THE FOURTIETH INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.
Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.
1) Could you give us an introduction to yourself?
My name is Joty Kaur , I go by the name of Joty Kay which is my stage name, I was actually born in Queens , New York and my dad used to be a Kubaddi player (which is Indian wrestling) He came out to New York and he kinda never stopped living here. Then he went back and married my mum . So I was in New York for about 10 years of my life. Then I moved to California the BAY AREA , I then moved to a small town near there called Delhi and I lived there the majority of my life.
I used to feel like an outsider and I actually had no family out here .
I always felt like I was really different.
People would talk about me because I was wearing shorts and I was very out there and was very friendly. I had a couple of Indian friends but mostly non- Indian friends. I went to school for business administration- I actually tried to go to college for nursing school because that was what my mother wanted me to do .
But that was not for me. So I did business administration because I wanted to make my parents happy. While I was going to school for business administration, I had some time off and there was (at the time) a new app called Vine. So as I had the semester off and I didn’t have many friends I decided to make a few videos.
It was then I realised that I loved making videos and being on camera and I realized I wanted to get into the entertainment industry.
2) Who inspires you as a person?
I would have to say my mother – Of course, there are a lot of people who inspire me but I think it takes a lot of courage to come from India to America and marry someone and have kids.
Everything I have is because of her, like my dad, while he was there didn’t really have a plan as to what he was doing. He was a great dad. But he wasn’t really responsible for figuring everything out. My mothers pursued nursing and even bought us all our house. She was working all the time at the hospital and then my parents kind of split up and she had to be strong. It still affects her but she pulled through and make everything happen.
I really look up to her and I think that kids nowadays forget all the sacrifices that parents make to give us a better life and we should really appreciate that. So my mum definitely inspires me .
3) Can you tell us a bit about your podcast, why you started it and your favourite episode to record?
Joty Kat Uncut, – well, to be honest, I really was undecided between the name Joty Kay Uncut or Unfiltered because I am always told by a lot of people who follow me that they always love how unfiltered I am and how real I am. Which is true because I am very blunt when it comes to my opinions and a lot of people were telling me you should probably start a podcast because I always have people messaging me for advice believe in or not with messages along the lines of “hey, I am in the situation how do you think I should handle it.” It is crazy because I never asked people to ask me for advice.
It is crazy to know that people actually look upto you and you forget those things because you are just living your life but actually wonder what people would do in your scenario.
I actually featured in another podcast of my friend and it went really well. So I bought a microphone which my friend suggested and it sat there in my room for a year I would say.
I made a rant video about dick pics and because I didn’t understand the concept behind them and why men sent them. A lot of women felt the same way. So I brought out my microphone and I researched how to upload it to platforms such as Spotify and I-tunes.
I made my first 10-minute episode and Apple took two weeks to approve it, Spotify and SoundCloud approved it as well. It did very well and it was just a teaser as it was only 10 minutes long. It felt so good being able to let out my opinions as opposed to a 1-2 snap. So then I just went on and did it, I think I did seven episodes before I was approached by Ruckus Avenue which is a station on Dash Radio to do episodes with their radio show,
My favourite episode which I recorded was my second episode “ I’m a hoe” and my third episode “ I’m a Gay Sikh”. Both these episodes I loved because I enjoy being controversial but to be honest it was nothing to be controversial about but it is as our Indian society is so narrow minded. So “I’m a hoe” was strategically named because guys are always talking about women being hoes or me being a hoe.
So I strategically labelled it because I thought people would click on it thinking it would be me talking about me being a hoe.
But it was actually about how men call women hoes and double standards – especially brown women. I just thought about how unfair it was that men could do these things but we cant and how they are not labelled hoes but we are.
It had 10,000 plays on Sound Cloud because you can actually track on soundcloud how many view it on that platform and this is not including other platform views such as apple and Spotify. I had a lot of buzz from that episode and a lot of girls reached out to me and I gained a lot of women fans. I even had a lot of men agreeing to me which I actually thought would be the opposite.
My third episode “ I’m a Gay Sikh was recorded because this man from New York reached out to me and said he wanted to talk about being gay and being a Sikh in our society. I am pro-gay and I support everyone as who they want to be.
He talked about how he grew up in a very traditional family and very religiously Sikh family. He talked about what a difficult journey it was and how no one chooses to make their life harder. That really struck me because it is true, why would anyone choose to make their life harder in the brown community.
I got a lot of backlash from this , one of the reasons being because my title was “ I’m a Gay Sikh” but this is what drew people attention to the podcast episode it the first place.
He went on and did a radio show in San Francisco so yea that was great for him!
4) Could you tell us about your character on Anarkali and how you got involved in the youtube series?
Anarkali, well that opened a lot of doors. I got a lot of fans from that as I realised I was actually pretty good at acting . Kay Ray is a friend of mine and she came out here to LA one time and we filmed one of her Dil Mil videos together and we also did another one of her videos together which was a lot of fun. Then she went back to Canada and they needed someone to play a character called Navi on Anarkali, I wasn’t very familiar with Anarkali to be honest. They wanted someone who was bold and someone who wasn’t afraid to talk about things like sex.
I guess my name came up and Kay Ray (Kiran) recommended me! I did a Skype call with the person who wrote it and she loved me and wanted to fly me out to Canada. She had me rehearse over skype as well to make sure I knew what I was doing. To be honest, on my way to Canada I did not really rehearse that much . I have good memory and I am good at improvisation and we started rehearsing. At first I was struggling because I was not sure how to play the character, she wanted me to sound Canadian as opposed to American.
However, once I got the character I was fine- I felt like Navi was my alter- ego she could say all the things that I wanted to say like about abortion or drinking or things like that.
She was me times 10, I really enjoyed playing my character and the episodes which Navi was in were loved and I got a lot of good feedback.
The episode in particular which everyone loves is the one where I am sitting in the car with my “boyfriend”. And I am wearing an outfit which is quite provocative and we have to change and he doesn’t understand why he cant drop me off right outside my door.
I improvised a lot of it as I would say things that felt right . The director loved what I put in the improve and she loved how I presented the character.
She put me in more episodes that I was supposed to be in.
5) How do you feel the entertainment industry treats POC women in particular South Asian Women and do you see any signs for change? You can relate it to any personal experiences you may have had.
I think in the entertainment industy, there still is an advantage of having lighter skin particularly as an Indian women compared to an Indian woman of darker skin. I have seen the difference in the types of roles that darker skin Indian women get in comparison to lighter skin Indian skin.
Whenever I am applying for a role, I am allowed to place myself in the ethnically ambiguous category because I could pull of a role where I was required to be Hispanic or middle eastern (according to what I am told by casting directors). But I love people like Priyanka Chopra because although she is differentiated from any other race from her looks and her accent and Mindy Kaling is another good example.
I feel like change is coming. Indian people are “in style” right now , we are slowly taking over and so many good things are happening.
But in my experience, I feel like lighter people of colour are more favoured versus people of the darker complexion which is not fair obviously. Unfortunately, this is still the world we will live and we need to make a change. I feel like we are the ones who can make a change. It is coming. Slowly but surely.
6) In your episode, “ I’m a Hoe, you talk about relationships being trials before you can think about marriage which you can learn from. How do you think dating has changed with these generations (from our parents) and how open can you be with your parents regarding relationships?
I feel like dating is definitely different from our parents time. I feel like as millennials and if you live in America, or even some in India- are starting to date.
I think it is really, really, important to date because how are you supposed to know that this person is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with?
As opposed to you or your family picking someone, you get married and then you are supposed to figure it out. What if later you find out that person is not compatible with you a year later and you are stuck because of the marriage.
That leads to a divorce and what people don’t realize is that divorce means divorce with their whole family.
Dating is a trial period. I don’t think it is fair that women are called hoes because they date.
How are you supposed to find that person if you do not date?
When you are dating, you figure out what you want, what you don’t want and what you need to improve about yourself because when you date, you learn new aspects of yourself.
Women are more open to dating people and talking about dating people. I am pretty open with my mum, even if my mum doesn’t want to hear something about it .
She always tells me, don’t spend too much time with men, DON’T SLEEP WITH THEM, (she always says that!) and she says keep your distance, don’t be too much over somebody. She also says (and this is so mean) that I should date someone who is less attractive than me because they will treat a women better. That is a legitimate quote from my mother. That shows you what she thinks about men.
My dad never talks about anything in relation to dating and I don’t either just out of respect (I’n a daddy’s girl) I have always been really open about mum (obviously not about sex) That I still don’t talk about with my mum.
7) Could you tell us more about your tattoo and what inspired you to get it?
My tattoo Karma I got because I noticed, when you do good, good things happen to you. When you are putting in good karma, good karma comes back. It is not necessarily that Karma is a bitch (which is true because if you do bad then you will get bad back.)
I really do feel strongly about the word karma and manifestation. If you say good is going to happen then good is going to happen. If you say bad things are going to happen then bad things will happen.
That is why I got Karma. To be honest, I was not going to get it so big I was going to get it a bit smaller but my friend who was the tattoo artist decided there was no reason to get a smaller tattoo- it’s either go big or go home! Lot’s of people love it so it worked out. That’s the story behind the karma tattoo. Do good and good will come!
8) What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
My hope and future dreams would be that I can one day have my own radio show in LA one of the top stations and eventually get my own spot as a host on an American TV show where I can interview celebrities, talk to them and just be myself and I guess have my own talk show.
I consider having small goals but big dreams – so that is one goal.
I hope eventually I will be able to make it to a Netflix series and have a cool Netflix series.
But the number one priority on my list would be to buy my mum a house here in LA. She sacrificed so much as I was growing up so I would love to do that for her.
9) What is the best professional advice you have been given?
I think the best overall advice I have been given is, when you feel like giving up, think about all the people who would love to see you fail, and that has been a real sticking point for me. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of people who want to see me fail or see someone else fail/ not see them do something better than them. So I think that would be great overall advice. I actually have that as my screensaver! So personally, that would be the best advice I have received.
The best advice I have been given professionally has been to not sell your self short.
I sometimes will do things for free or not ask for money for things I should be paid for. Sometimes, I feel like I am asking too much when it comes to things like hosting.
One of my friends told me, don’t feel bad if someone says no as one day someone will say yes and then you will ask for more. So you need to set your own worth and stick to it.
Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but you will be seen as much more worthy than you can possibly imagine.