Niharika NM is a 23-year-old content creator with over 1 million followers on Instagram and over 560k subscribers on YouTube. This viral influencer from Bengaluru now resides in California and is a master multi-tasker, making her all the more relatable and influential among the millennials and the Gen-Z.
When she is not busy making comedy sketches, stints, and rants, she is pursuing her MBA. And when she is not working on achieving her academic goals, she is busy fighting off trolls and working on herself as a creator and a person. Niharika juggles her professional and personal life as well as her two famous social media personas — the South Indian aunty and the Californian babe.
We caught up with Niharika NM on her life in California, favourite collaborations, and her future plans as a content creator.
What prompted you to create the kind of content that you do?
The way I behave in my videos is how I act and talk in front of my friends and family. And honestly, it felt easy to be me because that’s what I’m best at. My family and friends are funny too. So I often tend to find myself in comical situations, which then inspires my content.
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When did you start creating content, and how has it evolved?
I did computer science engineering for my undergrad, and a year into it, I just knew that I’d be a useless engineer. I also knew that the only thing that made me tolerable me were my almost-too-good dad jokes. So I started a YouTube channel as a creative outlet. I started making comedy skits, sketches, and rants about everything under the sun and enjoyed what I did. However, it was challenging for me to be consistent on YouTube because I am a full-time MBA student. So, I started making shorter format content on Instagram, and that paid off.
YouTube to Instagram – is there a platform that you prefer over the other and why?
I started on YouTube, so I’m always going to have a soft spot for YouTube. But making YouTube videos demands a lot of my time. Instagram, on the hand, allows me to have a consistent creative outlet in a shorter format.
What’s the thought process behind your content creation? How do you execute it?
I usually get most, if not all, of my ideas when I’m interacting with my friends and family. I’m pretty sure that 95% of the videos I make and the characters I play are based on somebody I know. So whenever I’m in a comical situation, I make a mental note of it, or I feed it on my phone.
You are currently studying in California. Has being there changed your perspective on what you create?
Yes and no. My experiences here in the US are different from my experiences in India, but moving here taught me how to appreciate where I come from, my culture and roots. And I guess moving here also helped me find myself in a way that I didn’t before. I’m comfortable being myself and putting my personality out there, irrespective of how it is received.
Were you always strategic with your content? How did you learn digital marketing?
I don’t think I’ve ever planned to be strategic with my content. I’ve only always made videos that I enjoy making or the kind of videos that I would want to watch. Everything that I learnt about digital marketing I picked up by being on the internet over the years. Although as an MBA student, I am now learning digital marketing as a part of my course, and it’s interesting to see how effective it is across different industries.
What’s your secret to on-screen confidence?
There is no secret to this. I’ve been making videos since I was 18, so I practically grew up on the internet. If you watch my older videos, you can see how much I’ve evolved as a creator and a person. On-screen confidence is not something I got overnight; I just became comfortable in my own skin.
How do you deal with trolls and the pressure to create video content?
I want to give my audience the best content I could create, so sometimes I can be a little hard on myself, but that’s when I reach out to my friends and family for their opinions. As for trolls, I haven’t dealt with too many of them, but I was graced with their presence when I first started. Honestly, I never understood the concept of trolling or being mean to people on the internet because if I don’t like a creator’s content, I just don’t watch it. I don’t go out of my way to ruin their day. That said, I’m fully aware that not everybody thinks the same way as I do. All I do to combat trolling is not give them the attention that they’re asking for.
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Tell us about your favourite collaborations?
Every video that I’ve ever made with Jordindian is my favourite collab because they’re one of the first friends I made in the YouTube scene, and I think they’re incredible. It’s always a blast working with them.
If you weren’t an influencer, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a content creator, I would be true to my Bangalore roots and probably be an entrepreneur, preferably in the tech space and put my MBA and engineering degree to good use.
What tips do you have for beginners in this industry?
Please do everything you want to do because you’re passionate about it and not because somebody else is doing it, and it’s working for them. You can’t impress everyone, so focus on impressing yourself. Most importantly, never doubt yourself and if you ever do, make sure to surround yourself with people who can remind you how amazing you are.
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Tell us about your future plans. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Graduating is my biggest goal for next year. As far as my goals in the content space are concerned, I don’t have a concrete plan, but I want to be able to make more long format, vlog-style content, which means more YouTube videos. I also want to experiment with different formats of content creation on every platform and see where that takes me.
All images: Courtesy Niharika NM Instagram