Interviewed by Deepti: May 2020
Malini Agarwal a.k.a MissMalini is the Founder & Creative Director of MissMalini Entertainment, a leading media lifestyle brand that creates highly engaging, multiplatform content geared towards India’s Millennial Generation.
Journey of MissMalini, how did it all start.
So my journey is actually quite an adventure. My father was in Foreign Service from childhood till 17 I was traveling around the globe, studying in different countries. After my dad retired I lived in Delhi for 6 years where I started my career as a professional dancer.
Eventually, I moved to Mumbai where I joined MTV India online the first wave of dot-coms and then became a Radio jockey for Radio One. I started my gossip column called Malini’s Mumbai which when I look back now was the beginning of MissMalini’s blog. I then moved to Channel V and became the Digital content head.
Blogging as a career did not exist at that time and hence I had no idea that it was a career option for me. But my career background and experiences had all taught me and prepared me for this field. And the rest all worked out with the timing and the luck I had built from my hard work.
I started my blog as a hobby in 2008, to document all the things that I loved about India and my experiences in the country. I felt my column wasn’t enough to share all the things that I wanted to express. Since the blogging concept was not yet familiar I got a first-mover advantage where it was quite a unique idea back then. What makes the blog unique is its
Personal, unadulterated content where we ensure that all we send out in the world is positivity. With the kind of response and love I received, I decided to jump into blogging full time in 2010.There’s really been no looking back, till date. I think the unique aspect of the blog has always been its personal voice and its uniqueness in the space of entertainment journalism because we’ve always kept it very positive. We made a strict rule for the blog that we are not going to write anything that we cannot say on someone’s face.
And so we wanted to celebrate the entertainment industry and bring another side, a more authentic side, more personal side of celebrities to the forefront, which definitely resonated.
Career accomplishment you are most proud about.
I’m proud of a lot of things that we’ve created. First and foremost, having been able to create so many jobs, especially for women in India. I really like that our content has always been positive and unique in that way. More recently, I’m really proud of Malini’s girl tribe, a community of 40,000 women, which support each other and enable women to use the internet to their benefit in a positive, empathetic, and kind way. And I’m really excited to see where we can take that in the future. I feel like it’s really making a difference in a lot of women’s lives.
You can see for yourself if you join Malini’s Girl tribe on Facebook, the kind of conversations, support, honesty and safety that people find there. I also wrote a book in 2019 called to the moon, how I blog my way to Bollywood. Everybody always has a book in them, I’m very proud that I was able to actually write it. I’m currently working on my second book, which should come out, later this year or at the beginning of next year.
Who is your inspiration?
I’ve love lots of different inspirations at different times in my life. But internationally when I first started the blog, it was Perez Hilton and Just Jared were individual bloggers in a sense. Over the years, I’ve always looked up to people like Oprah and Arianna Huffington who I had the pleasure of meeting and working with on the Thrive platform.
I also feel motivated and inspired by all the young influencers, who spread positivity and inspiration to others. I feel that there’s so many different kinds of inspiration all around us. I’m very inspired by my entire team who works really hard, hustles hard, and are very kind and empathetic people.
How difficult or easy was your journey to build up the MissMalini Empire?
I think the journey was very interesting and complex. I wouldn’t say that it was difficult or easy. I think that it was an experience like no other. I feel like I’ve lived a very extraordinary life and I’ve been very lucky to have been able to live my dream. I think my journey taught me the biggest thing is that you must have the confidence and bravery to jump into things, even if you’re not sure where they lead.
Learn as much as you can along the way. Looking back, I feel like I’ve learned so much and I’ve grown so much. So little MissMalini has definitely evolved into something of substance that I’m very proud of.
Piece of advice for Influencers and social media content creators.
My advice for influencers and social media content creators is don’t start anything to make money. Do it because you have passion for it or you love it. Be real, and that’s definitely going to help find your success. It’s very easy to be fatigued by the internet or insecure / jealous that other people are doing better than you. But remember, you are not in competition with anyone except yourself. Maintain your personal voice, that’s what resonates the most with people, and that’s what makes you the influencer you are.
Tell us more about Malini’s girl tribe.
Malini’s Girl Tribe is a community for women on Facebook having 40,000+ members. We also have an Instagram handle called Malini’s Girl tribe. And what’s really unique about the Group is women can come and share literally everything. It’s not just about women’s issues. Literally everything is a woman’s issue whether it’s travel, mental health, relationships etc. What’s really great about the community is that women have really found a way to genuinely connect. On most social media only celebrities get comments, reactions, appreciation and love. But here everybody is a star in their own rights because anything that they ask about or share gets a lot of love and support. In return, we found women who’ve been able to network also develop their careers and reach. We’ve been able to Support each other emotionally and mentally.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger than someone you know yourself, and it’s just a very safe space for women to really discuss anything and everything. And it’s a highly engaged community women are coming and interacting 15 times more than they normally would on their own social media. If I’m not feeling very satisfied or starting to feel a little bit unsure about myself. I immediately scroll the group, this group gives me and a lot of women a great deal of confidence and I think that’s really going to make a big difference, especially as we scale up.
Your advice for the one’s who want to start now on social media.
My advice for everyone who’s starting new on social media is to be organized, have a plan, be
Authentic, and be dedicated. Pay attention to quality and most importantly find your own voice. Think about the things/content that you love to do. There’s a great Japanese concept called Ikigai which allows you to find your true passion and true purpose that lies at the centre. Four questions you ask yourself-
What do you love to do?
What are you good at doing?
What you can be paid to do?
What the world needs?
And of course apply three rules that I think will always help you in the long run.
Rule #1: Never post anything about someone you couldn’t say to their face.
Rule #2: Spark joy with what you post.
Rule #3: Remember, followers are people too.