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“One of My First Features”: DU Beat in Conversation with Sejal Kumar

When you say rising Indian YouTubers, the first person that comes to mind is Sejal Kumar. Sejal has one million subscribers on YouTube, her channel focuses on all aspects of life including her past at Delhi University. A student of SRCC, she had been an active member of the dramatics society. 

From her chasing DU Beat for an interview in 2014, to us waiting for her reply in anticipation in 2020. It’s a full circle story for Sejal Kumar.

Let’s find out what she has to say on Delhi University’s fashion trends, online media and politics.

Q.1

Hi Sejal! Our first question is about some of the popular trends of your time. Saath-saath mein a little about street markets that you used to shop at?

Sejal

Trends that were common when I was in college were girls wearing those typical skirts from Dilli Haat, the block prints ones, and wrap arounds with a tank top paired with loads of junk jewelry. Sarojini Nagar, Janpath and sometimes Kamla Nagar market were the markets that I mostly shopped at.

Sejal Kumar’s 2016 Video on Styling for College via YouTube

Q.2

 Were there some typical outfits linked to every college as well? Stereotypes like –“JMC girls dress this way” etc.

Sejal- I have done a video on this, where I get a Delhi University make over. For Hindu I have an image that they’re all kind of edgy, they have their own sort of artsy-bohemian style. SRCC was pretty basic! A lot of people wear really good business casuals, but it’s not very artistic. A lot of the girls I saw at LSR wore Dilli Haat skirts with tank tops, loads of kajal and the Janpath kind of junk and handicraft jewelry. I think they have a really strong sense of style.

Sejal’s 2018 video on getting a DU Makeover

Q.3

 What were some of the activities you took part in at DU and what were some places you hung out at?

Sejal 

In college, I joined a lot of societies. The norm was to join one society in DU. I auditioned for 6 societies and got through all of them, which was unheard of that time. I was a part of Dramsoc, the street play wing, for a semester or so and then I left it. I felt it wasn’t really my cup of tea.  Shortly after that I founded my YouTube channel and focused my entire energy there. In terms of places we used to hang out at, Hudson was closest to SRCC. At the time Rico’s used to be the place to be, so that is another place we used to chill at.

Q.4

 North campus is known as the hub of DU politics.  Were you ever involved in DU politics? Did you go to protests? 

Sejal

I’ve never been involved in DU politics, at that time I found it all really intimidating. The things that I heard from my close friend, who was the Vice President of SRCC, were really intimidating. I was aware of whatever was happening, but the intimidation kept me from stepping in.

Q.5

What were some of the most memorable events at college? 

Sejal 

 I was one of the first year volunteers for logistics at the SRCC Youth Conference. One of the speakers on the first day was Boman Irani. He spoke about his personal story, and following your dreams. I found that really inspiring. A year later I founded my YouTube channel.
Coincidentally, 6-7 months ago, I was on a panel with a couple of creators, and we were interviewed by Boman Irani. I told him that I had met him, he obviously didn’t remember. But it was a really cool full circle story for me. Because I knew I had this dream, but when I heard him actively speak of it on stage, I was like- “hey, I can probably really do this.”

Sejal Kumar while in college | Image via IndiaTimes

Q.6

 YouTube was becoming a big thing when you started. Did you have icons who inspired your content?

Sejal

 Bethany Mota was my inspiration. She was really big at that time, and it was because of her that I started. I saw it, and I felt that nobody was doing something like that in India and I should probably do that.

Q.7

 You recently shifted to Bombay from Delhi. On your social media, you spoke about how you feel lonely when you’re alone in your flat, because that’s not home. Did you feel out of place when you shifted away from a city where you lived all your life? 

Sejal

 I love the city. I love how friendly the people are, and how safe it is. But of course it’s different. People don’t speak the same. You can’t buy a vegetable the same way. You just have to get used it. It’s difficult because creators work very differently and independently. We don’t really go to an office or an institution every day. I don’t think people acknowledge or realize that it takes so much mental strength to work like that for 5 years. And coupled with that, moving to a new environment requires so much mental strength to deal with everything that’s happening. You can’t stop working because people are always expecting new content, and you have to keep a smile on your face for your audience, even when it’s not your happiest day. All that is challenging. But it is really cool that I can afford to live in Bombay through whatever I made on YouTube and I’m really proud of that.

via Sejal’s social media

Q.8

How is the creator community in Bombay? Who are your favorite people to work with?

Sejal

 All creators are really chill and everyone is friendly. I’ve also been friends with a lot of them from before as I used to travel so much. I’ve worked with pretty much every creator out there. We’re all going through the same struggle, we’ve all built our work from scratch, so we can really relate with each other.  I really like working with Bhuvan Bam, he’s really sweet. I haven’t worked with Kusha Kapila yet, but I love her content and I’m looking forward to working with her as well.

Q.9

You made this video on College life: Reality Vs expectation, with a special emphasis on fresher’s parties. Could you elaborate a little on the reality check that aspirants get when they come to DU? 

Sejal

 Oh god those parties suck, they are so terrible. I thought I’d I have this one group of friends, after my first day, and we would be a gang till we graduate. Of course that doesn’t happen, sometimes you have to go through a million people till you find your group of friends. Other than that I thought these college fests and parties would be really happening. Like what they show in movies, which they’re not. 

Q.10

You said you’re taking a detox from social media. How do you deal with the number of likes and the insensitive criticism on social media? And how has your work evolved? 

Sejal 

Sometimes the comments are insane, to say the least. I don’t think people realize that we actually read those comments. I’m really grateful for all the support I receive, and all the amazing things that people say. But it is really hard to ignore the negative comments, they are quite personal. It’s hard to distinguish between criticism and hate. So I consult my friends and my mom, and I know they’ll be honest.

via Sejal’s social media handles

Q.11

Okay, we now have a rapid fire round for you! Are you ready?

Sejal: yes!

Let’s begin. Sejal, please answer as fast as you can. Your favorite midnight guilty snack?

Sejal: Maggi

An essential makeup item?

Sejal: Lip-gloss

What’s would always be in your college hand bag?

Sejal: My phone?

One society that you really disliked?

Sejal: Dramsoc, I think. I got bullied around, a lot. They made me cry a million times.

One college fest that you thought was overrated?

Sejal: Next question!

Favorite college canteen snack?

Sejal: Maggi from Irfaans, at SRCC.

One thing that you’d buy from these markets?

1. Sarojni 2. Lajpat 3.Janpath 4.Dilli Haat

Sejal: Dresses from Sarojini, Indian jewelry at Lajpat, Janpath would be junk jewelry and absolutely everything from Dilli Haat!

One fest that you really enjoyed?

Sejal: Crossroads!

It’s lunch time, where would you usually be found on campus?

Sejal: The co-op area on campus.

Final question, Sejal, if your journey was a book – what would it be called?

Sejal: Trying to Be Satisfied.

Q.12.

 That’s great! Before we get off the call Sejal, are you feeling nostalgic talking about DU?

Sejal: Of course I do! In the first year, I found it difficult to adjust. I thought I’ll never miss this place, but I really do. DU allows you to explore in so many ways. If I didn’t have that time to explore, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Sejal’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sejalkumar1195/?hl=en

Featured Image Credits: Deccan Herald

Shraddha Iyer

shraddhaiyer6@yahoo.com

Saanjh Shekhar

saanjhshekhar@gmail.com

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