›

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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A post shared by SOMA AYURVEDIC™ (@somaayurvedic)

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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A post shared by Sama Tea (@samatea)

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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A post shared by Sahajan (@sahajanskincare)

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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A post shared by SHAZ & KIKS (@shazandkiks)


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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A post shared by RANAVAT (@ranavat)

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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A post shared by ind? wild (@indewild)

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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A post shared by Kama Ayurveda (@kamaayurveda)

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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A post shared by @forestessentials

Koppen Ayurveda

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


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A post shared by KÖPPEN Ayurveda (@itskoppen)


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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A post shared by AAVRANI ? (@aavrani)


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


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A post shared by delhicious (@delhicious_body)

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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A post shared by PRATIMA Skincare (@pratimaskincare)

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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A post shared by Fable & Mane (@fableandmane)

[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 ›

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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A post shared by Diipa Bu?ller-Khosla (@diipakhosla)


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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A post shared by Kaushal ? (@kaushal)

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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A post shared by Dolly Singh (@dollysingh)

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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A post shared by Shivani Bafna (@shivani_bafna)

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 ›