An interview with Sameera Reddy whose Instagram has been making all the right waves on the internet. Here’s her 10-rule guide to scoring an authentic following and staying honest on social media.
You realise how important individuality is on Instagram when you go beyond foundation-packed looks, 1000-dollar-swag, and pretty ring lights. In 2020, personality and purpose are two things everyone’s looking for on social media. From influencers trying to become self-proclaimed wellness gurus and Bollywood stars selling us one lipstick after another to Youtubers giving us expert advice on how to perfect Instagram-friendly content, our timelines are flooded with imagery, which half the time is not real. Aspirational, yes, but not real. Inspiring, maybe but not authentic. That’s why some of us are always trying to find that perfect middle-ground between well-styled pictures, honest voices, and underrated stars who are trying to make a difference in their own way, in their own path. One such star who has acquired much popularity for all the right reasons is Sameera Reddy, Bollywood’s most well-known name.
Her Instagram is an ode to real women, living real lives and doing their best in the pandemic. There are fun Messy Mama and Sassy Sasu cooking videos that showcase her fuss-free cooking, the #ImperfectlyPerfect campaign where she talks about pregnancy, being an exhausted mom, body image issues, relatable beauty tutorials, and more. The intention and the design of her social media presence is to be irrevocably honest, transparent, and unapologetic. With her two kids in tow, she talks of taboo issues, accepting our bodies and creating a community of non-judgemental women. Refreshing, and dare we say, clearly a step ahead of all the other stars who are still peddling hundred dollar creams in face-tuned pictures.
And recently, Sameera’s body image video in which she talks of self-care, judgements, realistic goals, finding inner peace, and how we need to patient with ourselves as women got over four million hits in less than a week. So we asked the lady herself to tell us how she’s so confident, unabashed, and brutally honest, and she gave us her social media mandate – the rules of being yourself on social media.
“When I got on social media, I was told that I needed to have a certain identity that would sell. Words used by top marketing agencies were “yummy mummy” or “a yoga mom” or a “sweet mom” – these identifiers would help me rebrand myself, they said. And I got put off by these words. I felt that I was coming back to everything I ran away from. So I decided to do things my way, my self-worth is not going to be what other people think of me. I cannot go through the anxiety of pleasing people all over again,” she explains. That resonates with us all – social media is about pleasing everyone around you and pandering to their vision of how they see you. The goal for her wasn’t acquiring millions of followers, as stated by the agencies. ” I didn’t need millions of followers to show that I have achieved something on social media, I wanted to stay true, start small and create my little community,” she adds.
Here are Sameera’s 10 rules for finding your groove on social media. Her advice on how you can be confident, honest, and unique by creating value with your content.
1. Your identity is unique. Self-worth stems from your identity and uniqueness. Your quirks and who you are – it’s your USP, it’s your little world. If you can find that and bring it to your online world – that’s your unique space and you can do whatever you want with it. It should not add pressure, but it should be a space for your creativity.
2. Follow people you like rather than who’s trending or who you can follow for barter. The usual rule is, follow some important people, and they will follow you, and it’s all good for you both. It’s these weird social media rules that say that following the ‘right’ people will give you access or help fall into a group or a camp. I followed those who added positivity and creativity to my life – those who inspire me and those who I like. Unfollow those who don’t fit your real authentic life. Because just like friendships, you are who you surround yourself with.
3. Don’t use enhancing filters. It reinforces the idea that you are not enough, and it’s a huge disconnect from reality. You don’t need to thin your jawlines, make yourself look slimmer, use apps to clear your pimples, etc. You are good just the way you are. You will feel empowered when you stop using these apps.
4. Every day, indulge in a self-love exercise. Accept yourself, your situation, your body, and your choices. I do this little thing every day – I look at my body, my stretch marks, my scars, my weight, who I am in the mirror, and reinforce the idea that I am myself, I love myself today. Try it, it’s a great exercise.
5. Never second-guess your content. If it’s a reflection of you – that means, it’s authentic, transparent, and honest. Your content is king, believe in it. You are unique – never copy, find your own spot and ride with it. You have it in you, just bring out your best.
6. Never fear showing your true self. There is nothing more attractive than raw emotions, real people, honest opinions. The time has come and the need for change is clear. People don’t want fakeness anymore. Bare your soul, it’s the most attractive thing.
7. Rethink people around you. Figure out your tribe – those who support you, rejig your friends’ list and reprioritise your true friends. Anyone who is a negative influence needs to be kept at a distance. I’m very selfish about my own life, self-preservation is important. We all need to be supportive of each other and mindful, we need kind people around us.
8. Enjoy the process of creating content and showcase what you love on social media. Whatever it is. There is nothing more unforgiving than losing time on things you cannot control. Every minute, every second, they count. You need to be in a good space to embrace the future and the changes that will be coming.
9. Positive thoughts and a happy space will only attract the right crowd. It’s not the number of followers, but it’s the souls you want to be around that add value to your life. You want their vibe, and they want to be a part of yours. Stop focusing on numbers; it’s always the right crowd that counts. It should be a healthy conversation.
10. And most importantly, always have a vision for where you want to see yourself five, 10 years from now. None of us start with a grand plan, I did not have one at the beginning. But one must remember that you need to always move forward and work towards where you want to go. I am now finding my way, and taking baby steps to get there. Thoughts become things, and that’s why you need to start creating a plan for yourself.
Stock images: Getty / Sameera’s images from her Instagram page.