Breaking the beauty barrier: Meet Shraddha Gurung, a body positivity influencer and mental health advocate
In this age of instant social media gratification, validation and societal approval most youngsters are changing the way they are in order to fit idealised beauty norms.
However, not 23-year-old Shraddha Gurung, who aims to change the way we think about the social parameters of being ‘beautiful,’ and 'good looking'.
Through her channel, she encourages people to feel comfortable in their own skin and bring out the best facets of their personality and embrace their uniqueness.
Popularly called ‘lilmissgurung’ on her official Instagram page and YouTube channel, Shraddha creates meaningful and authentic content, to inspire individuals to not be ashamed of who they are and how they look.
From easy-to-do makeup tutorials at home and skincare routines, to the kind of comfort food to eat, Shraddha helps people find joy in the simple things that life has to offer. She tells her viewers not be swayed by the popular definitions of beauty and not to follow trends blindly. Instead, they should learn to be kind and practice inclusivity.
A passionate advocate of mental health and due to the fact that she has faced anxiety, bullying, and body shaming in the past, she has a series called ‘We need to talk’ which helps youth come to terms with issues they are struggling with and learn how to address them.
Her series garnered over a million views on her YouTube channel, and provided Shraddha with a loyal fan following. The young influencer currently has over 107 K followers on Instagram, and nearly 40 K subscribers on her YouTube channel.
In an exclusive interview with YS Weekender Shraddha Gurung, who is beauty and body positive influencer talks about the importance of being comfortable in your own skin, how mental health awareness is the need of the hour, and some of her favourite segments she has shot on her Instagram Official and YouTube channel.
YSW: What inspired you to become a beauty and body positivity influencer post college?
SG: My job at Popxo! I didn't realise my own potential till I started making those beauty videos there.
I saw this gap between real skin and bodies and what was falsely advertised as ideal standards of beauty and that always bothered me.
I knew that I wanted to make a positive difference with my online brand and hopefully help bridge this gap.
YSW: What does beauty mean to you?
SG: For me, it' has always been a means of self-care but now it's more than that.
Beauty is my purpose and mission in life now. I wish to make the idea of beauty as comfortable and empowering as possible for every single person who ever interacts with me online or offline, regardless of age or gender or any other societal construct.
YSW: What are some of the make-up products you like to use most in your videos, and why did you choose these brands?
SG: I love a lot of brands, but I've been the most loyal to my Benefit eyebrow pencils, my Makeup Forever and Bobbi Brown and Nykaa Foundation, my PAC brushes and lashes, and my Morphe eyeshadow palettes.
Honestly, there are so many more I want to include here. I always go for quality and longevity. I don't mind investing in products as long as they give me the desired results and perform well, no matter how many times, I've used them.
YSW: You have advocated for mental health on your channel. Can you tell us about it?
SG: Mental health is something I never really thought about until I experienced anxiety in my own life.
This was about two years ago, triggered by a personal incident and it affected my overall well-being for a very long time.
I realised how much of a mental health crisis we're all actually in. I've been vocal about it ever since, and I try to create awareness and provide resources to people in need by providing credible sources and information.
YSW: What is the thought process behind the videos and beauty vlogs you create. How did you come up with your segment ideas?
SG: For vlogs, I don't think too much about it. I just kind of go with what my plans are for the day and so, it's as fun and spontaneous as possible.
For my beauty/fashion content, however, I always follow a process.
I first script + storyboard it so I know exactly what my final product will look like, then I shoot and edit.
My ideas come from various places, things I want to experiment with, things that are requested, and of course things that are informative and valuable for my audience.
YSW: Tell us about some of your videos and one that stands out the most for you and why?
SG: I started this series on my YouTube called ‘We Need to Talk’ and those are videos that I get very excited about. The idea was to talk to various social media influencers about body image and mental health, drawing from their own experiences.
Apart from that, my makeup tutorials (especially the creative ones) are something I'm very proud of.
The whole process of playing with makeup, colours, and art gets me all excited and happy! I also try to make them as calming as possible with simple jazz music playing in the background.
YSW: Who were some of the content creators, vloggers, YouTubers, influencers, musicians, and actors who have inspired you?
SG: The reason I started it all was because of a creator called Bethany Mota.
Her storytelling, videography, and style inspired me to create videos myself. This was when I had just graduated from school.
Now, I'm inspired by so many people! NikkieTutorials has been someone I've been obsessed with and I look up to now. There are tons of creators who inspire me every single day now.
YSW: With the COVID-19 lockdown what do you feel the future of the beauty industry will be like?
SG: I feel that there will be increased awareness about the products and services that are being offered to us. Since people are now readjusting their personal budgets, the beauty industry is quite likely to take a hit from that, especially smaller brands.
YSW: What is your inspirational message to fans struggling to cope with the lockdown?
SG: I know these are absolutely crazy, disturbing times but we have a lot of control over our own lives and safety. It's even more important to take care of both your physical and mental health and there are very simple, effective ways to do that.
Even taking out 10 minutes to just sit on your tea/coffee and breathe is going to bring a lot of peace into your life. Now is the time to indulge in those hobbies you've been ignoring or become a student again.
I've personally felt great after attending webinars and online sessions or as just a student. I'm learning new things which is always a great idea. There are a lot of free resources and help online.
YSW: What do you enjoy doing most on the weekend when not creating content for your vlogs?
SG: Actually, all days are pretty much the same. Over the past two years of being a freelancer, I've never really had a separate weekend, but I still like to keep my 'shoot' life separate from my personal life.
The best thing right now is watching movies with my mom and dad, cooking for them, and staying away from my phone during those hours!