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Blogging Away To Glory

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Blogging Away To Glory

What started as a love for blogging has given Malini Agarwal the kind of success, fame and recognition that she could not have foreseen or imagined, having traversed a road that really did not exist back in 2008 when she started her career as a blogger. The founder and creative director of MissMalini Entertainment, Girl Tribe and the co-founder of Good Creator Co, today she creates highly-engaging, multi-platform content aimed at the Internet generation. MissMalini Entertainment’s content in fact reaches 30 million people a month across its channels, with over 10 million direct social media followers.

Early life

Malini Agarwal was born into an Allahabad-based Marwari family. Her father being in Foreign Service, the family left the country when she was just six months old. They moved from country to country every three years, which took them to Somalia, Lebanon, Greece, Bulgaria, Ivory Coast and so on. After her father retired, the family returned to India, where Agarwal completed her education and then, at the turn of the millennium, arrived in Mumbai, the city that has made her all that she is today.

Malini Agarwal as a child in Greece

City lights

Malini Agarwal started her career as a backup dancer at the age of 17. In 2000, she headed for the glitz and glamour of Mumbai. Aspiring to be a VJ (video jockey), she walked into the MTV office one day, and the rest, as they say, is history. She joined MTV as Digital Channel Head, later moving on to become an RJ (radio jockey) at Radio One and eventually Digital Content Head of Channel V. During her radio days, she also ran a gossip column ‘Malini’s Mumbai’, documenting the fun experiences of living in Mumbai—which, Agarwal says, is how she learnt to connect with people. She took to blog writing—something which grew on her steadily until her love for it became so intense that it took her career in another direction. “I loved writing my blog so much that I would rush home from my day job at Channel V to do it. And then one day I decided to jump ship and do it full time,” says Agarwal.

Pioneering lifestyle blogger

Content creators and Internet influencers may be rampant today, but back then when Agarwal started out, she struggled to build a career in a field that was practically non-existent. It was difficult making money initially, and as a creator she needed help. This help came from her husband Nowshad Rizwanullah by way of the emotional, financial and mental support she needed to continue. Agarwal feels that he’s been the reason why she pursued this business over the years, because even when she didn’t think of blogging as a business, he and her other business partner, co-founder Mike Melli, would always say it had a lot of potential.

As for herself, Agarwal says, “I believe in the Japanese concept, Ikigai. It means your true passion lies at the centre of four things: what you love to do, what you’re good at doing, what you can get paid to do, and what the world needs. I am fortunate to have been able to find mine through MissMalini Entertainment.”

Malini Agarwal posing during ‘Malini Girl Tribe’ episode

Social influencer

Agarwal has not only pioneered Indian lifestyle blogging, but she has also been an ardent social influencer. “Being passionate about impacting society positively, I have endeavoured to transform the social media world into a positive virtual space by using my reach and influence to spearhead several social initiatives,” she says. One of these initiatives was the launch of ‘Girl Tribe by MissMalini’, which began as a Facebook experiment to spread positivity, empathy and kindness amongst 100 girlfriends in 2018. Intended at creating a safe space for women and foster judgment-free conversations while empowering, inspiring and connecting them to live their best lives, it has grown into a supportive community of over 70,000 women and now also has its own app.

‘ItEndsWithMe’ and ‘IgnoreNoMore’ are two other campaigns that Agarwal launched which were intended at creating a kind of Internet that helps users focus on the important things that we need to do online. “We spend so much time talking about toxic Internet, but Internet is not an alien force that has landed into our lap—we are the social media, we are Internet and it is up to us to change the narrative,” she rationalises. ‘ItEndsWithMe’ was a social awareness campaign aimed at raising consciousness and committing people to fight the pervasiveness of sexism, violence and discrimination in our world. The ‘IgnoreNoMore’ campaign was to make sure that men and women were aware of their rights—like they cannot be abused, they cannot have their picture be used without their permission, and so on.

Awards galore

For her myriad accomplishments, Malini Agarwal has not just been widely profiled by prestigious Indian and international media—these include BBC World (UK), CNN (USA), DW (Germany), TV5 (France) and The Globe & Mail (Canada)—but also honoured with prestigious titles, awards and accolades from the world over. The ones that make her feel proudest, however, are ranking #1 on IMPACT’s 50 Most Influential Women in Media, Marketing and Advertising in 2017; being declared Global Social Media Icon 2019 at Malaysia Social Media Week; being recognised among ‘Business Leaders to Watch For’ in Fortune India’s 40 Under 40 List and Forbes recognising her as India’s most famous digital influencer.

Malini Agarwal being honoured with an award by Maneka Gandhi (Member of the Lok Sabha) at India Fashion Awards

The road ahead

For a brand that has accomplished so much, in a surprise development, MissMalini Entertainment was recently acquired by the GoodGlamm Group—which Agarwal feels, will create positive synergies. She says, “Yes, MissMalini Entertainment has been acquired by GoodGlamm Group and we are super, super excited about all the things we can do together. MissMalini Entertainment, of course, will continue to function independently with all its heart and soul and do everything we do.