Being a Desi-Videshi Content Creator!

Karishma Jangid
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Being a deshi-videshi content creator

Content creators Natasha Thasan and Mrinmoyee Ghose delve into the details of what it means to be a desi content creator in videsh.

No matter where in the world you go, if you’re an Indian, your heart stays desi. Desi-ness knows no boundary, neither does content creation. Thus, sitting miles away, many content creators are creating desi content. One might think that Indian content appeals only to Indians, but that can’t be further from the truth. Along with Indians and the Indian diaspora, NRI creators’ content also appeals to firangis in the West. How can we be so sure? Content creators Mrinmoyee Ghose and Natasha Thasan are proof! 

Mrinmoyee has more than 25k followers on TikTok. At the young age of 24, Mrinmoyee is a fashion and lifestyle content creator from Kolkata who now lives in Vancouver. “On Instagram, around 8% of my following is US/Canada, but on TikTok, it’s 70% from Canada and the rest from the US/UK,” she informs.  

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Based in Toronto, Natasha is a Tamil influencer and saree stylist. Via her endeavour “Drape Therapy”, she helps others explore Indian culture while teaching how to style sarees. “Saree is a language that speaks to the many communities and individuals in India. As my interest in saree culture is broad, I am able to create a community that is willing to learn, share, and celebrate themselves with me. I don't call it ‘Drape Therapy’ for nothing,” says Natasha. Using her ‘drape tutorials’, Natasha shares ways to appreciate culture. For instance, recently, she shared how to make a crop top with a scarf. This can be seen as a quick blouse hack by some and by others as a die top. “Though I am American-raised, a big part of me has been soul searching. A part of me is in India, among my gopis. I am exploring my culture and facets of myself. I want our culture to reach the American mainstream. With all the stereotypes in media, I would like to normalize Brown culture - nothing more, nothing less.”

There are multiple advantages to being an Indian content creator abroad. For Mrinmoyee, the most significant advantage she has is her access to TikTok. “A lot of Reels and trends come to TikTok 2 months early. So, sometimes if I find something that I can hop on to, I introduce it to Reels early. Also, I travel to places with different backgrounds and aesthetics that keep my content fresh and me, excited. I also collaborate and get paid partnerships or PR work with foreign brands fairly easily since it is easier for them to ship products to me.” Natasha echoes similar sentiments when she says that her access to TikTok is a significant advantage. “Saree draping is a viral phenomenon, and people have discovered butter chicken,” she jokes.

While these ladies make content creation seem effortless, be warned that it is no cakewalk. Despite the abovementioned advantages, Mrinmoyee believes that creating Indian content is more difficult than creating it for Canadians. “It’s easier to create content for the locals, especially if you pursue content creation full-time. There are more opportunities to engage and network with other creators; and more brands to partner with. You also get the algorithm working in your favour; my content performs significantly better when I am in India.”

Accompanying this concern are multiple disadvantages. “My biggest disadvantage is growth and engagement,” says Mrinmoyee. “Being in Canada, my content is not easily pushed towards the Indian audiences. I am also unable to collaborate with Indian creators or brands. Even though most of my followers are from India, I’m unable to work with Indian brands very easily to complement that. This is also why I can’t consider being a full-time creator (income-wise) by living abroad.”

Does having a social media team in India help? Both deny having one. “No, just me. I am building relations that have my best intentions and support,” says Natasha. “I used to, but not anymore. It was very hard to coordinate,” says Mrinmoyee. “I grew most of my following while living in Canada. So, I haven’t had a chance to network with many Indian agencies and brands. I also haven’t grown enough that the brands would go the extra mile to send me products. It’s easier to send those to the creators in India,” she elaborates. 

Hence, Indian creators abroad work hard to connect to their audiences. Natasha elaborates, “I constantly engage with and support my Indian audience, especially the young women who personally engage with me. I drape especially for them; I'm inspired by them. This is for us and I can only do this by supporting my Indian girls. By taking time out, I can truly hear my Indian audience and develop an intuitive understanding of myself and the work I share.” Meanwhile, Mrinmoyee goes with her gut. “I make whatever I feel like. If people like it, great. If not, I just keep posting. I’d rather have a quality following who genuinely like my content rather than having a large number of followers who just follow me for 7-second trend videos that anyone can replicate,” she says.

If you, too, wish to be a desi content creator abroad, these inspirational content creators have certain tips for you. Natasha advises, “Start today! There's never a perfect time to start than now. You can always reintroduce yourself, evolve and get better equipment. Just start now, before it's too late.” “Have zero expectations,” advises Mrinmoyee. “Don’t do it only for the opportunities you see other content creators get or how much money you think you can make. Content creation is a pretty difficult job since you share parts of your life online. Make sure you always do what you want; don’t follow the crowd. Stay consistent but stay interested in the content you are creating. If you don’t love it, you will get demotivated very quickly. Make sure you are doing it because it makes you happy, even if you don’t make a cent off it. If passion exists, success will follow,” she adds.

This article was first published in the Social Ketchup Magazine's November-December 2022 edition. 

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