Karan Johar and Kusha Kapila, Vicky Kaushal and Prajakta Koli: celebs face off with internet stars

The second season of Janice’s Social Media Star with Janice is out, and is already making waves with its candid conversations. She is the creator, writer and anchor of the show. Here's an exclusive interview with the journalist-turned-producer
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Unlikely pairings and unusual conversations – while all chat shows promise us that, fact is, most often fall flat. Janice Sequeira, however, delivered.

Rana Daggubati, Malika Dua and Janice Sequeira

So, from whether actor Sonam Kapoor Ahuja’s then boyfriend, and now husband, Anand Ahuja knew she was recording a video call with him to post on Instagram, to how producer-director and chat show host Karan Johar got to know Kusha Kapila – Janice has the answers. The conversations, are a bonus!

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The second season of Janice’s Social Media Star with Janice is out on her channel on YouTube, and is already making waves with its candid conversations. The going, though, has not been a cakewalk. When the journalist-turned-producer pitched the idea of the show, many were sceptical.

The entertainment journalist, who has a Masters in Journalism from Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, has covered, among other stories, the Shiney Ahuja rape case, and Sanjay Dutt’s trial. She also came out in support of actor Tanushree Dutta when she accused actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment.  

Now, she is back in the limelight – with her show Social Media Stars, where she pitches a social media savvy celebrity with a social media star.

Kusha Kapila and Karan Johar

“In 2016, I had taken a break, and was looking at what to do. I had done shows for different channels and understood the segment and the industry. I also had access to the stars. When you are a reporter and part of the system, you have to follow the pack and focus on a breaking news or story, but after a point it gets monotonous. How many times will you look at a story differently? Interview the same celebrity and do the same kind of stories?” says Janice.

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As the fatigue set in, Janice tried her hand at consulting with studios and films, marketing, and public relations for over a year, understanding the work from the other side. During this time, Janice also started spending a lot more time on social media and began to understand the space.

“I realised that in the past few years, there were a set of celebrities who were hugely popular in social media, and have a large fanbase purely on social media. And those who aren’t that active on social media aren’t aware of them,” says Janice.

She explains that the way in which these social media celebrities would create content was interesting, engaging and intriguing. “I knew I wanted to get back to content creation, and look at going back to the camera. But I also knew that I didn’t want to get to the older format. I started working around the idea of possibly working on a show with the social media celebrities,” says Janice.

A talk show was the answer, but there were several both in the digital space, and on television. She also saw that talking only to celebrities was a done thing, and thought of bringing them together with internet stars. Janice says that when she came up with the concept, it was new and many hadn't thought of it.

Kartik Aaryan with a guest on the show

“The idea was to get together people who didn’t have a lot in common, bring them together and see what came up,” says Janice.

And that’s how she paired Rega Jha with Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Karan Johar with Kusha Kapila, and Vicky Kaushal with Prajakta Koli.

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One would think the big names would make the show easy to produce, but Janice says it is anything but. She is the creator, writer and anchor of Social Media Star with Janice.

“The theme is tricky. Getting the two different kinds of celebrities for the first round took some time. Understanding the right combination, and helping them break the ice also takes time. Then there are the different aspects of production, location, and camera,” says Janice.

Having worked with television helped, but Janice says running a show is entirely different.

“Here I was doing every single thing, and also getting the show off the ground. This means you need to be careful about a lot of big and small things. One of my biggest learnings is getting the right team to start something of this scale and magnitude always helps.”

The second season of Social Media Star with Janice started on March 14 and airs on Janice's Youtube Channel. For the 10-part series, Janice is in conversation with actor Vicky Kaushal, Prajakta Koli, Kartik Aaryan, Karan Johar, Taapsee Pannu, Rana Daggubati, Kusha Kapila, Mallika Dua and Dolly Singh.