From Nazma Aapi to Shilpa Shetty, women dazzled us on Instagram in 2020

As short-form content gains massive popularity, we take a look at five women we keenly followed on Instagram throughout 2020.
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With the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns confining most of us to our homes, we turned to social media platforms for some gyaan, information, education, interaction, or just some (comic) relief.

A number of women (including several celebrities) kept us busy scrolling through their Instagram feeds, and we even learned a thing or two from them. They made us laugh or simply helped us live vicariously through their shenanigans.

Whether it was music, food, politics, or fitness, these women had us hooked.

Saloni Gaur

Saloni’s comic journey on the internet began three years ago after she moved to Delhi University from her hometown Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh for her graduation.

“Everyone was on Instagram, but I didn’t know I could make a video for the platform. My friends always thought I was funny, so I thought why not give it a try? And like they say, there was no looking back after that,” Saloni had told HerStory in an earlier interview.

She has a gamut of characters, all uproariously funny. From Nazma Aapi, DU wali didi, and sasu ma to her imitation of actor Kangana Ranaut, who has an opinion on almost everything. Since her childhood, Saloni says, she has been good at mimicking people.

With 541K followers on Instagram, Saloni has been ruling the internet right through the pandemic and the lockdowns. So much so, she now has her own show on SonyLiv – Uncommon Sense.

“Yes, one needs to be careful about what one says. People can body shame you online and say anything they want. People tag you with labels. All I want to say is I am neither a leftist nor a rightist. I am just a satirist who speaks about everyone. I am speaking against the government, I will also speak against the opposition,” Saloni said.

Shilpa Shetty

Actor, entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast – Shilpa Shetty wears many hats. And she shows them off on Instagram as well.

With over 18.9 million followers, Shilpa posts pretty much everything – fun activities with her son Viaan, festive celebrations at her home, shoot locations and of course, exercising that perfectly sculpted body of hers.

Recently, she posted her association with the Fit India campaign, a social initiative that makes fitness a way of life and not just an option.

She exhorts other adults to stay fit so that they can teach their children leading by example. Peppered with positive quotes and dollops of humour, her Instagram feed is certainly a breath of fresh air.

Pooja Dhingra

Pastry chef. Founder and CEO of Le15India. Macaron lady. Author. Entrepreneur. Podcast #NoSugarCoat.

Pooja Dhingra’s Instagram bio aptly describes the life of one of India’s most celebrated pastry chefs. Her feed is full of scrumptious desserts filling your screen with lots of goodness this festive season.

Unfortunately, she had to close her Le15 patisserie in Colaba, Mumbai, this year after the pandemic disrupted operations. Not one to give up, Pooja continues to make her most-loved desserts available with lots of new additions and flavours.

We can’t help but doffing our hat to this wonder lady, her infectious optimism, and her wonderful desserts.

Niyati Mavinkurve

One-half of the Abhi & Niyu duo with over 1.5 million followers on Instagram, Niyu is trying hard to follow a different path.

The duo has an opinion on (almost) everything — mental health, a clean India, the recent developments in the Galwan Valley, the “truth about China” or the controversy surrounding famous YouTuber CarryMinati.

The couple says they are making people think with straightforward information, numbers, data, “research”, and are emphatic but not without some rhetoric. 

While Abhi started by making corporate videos, Niyu is a chartered accountant who forayed into content writing and then began helping her husband make independent vlogs to showcase everyday stories by posting them on Facebook.

In an earlier interview with HerStory, Niyati said, “It’s the responsibility of every creator to be mindful about the content they put out. We fact check information on different publications, and research extensively on every topic we put out there.”

Raja Kumari

With a mission is to inspire people through her powerful voice, Indian-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and dancer Raja Kumari (real name, Shvetha Rao) has been rocking the hip-hop scene for some time.

A three-time MTV EMA nominee, she is also a celebrated songwriter who writes for artistes like Gwen Stefani and Fifth Harmony.

On her Instagram page, she features her music, her holistic lifestyle, some philosophical banter, and life in California. If you love music, particularly hip-hop, and also are a huge fan of Raja Kumari, tune in.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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