I always knew growing up I did not want to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer. I was always the friend that had appointments to do everyone’s hair and makeup for school dances.
I have to set up the time for you of when I started in my career. It was 2001 and I was applying for internships and blindly dropping resumes to big media companies because I just knew I had to be in the entertainment world. Like many other South Asian women I felt a huge void within an industry I felt so passionate about. Back then, we didn’t have Priyanka Chopra or Mindy Kaling on network TV.
I was so ecstatic when I landed at E! and thought that was it- the start of my career as a broadcaster!
First off, I was working in the Business & Legal department – far from glamorous. But I did have the chance to work some live events like the Golden Globes and Oscars and I fell in love. I went on to get my Masters in Journalism because I was still trying to earn my parents respect and approval for choosing a path less travelled. I worked at CNN and fell even harder for the TV world and just creating content for others to see.
My personal life led me back to California where I got married and started producing for the veteran news magazine show, Inside Edition. I soon realized I was 27 and wanted more. This was at the height of 24-hour news so I was on-call for crazy news and non-news stories around the clock.
I went back to my passion for beauty and started my own makeup company that catered specifically to the South Asian demographic. I had just gotten married and was so saddened by the lack of artists that knew how to work with brown skin. I did that for a few years and was led back to the TV world as a producer and host for a travel series called Lux Lifestyles.
I travelled to India for 8 weeks and got to explore it in ways I never could have dreamt – and I used to go almost every 2-3 years growing up.
Soon after, I hit a big crossroads in my life and had to decide if I was going to really pursue this career or stop and prioritize having a family, which was very important to me. I had my first baby in 2012 and 6 months later the OWN network came knocking. Talk about a dream of your lifetime!
I was cast as a premier host for Oprah.com’s very first digital show! We did weekly shows that aired daily and I had the honour of travelling with Oprah for her 8-week The Life You Want Tour. I interviewed Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Gilbert and many other inspiring people on a weekly basis. The biggest highlight was having my parents come to a show to see me in action and later meet Oprah herself. Talk about a proud moment!
In this time working at OWN, I also had my second baby in 2014 and when OWN Show ended I took some time to be Mom. It was also when digital media, specifically social media platforms like Instagram, were imploding. I would go on casting calls and agents would ask “what’s your following? what’s your tagline? what’s your brand?“
I realized quickly that in order for anyone to see me or believe in my potential, I had to create that myself. I couldn’t rely on my reel that showed my hard work as a producer or host for the prestigious OWN Network.
I had to put in the sweat and hard work to demonstrate that there is a demographic that needs a voice like mine and I am doing exactly that now. 2017 was my year to establish myself as what I like to call a “modern mom influencer”.
And I crafted that tagline carefully because there are several South Asian women now creating content in beauty, fashion and lifestyle, but I feel like I bring a distinct voice as a young mom who tries to prioritize her family and herself all at once. I want to change how women of a certain age are viewed not only by others but by themselves.
And as for what’s to come, I have such HUGE dreams that I am trying to put into effect starting in 2018, hence mompreneur in the making!
I just felt out of the ordinary, which at a young age makes you feel out of place or not included.Whereas now I look at that as something to embrace and really appreciate, especially when it comes to beauty and my features.
Now, I embrace my very Indian features and play them up with makeup to show them off.
Yes, we have Mindy Kaling and Priyanka Chopra gracing our TV screens, but they are also the “token” WOC.
Because I may look mixed I am then up against a larger group of minorities that fit the bill. This is a sad reality that I slowly see changing but I would love to be part of a project because of just me, not because I’m solely Indian or because I look like I can be of a different background.
Really, I wanted to show there are no “rules” in how you must look on your wedding day – if you don’t like dark red lipstick, we’ll find a shade that you do like. A neutral lip is actually ok- even to my mom’s disbelief!