Niki Mehra is a self confessed Delhi girl, born and brought up in the capital. She’s well read, music savvy, ambitious and truly stylish. That would explain her huge following on social media, making her one of the top Indian FASHION & BEAUTY BLOGGER.
Niki comes from a very open minded but conventional family of highly educated professionals. As a kid she subconsciously followed the same path and grew up to have goals of being an economist, just like her brother who is a graduate from IIM Ahmedabad and now an investment banker. Niki had a job offer during her masters & acquired her degree with distinction in 2016.
Her mother has always been into fashion and used to teach her knitting, styling, art and creation during her childhood. Eventually, Niki grew up to have a personality that was very social and she was around 14 when she realized that she loves fashion. She had a fleeting dream that she wanted to do something in this field but she brushed it away because it seemed too far-fetched at that time.
As she grew older and started travelling, her interest in fashion only grew stronger and by the time she was midway through her masters, she couldn’t fight the feeling.
During that time a social sharing platform called Instagram had recently launched and there was the beginning of a new industry being developed in fashion : Blogging.
Fashion Blogging had already existed in other parts of the world where individuals had their personal blogs on which they’d share their take on things they were passionate about and very few people were doing the same in India as well. But with Instagram, it was a whole new ball game. It was a pictorial style of blogging: faster, more challenging but more rewarding and with an ever-increasing audience.
Niki started off by making an account and a blog where she’d share her personal style and talk about beauty and fashion hacks her mother had shared during childhood.
Blogging is all about establishing your community, a community of like minded individuals. Luckily for Niki, this was possible without quitting her masters because of the nature of work. She set herself a goal of gathering a community of 10,000 people before the completion of her masters by the end of 2016, after which she decided to take this up full time.
Niki says, “This whole plan of mine was a secret. Nobody other than my best friend who helped me click pictures for my blog knew about it. I had told myself if I am not able to connect to those many individuals in a year, then nobody ever has to know and I can go back to the life I had worked towards for 23 years; that of being an economist. This attitude and secrecy was stemming from a deep routed fear that most of the kids of my generation grew up with: a doctor, teacher, MBA, CA was the safest career option and would secure your future. Anything in the creative arts field just means you aren’t good at studies or you’ll be looked down upon or you won’t be able to sustain a regular income.”
“Dreams Don’t Come Easy”
By the end of 2016, Niki had garnered a community of 20,000 individuals which was double her goal and it was time to face her fears and quit a career that was ‘looked up to’ and ‘safe’.
Her leap of faith was hard because when she quit her job and took up blogging full time, the industry was already competitive and full of people with far wider audiences than she had. Brands were just starting to test out this new mode of marketing and nobody wanted to put faith in a newbie. And for the first few months, she wasn’t able to earn anything out of it.
“My family wasn’t comfortable with the idea of me venturing into this field, partly because the concept was so new in India that barely anyone understood it and partly because I had given up a fancy job and was working from home aka in their eyes ‘sitting idle’ with no money.
But my mom had this undying belief in me though and she helped me through all my shoots just as generously as she helped me through my studies.”
“The greatest dreams are the ones your heart fears”
For Niki, the big breakthrough happened through a contest being held by Swarovski and Grazia. She was selected as one of the two influencers chosen as Indian ambassadors through multiple rounds of jury & public voting. Niki was then flown to Paris to meet the brand’s global creative director & shoot for a two page spread in Grazia.
This was the first time Niki tasted success of following her passion. It helped her with exposure & a lot more people got to know about her.
“The scared economist girl in me would have never imagined doing this and so it was liberating. That moment I gave up my fear.”
Soon after Swarovski, another high-point came when Puma chose Niki to meet Rihanna for her Fenty collection launch.
Opportunities which she didn’t even dream of were coming Niki’s way and her family started getting more comfortable with the idea of this unconventional career choice.
Niki recalls, “The quantum leap for me was when HUL called up to hire me as a consultant for their digital website, based on my content. It was re-assuring because my brother called me to tell me that his fellow IIM batchmates weren’t being offered the yearly package that I was. That made so many people around me look at my field differently and with a new-found respect for it."
From then on to now, each year Niki’s journey has only gotten better. Her community is growing stronger. And it is full of people whom Niki inspires in some way: those who have always had a childhood dream but not the courage to follow it.
Just by doing what she loves on an everyday basis, Niki gets some unbelievable opportunities from attending the most prestigious fashion weeks in New York, London & Paris to working with the best brands in the world like Maybelline, Kerastase, H&M, Forever21, Amazon and many more.
This winter she’s all set to be a part of one of the biggest International fashion reality show which will be aired in 85 countries.
“If there is one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself”
Through her widespread digital platform, Niki makes every effort to inspire & help people grow. And since she doesn’t come from a fashion background, whatever she is today is through stumbling, falling and learning her way up. So she strives to be the mentor she never had.
One of the biggest challenges Niki faced was to give up her academic career and follow her dreams. When she’s not shooting, she always tries to interact with her readers about how they can take up their career of choice. And she often talks about how she overcame her battles and embraces her scars.
“The initial struggle phase in my career coupled with some personal life tragedies pushed me a little on the edge and I was diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety. I wasn’t prescribed medication but a family doctor recommended some self-help books. That coupled with undying support from my parents and best friends helped me fight it.
“All my readers are mostly in the age group of 20-30 and I believe this is the most dangerous age. We are all so prone to ignoring our mental health because social media makes us compare our personal and professional lives with others. One of my biggest goals as a social media influencer is to make my readers understand the difference between reel and real life and to encourage them to be more open about their feelings, not attach any stigma to mental health and to practice self love.”
Girl-power is so under rated. If it wasn’t for my mom and her support, I wouldn’t have followed my dream and so I feel I owe it to the girls who look up to me to empower them and make them believe in themselves when they don’t.