We are always thrilled to see South Asians supporting each other! That's exactly what Sanjana Nagesh is doing with her popular Instagram account Brown Girl
Gang. It's a space that features inspiring badass South Asian women worldwide!
We had a chance to chat with Nagesh about her work with Brown Girl Gang and the positive impact it's had on the community.
What inspired you to start Brown Girl Gang?
Funnily enough, Brown Girl Gang (BGG) was born out of a series of procrastinating events.
One day in March 2017 I found myself scrolling through Instagram for a few hours (oops) and was in awe of the talent amongst South Asian influencers. Women from all areas of life - startups, music, art, fashion, sport, social impact and more - were finding the most creative ways to fuse traditional "brown" elements of our culture with contemporary perspectives.
My family moved from South India to Australia in the early 90s and I was born here soon after, so being Indian-Australian is a huge part of my identity. It was so empowering to finally discover content representing dual cultural identities that I found myself wanting to learn more about each girl and the story behind her work. I thought, ‘It’s such a shame this talent is so scattered across Instagram. I wish I could find these women all in one place like a girl gang, but more specifically a brown girl gang’ as I found I was relating most to the influence of Indian culture intertwined pop-culture. Thus, Brown Girl Gang was created! A space to feature inspiring & badass brown girls around the world. Let's put ourselves on the map!
What is your
vision for BrownGirlGang?
I hope Brown Girl Gang inspires South Asian girls (and boys!) to blur cultural boundaries and remember; you will never influence the world by being just like it. The long-term vision is still a bit blurry so it’s been super exciting just taking it one day at a time and experimenting with creative ways of sharing the work of kickass women. If you look at mainstream media, in most industries you’ll only find a handful of women of color representing a much larger population. Whilst we love people like Mindy Kaling, it would be amazing to see more women like her shine on a global scale. The vision is definitely to empower South Asians to embrace the magic within their melanin and encourage them to pursue their passions.
What do you love most about your work with BrownGirlGang?
Connecting with our Gang is easily what I love the most about running BGG! We receive the most heartwarming DMs everyday about the ways in which Brown Girl Gang has seriously impacted people’s lives. So many women and men have written to us about how discovering BGG has helped them feel more at peace with their identity, given them the courage to pursue their interests in their career and more. I never imagined just an Instagram account I started on a whim would be have such a meaningful and direct impact on strangers’ wellbeing and help people lead their best lives, so it’s been incredible rewarding and what I love the most about working on BGG.
Is there a particular story or feature that you highlighted on Brown Girl Gang that greatly impacted you and your audience?
Totally! A couple of weeks ago we asked the Gang to ‘Name a brown girl who inspires you’ on our highlighted Insta story ‘INSPO’ and were instantly flooded with inspirational women doing so much cool sh*t. I definitely was pinching myself to check it was real when so many of my idols reshared the story to their own account, including; Anjula Acharia, Babbu The Painter, Payal Kadakia, The Rajkumari and more. It was indescribable discovering new women to follow found via the question replies, seeing so many newbies follow us that day and receiving this stranger’s DM at the end which perfectly summed up BGG’s entire existence: “Thank you so so much for this sequence, I was able to expand my feed with powerful brown women who look and think like me and I am forever grateful to follow media that supports and encourages brown names being shared!!!! Creating feeds that reflect and empower lil brown gals and guys make the world go round 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽💖💖💖”.
We love the work Sanjana is doing with Brown Girl Gang and are excited to see it continue to grow!
Check out Sanjana & Brown Girl Gang Socials below!
Brown Girl Gang Instagram:
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