One of the things I get asked most as a South Asian creative is "how did you get into this field?"
And the completely honest answer is: It just happened.
For the entirety of my educational career, up until my last semester of college, I was convinced I wanted to go to medical school. Why? Well, my brown parents convinced me it was the best course of action for me.
As South Asians, the concept of having job security and a reputable career is instilled at a very young age. With that comes the push to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer — and any other career path is simply deemed ridiculous or impractical.
I want to change the notion that pursuing a career in a creative field means that you will be sacrificing living what many of South Asian parents consider to be a "comfortable lifestyle".
So, what exactly do I do?
I'm a digital strategist at public policy and law nonprofit called the Brennan Center for Justice. In other words, I manage the digital marketing side of a political think tank that advocates for voting rights, criminal justice reform, fair immigration policies, campaign finance reform, and so much more. Basically, we want to make sure the rights granted to us by the Constitution are applied equally to all members of our society. I am lucky enough to work in a company that allows me to explore my creative side while still being able to participate in meaningful work that impacts that most marginalized members of our community.
I'm also a professional dancer for a Bollywood and Indian semi-classical contemporary dance company called Ajna Dance Company. I've written for publications like HuffPost and Brown Girl Magazine. And lastly, of course, I'm a fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger! Here are some things I've learned on my creative journey so far!
It's okay if your parents don't support your career decisions.
While I truly admire my parents and their advice, the truth is they don't really understand the nature of what I do, so it's very difficult for them to support my decisions as I'm making them. And I absolutely do not blame them for it. The idea that I'm pursuing passions that may not provide job security is scary to them — and I totally get that. It's hard and frustrating explaining my choices to my family members, but it's SO worth it when they finally understand.
Find friends who are passionate about the same things as you.
I cannot stress this enough. Creativity is influenced by the people you surround yourself with. Find people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself and who inspire you to see the world in a different light. My blogger babes give me SO much inspiration, support and love and I could not be more thankful.
Never stop learning.
The one thing I've found in common with EVERY single creative I've encountered is their desire to grow and innovate. As a blogger, the list of things I want to teach myself never stops growing. It's part of what makes this so exciting!
Keep networking and putting yourself out there.
To me, this is the most important thing you can do for yourself. So many of the opportunities I've gotten have honestly felt like they just fell into my lap. I often tell people that my job at the Brennan Center, as well as my blogging career, happened because of pure luck. I was just in the right place at the right time. And while that is partially true, it has a lot more to do with the fact that I kept trying new things. As they say, luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.