1. What ensues being a good influencer in a city like Chennai?
I think being a good influencer in any city starts with others referring to you as one instead of it being a tag on social media or how you refer to as yourself. That is far more impactful and organic. To me being a good influencer is being myself and merely by existing and making the choices that i make, I either represent sections of the population that have never seen themselves reflected in the media or my choices provoke others to question things they have taken for granted or internalised unknowingly as the ‘norm’.
2. Is the term ‘socialite’ something you identify with? What would you prefer calling yourself?
I think the word socialite has devolved into being a pejorative term but it was originally someone who usually came from a wealthy family or aristocratic background who spends a significant amount of time attending social gatherings and I’m from neither. I have spent years working hard, grooming myself and navigating an industry alien and more often at odds with my upbringing. Most social gatherings I’m at, I’m usually working and hosting the show if not, I’m usually supporting a friend. For now I’ll take being called a good human, as in the current climate tags are proving to be incredibly divisive.
3. As a cultural ambassador of the city of Chennai, what do you think are the city’s USPs?
Thank you for calling me a cultural ambassador of the city. I have never thought of myself that way and this is a proud moment for me. Chennai is a city that is often misunderstood and best enjoyed with an open mind. There is something for everyone — from food, culture, art, history, cinema etc. The options are truly endless and with local entrepreneurs leading the way, the sky is the limit. I only wish the government would ease up on some of the regulations and allow us to have a thriving beach culture like most of the west coast does.
4. Where do you enjoy hanging out/partying at in the city?
I love house parties, and Chennai is known for that. I like to hang out at Off the Record or Brasa; both places have incredible chefs and an amazing menu complementing the alcohol. Radio Room is a staple of course, I especially enjoy the nights where they have live bands performing. When I can convince friends or Cary for a quick drive down to Pondicherry; I indulge in the heavenly cocktails and the best pizzas I have ever eaten in my life at my fave Coromandel Café.
5. How do you use your popularity for a greater cause and what are the issues in the city that you think need immediate attention?
I’m quite vocal about issues that matter to me and I don’t hesitate to have a healthy debate or discussion. I’m more than happy to learn and improve myself. Recently I read a book and I understood that my mindset of ‘I don’t see caste’ in itself comes from a position of privilege. It’s a system that’s divisive and fosters hatred and provides cover for people’s atrocious behaviour. I’m on a journey to talk to the people I meet and educate myself on this more; however, I’m often told it is not polite conversation. Nothing is taboo to me, so from debating marriage, relationships, sex, gender inequalities to being a vocal advocate and ally for the LGBTQIA+ community, I don’t just talk about issues… I walk the talk. I do think we need to say enough of this outrage culture and it is okay to disagree; but let’s talk about it in a calm and respectful fashion.
6. A little bit about you that nobody knows…
This is absolutely silly but I enjoy eating baby food! Lactogen 3 to be specific, as I have tried them all and there are subtle variations in the taste and this is my favourite. It also helps that with my metabolism. It’s one of the few things that helped me gain a little weight.
7. How has Chennai changed over the years – in terms of the social scene?
Chennai’s social scene has diversified in terms of having options for places to hangout and things to do. I do however wish that more experiences that I get to enjoy are also made affordable for the masses. What I mean is when at most events you see the same group of people repeatedly and this group consists of only a few thousand. The experiences that this group gets to share needs to also be made available to the masses and only then will the perception of the city to outsiders truly change.
8. What do you do when you aren’t being an influencer?
Like most people, I work, if not I take the time to read. A good book and spicy hot chocolate is a match made in heaven. I enjoy snacking so give me some hummus and pita or sundal or bruschetta and I’m happy. I enjoy cinema and television, so I try to catch as many of the films I can and with streaming services I get to enjoy multiple non-Indian language cinema as well. I like to host people, friends and family at home or travel. I thoroughly enjoy travelling and I feel like it enriches me as I grow and evolve as a human.