Instagram: sheriina_21

1. How did you get started in the modeling/influencer industry?
My name is Sherin Sam, but I go by Sheriina online. I was born in Cochin and raised in Bangalore and Kuwait. During college, I participated in the Miss Femina South India Pageant Audition on a whim and was one of the top five contestants. From there, I was sponsored by Times of India to attend the Grazia Ford Supermodel of India World pageant, where I won the title. Since then, I’ve walked in numerous fashion shows and worked with many top designers and choreographers. I’ve also appeared in advertisements for brands like Malabar Gold, The Chennai silks, and Vijaya Milk, among others. I even acted in a Tamil movie called ‘Vinodhayasitham.’ Recently, I participated in Bigg Boss 6 Tamil. In addition to my modeling career, I’m an entrepreneur with a luxury car service station in Bangalore and a photography studio in Chennai.

2. How do you use your platform as a model/influencer to inspire and influence your followers?
As an influencer, I have a responsibility towards my followers who are interested in my activities such as modeling, acting, and more. I feel obligated to give back to them for their support. My goal is to influence them positively by promoting the right brands, sharing positive news from my industry, keeping them informed about current events, and participating in social causes. It’s important for me to use my platform to make a positive impact on their lives.

3.What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?
Although my modeling career was going smoothly, the same couldn’t be said for my movie career. Despite attending numerous auditions and giving my best effort, I never gave up hope. Fortunately, my business provided a stable source of income that allowed me to keep going. At the end of the day, it’s always important to have a backup option.

4.How do you maintain a positive image and brand, and what strategies do you use to manage negative feedback or criticism?
When it comes to work, it’s important to be punctual, friendly to all team members, and to never carry an arrogant attitude. Give your full ability to the project at hand. Negative feedback and criticism are inevitable when you’re in the media, and I accept it. When you have thousands of people who love you, there will always be at least one person who trolls or criticizes. But, this serves as a motivation for me to work harder and do even better.

5. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career as a model/influencer?
It’s important to groom yourself according to the field you’re planning to enter. Do your homework; meet people related to the field, and get maximum input and advice. Take help from people in the field. If you want to become a model or actor, make sure you have a regular source of income. This can be through a side job or business. Only then can you approach modeling and acting with confidence.

6. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and changes in the industry, and what steps do you take to continue learning and growing as a professional?
Although I check the latest trends online, I’m not good at following them. I believe in dressing up in what suits me best. I always keep in touch with people I have worked with as they keep me informed about the latest developments in the profession. With their input, I’m able to keep myself updated.

Deepika Venkatachalam
Instagram: deepika_v

1. What inspired you to become an influencer, and what do you hope to achieve through your platform?
I come from a middle-class family, with my dad working at the Reserve Bank and my mom as a nurse. I started as a muser on TikTok during college, and some of my videos went viral. I then began posting on Instagram and gained over 100K followers within a few months. Seeing the potential in influencing, I decided to pursue it and took a crash course on digital marketing and influencer marketing to learn the basics. My career started with a lot of learning and continues to this day.

2. How do you stay motivated and keep up with the latest trends and topics in your niche?
I wholeheartedly believe that this platform is a gift from the universe for me, and I value it with all my heart. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, a never-ending loop of giving and receiving love. My Instagram community has given me an abundance of love, and in return, I am giving back by supporting positive change in the world. I’m not sure if I am doing justice to the term “influencer,” but every day, I strive to work hard and live up to the responsibility that comes with being a role model for young girls. The next generation is watching everything I do, and I want to make the world a better place for them and everyone around us. The universe has given me this opportunity, and I will do everything in my power to bring about positive change.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an influencer, and how do you overcome them?
Many people say that the world is a cruel place, but I don’t believe that to be true. Only a tiny fraction of it is cruel, and from that fraction comes the hatred that people throw at each other. When I first started my career, I faced negativity, criticism, and even online abuse like every other content creator. But life is like that — no journey is smooth every day. Instead of seeing it as a setback, I see it as a test that challenges me to be better every time I face life. Aside from that, I see “change” as the biggest challenge in my career — change in meaning, change for the better, change for a better world. For instance, a few years ago, when I tried to bring attention to a problem with a beauty product from a well-known brand, I faced a lot of difficulties. The brand tried to silence me in different ways and even blocked my account for a while. When you take a step forward to break stereotypes and change something for the better, people may try to push you back. But every time something like that happens, I want to try harder and harder to bring about positive change in society. Even if it doesn’t happen today or tomorrow, I know that one day I will succeed, and until then, I will continue to try and work, no matter how many times I am knocked down.

4. How do you turn negativity into positivity and cope with negative emotions?
To be honest, when I started my journey on Instagram, I faced a lot of negativity and trolls, even from people around me. However, I see my Instagram community as a family, and I’ve always been transparent with them about my professional and personal life. Because of this, I was open to judgments, but it didn’t stop me from being myself. Instead of maintaining a false positive image, I worked hard to turn every negative comment into positive vibes. I’ve made mistakes, and some of the criticisms have helped me reanalyze myself. However, I’m confident that deep down, I’m a good person and I haven’t done anything wrong. So, I knew that everything would become better one day. It has changed, it’s changing, and I’m sure it will continue to change. Of course, when I come across negative comments or trolls, I feel bad about it, but I convince myself that it’s just testing me and pushing me to become a better person. Nothing can change overnight, but I believe that one day everything will be better, and the world will be a better place to live in.

5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as an influencer and wants to build a successful brand?
Learn the basics. It will guide you in the right path of your niche.

Remember, just because you have a particular number of followers, doesn’t mean you are an influencer yourself. Start your influencing journey from scratch, like how you’d do for any other journey

Try to justify the term, “influencer” and keep working harder every day to maintain your standard.

Choose brands effectively that go with your niche and core value.

Have a responsibility that so many people are looking up to you and actually believe what you tell them. Because once you are conscious that you have a very big responsibility, you will never compromise on your work.

Always choose quality over quantity. Always!!! Because your quality of work is what speaks about you and makes people remember you uniquely from the crowd.

6. What are your plans for the future, and how do you see the influencer industry evolving in the coming years?
I’m not sure if I’m keeping up with the trends regularly, because there are always constant changes in the industry. But to stay on track, I read a lot about the laws of Instagram, effective hashtag usage, algorithms, and other small things that actually matter. Workshops conducted by international creators have always helped me the most. Another reason I don’t follow trends regularly is that I always strive to stand out from the crowd and create unique content. I’ll only participate in a trend if I believe I can offer something different from others. Additionally, I get to meet many people from the digital marketing industry because I work with different brands. By having conversations with these professionals, I can stay up-to-date with the latest details and official updates.

Pavitra Sagar
Instagram: Stylemuze

1. What inspired you to become an influencer, and what do you hope to achieve through your platform?
Influencing happened by chance. Nikita; my friend and I started a curated fashion pop up event company. Women at our events would ask me to help put together different looks and they recommended that I start styling as a career. I then used Instagram as a platform to post basic and relatable styling videos. And then brand endorsements started coming in and in about 6 months after starting the page, I was endorsing fashion and lifestyle brands that I personally liked and wanted to recommend to my audience.

2. How do you stay motivated and keep up with the latest trends and topics in your niche?
It helps being in the fashion industry, given that we work with about 600-700 homegrown brands who are constantly trying to churn out styles keeping the latest trends in mind. I also traveled quite a bit and attended Milan and Paris fashion weeks which was quite an exciting experience. Also Instagram and Pinterest are great platforms to keep you updated on all the latest styles.

3. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as an influencer and wants to build a successful brand?
I think it’s important to be true to yourself and engage with an audience or community who can relate to who you are as an individual. Do not recommend or endorse a product or a service to your audience if you are not satisfied with it. This is extremely important to build trust and a strong relationship with people who are looking for your suggestions

4. What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an influencer, and how do you overcome them?
It’s a bit of a struggle to juggle motherhood, a running business, a styling career along with being an influencer. Sometimes I do feel burned out or overworked. I used to keep pushing myself to keep up with deadlines. Over a period of time, I’ve realised that it’s important to pause and take breaks when needed and prioritise things to avoid feeling overworked. Also living in Chennai, I tend to miss out on first hand interactions with the fashion industry who are primarily based out of Mumbai and Delhi.

5. How do you balance authenticity and sponsored content in your social media posts and collaborations with brands?
It’s important and now imperative by law to declare sponsored content on one’s page. As responsible influencers, it’s important to let your audience know if a brand is paying you to promote their product or service and also only endorse something that he or she might use themselves. Knowing this information may affect the audience’s decision to purchase or use the particular service.

6. What are your plans for the future, and how do you see the influencer industry evolving in the coming years?
I would someday like to introduce mid-level unique/off-beat international brands to the Indian market. Since we have limited access to international fashion given the high taxes and duties, it will be a slow and cumbersome process for the different brands to venture into the Indian market. But platforms like Ajio, Nykaa and Aispi are already trying to introduce newer brands at competitive prices. So that’s a good start. For now, I’m taking each day as it comes. When you are passionate about what you do, nothing seems impossible!