In a pandemic stricken universe, audiences have turned toward YouTubers for entertainment and have found the comfort missing on the big screen. One can’t really deny what Shruti Arjun Anand claims. With millions and millions of subscribers, the easy to relate YouTubers have craved a niche for themselves.
There are YouTubers who come from regular families and modest backgrounds. But, with their smart work and creativity, they have risen to a star status. Shruti Arjun Anand, who has been ruling the Indian scene of YouTube for around 12 years now, is one of such self-made celebrities. Sit down with a cup of coffee as we chat up with her.
It was back in 2012, when YouTube was not even a thing. Your 8-year-old video on Simple and Easy to do Bridal Mehndi Henna Art now stands at 600 K views. Did you imagine when you filmed that video, that you were laying the foundation on a huge entertainment empire?
Big things are always unplanned. I never thought that one day from a normal Youtube channel Shruti Arjun Anand it will turn into SpiceUp Media. If it would have been planned the views would not be 600k it would have been crazy and obviously beyond everyone’s expectations.
Your channel has seen a revolution. From Mehendi, to make up, and now entertainment videos. What encouraged you to explore so many avenues of creativity as you say, Entertainment & Beauty Ka Cocktail, instead of sticking to one particular niche?
I think a happy person can make others happy too. Your content is your brand name and as an audience if I am not able to see my videos 10 times, how can I imagine that my audience would like it! If I am a multi talented person, I would want my audience to learn as much as they can so sticking to any one particular niche is something that I won’t agree upon.
Now this must be a regular thing. But please share with us the experience of first time being recognized by a fan/subscriber on the street. What was Shruti Arjun Anand’s “I have arrived” moment?
There have been a couple of times when the fan moments happened. I don’t call my fans or subscribers typical “Fans” or my “Followers”. I am obliged that whatever content I make, it makes them happy, they recognize me from my videos & they are following me for a good reason. Because of them only we are able to make and grow this family to 6 channels with an overall subscribers of 35M+. So, I am always grateful to them.
You were working with an IT firm in the To let go off a conventional career and trying something very risky. What was the deciding point when you and your husband decided on making YouTube the full time career?
This was never the game plan to start all 6 channels all together and coming this far. To let go off a conventional career and trying this was the baby risk in front of the risk we took when we decided to shift back to India from the US and leaving our safe & sound jobs. There was a huge difference in our salaries when we shifted from the US just because we wanted to live in India.
The sales part of this job was something that always excited Arjun and belonging from the IIT background having a good knowledge of analytics helped us in understanding the same and we started it. We thought if it wouldn’t work we’ll join our jobs again. Moreover, Nisha my sister in law too left her career and entered into this risky profession with us which actually helped us to grow more and, then it was all just go with the flow.
YouTube is giving a neck-to-neck competition to Bollywood. What, according to you, is the appeal of YouTubers that is driving people to follow and fangirl over them instead of movie actors?
It’s true that YouTubers are giving neck-to-neck competition to Bollywood celebs. But the reason that our audience is connected with us is that everything of ours is relatable from routine to endorsing brand deals, whereas everything in Bollywood is too staged up to which the audience is not able to connect or can’t sync with them. Earlier the methodology was to aware the audience but now it has actually changed to endorsing as many brands as one can.
Do you have any plans of making inroads into the movie or television industry? Or say OTT platforms like Netflix or Hotstar?
I genuinely believe that YouTubers are much more famous than the Bollywood Celebs. If you have observed that these days even big celebs are more inclined on the OTT platforms rather than movies. I am right now happy with the content I am making and the platforms I am working on.
You have collaborated with many, but have you made any friends within the YouTubers community?
I believe in friendship but for me there shouldn’t be true friendship at work. Real friendship actually means that someone is there for me and I am there for someone whenever we are going through a tough time. But within the community I am friends with many but involving them in Personal & professional might make things complicated.
Flaunting your friendship on social media and then fans and many other people try to dig in your personal matters, which I personally don’t like. So, I always like to keep some things private no matter if it’s friendship or any other factor.
Do you think there can be true friendship here given the tough competition?
In Girls, very rare frankly. But yes, true friendship is there but anyhow there should be enough understanding and maturity in one to handle this. My best friend can be more famous than me because of the content she is making and I am comfortable in that.
The comment section can get really toxic at times. How do you handle the negativity coming from faceless nameless people?
Calling them faceless or nameless people is almost like Judging someone and I don’t think it’s right to do so. What’s the difference between them and me if they are judging and I am judging them. For any influencer, it’s not good to only see the positive side (their fans, followers, and others) but also to see the negative side as well which is important to keep ourselves grounded no matter how big we are. If I say You all are my family, then few cousins cannot be happy but the relation still goes on.
Recently, another YouTuber Indiangirlchannel Trisha’s channel was hacked for 48 hours. How safe do you feel with your content? Have you even caught anyone trying to hack into your channels?
Thankfully not yet, first because sometimes you share your password or insights with someone which leads to this. YouTube is very concerned about all its channels and that’s why they keep on sharing with us their new policies which helps us understand how to keep our channels secured more and more. 2 step authentication, changing passwords regularly, not to login from anywhere, etc some measures should be taken and then there are very less chances of getting your accounts hacked.
So is next on the cards of brand Shruti Arjun Anand? Make-up line, fashion like? Or anything even more exciting?
Wherever we are it is all because of the hard work of our team and their ideas. So, where we are standing right now we see endless possibilities like for makeup, Fashion and kids because our channels cater to that and having such a huge fan base we cannot just randomly decide something which our audience would not be happy with. So we think sometimes for online classes for students and merchandising or something else, but looking at the current situation we don’t feel like implementing it. Rest God always has better plans for us.
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