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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

These Indian Instagram influencers could be influencing for good

Whoever said you could only be influenced on style and trends. These social media influencers are ensuring to sway their followers to learn the art of empathy

fashion-and-trends Updated: Jul 17, 2019 17:56 IST
Sanskrita Bharadwaj
Sanskrita Bharadwaj
Mumbai
These Instagram influencers have not only influenced their followers, but have also managed to lift themselves up
These Instagram influencers have not only influenced their followers, but have also managed to lift themselves up (Photo: Shutterstock)
         

I don’t see a point in just being angry on social media. There is enough of that in the world. I want people to know that they can always become better versions of themselves,” says Mumbai-based 26-yearold Natasha Noel, a body positive influencer and a yoga enthusiast.

Social media influencers are a phenomenon— while some have built their base by posting about travel, food and fashion, there are a few like Natasha, whose posts don’t merely talk about yoga but they’re interspersed between pep talks and how to survive mental breakdowns.

“In the world of social media, where everyone is dying to be better than someone— when people speak the truth and are real and authentic —it makes them feel better about themselves. That is why I started using the platform -to uplift myself,” she says.

Natasha Noel
Natasha Noel ( Photo: Instagram/natashanoel001 )

Growing up, for Mumbaibased 27-yearold Neha Parulkar, everything came down to the fact that she was ‘fat’. “Everyone considered me as a person they could ridicule,” she says. But, she too, like Natasha decided to use Instagram in a “positive” way.

STARTING OUT SMALL

Neha recalls how she started off “really small”. Her Instagram account was, in fact, a private account. “After I made it public and started posting my pictures and talking about how often I was body shamed, I gradually started getting a lot of followers,” she says, adding “There was a 13-year-old boy who texted me once. He is from the United States and he told me he was inspired by me. He was really bothered about his weight because he was being bullied.” Social media, according to Neha, gives people hope that they’re perhaps not alone.

Neha Parulkar
Neha Parulkar ( Photo: Instagram/nehaparulkar )

It was a similar trigger for Kota-based 29-year-old entrepreneur Shivaji Choudhary, who has vitiligo. Shivaji got vitiligo when he was nine-years-old. “My life changed, I was part of a group and suddenly I wasn’t,” he says.

Now through his handle, he listens to and answers other vitiligo patients who are mostly curious about his confidence. “Some people who reach out to me, tell me how much they have been made to feel like an outsider. And this feeling of isolation leads to depression for some,” he says.

Shivaji Choudhary
Shivaji Choudhary ( Photo: Instagram/shivaji_12in )

Due to prolonged stress, 45-year-old, Natasha Diddee came to know that she developed tumours in her stomach. The Pune-based chef took her disability as an opportunity and made a living out of it. She says, “Imagine dropping something on your lap--so, that’s how I feel food goes inside me, I don’t have a stomach anymore, it goes directly to my intestine.” Today, the popular ‘foodgrammer’ is known for her simple and super healthy recipes. Diddee, however, claims she is technologically challenged and didn’t even know her way around Instagram. “When people were trying to get used to online media, I was struggling with my illness” she says.

Natasha Diddee
Natasha Diddee ( Photo: Instagram/thegutlessfoodie )

But a lot of her friends helped and supported her in her endeavours. “I think the biggest challenge in doing this was to accept that I actually don’t have a stomach. As a trained chef, it was just so ironic. I had to relearn things myself,” she says.

NOT MEANT FOR HATERS

But putting yourself out there does have its disadvantages such as fighting online trolls. The first time Neha put up her swimsuit picture, she got a lot of positive feedback but the amount of backlash she received was because, “apparently I was promoting vulgarity.”

She adds, “I do not care about their opinions. For a while, it does matter, but the best part about social media is that these people cannot get into any other side of you. It is only a virtual world.”

Natasha too, faces detractors all the time. “I think, now I’m going to switch from being “a social media influencer” to being a “content creator,” she says laughing.

First Published: Jul 17, 2019 17:45 IST

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