Tanya Dhar for Women Fitness India
On the special occasion of International Women’s Day I’d like to share my interview by the team at Women Fitness, where I talk about how I got started as an influencer, how I juggle my go-getter lifestyle, and my top tips for aspiring bloggers.
1. Starting off as a founder of Urban Diaries, you are a successful luxury lifestyle influencer. Tell us more about how the idea came up? What were the factors that led to starting it?
Me: Urban Diaries is my labour of love. Fitness and fashion intrigued me early in life and travel followed closely on their footsteps. My first lick of the fashion world was in my early teens when I started modelling. It continued till my college years and even though my decisions took me on a different path, my passion for fitness and fashion never really died. So when my husband, Vikram casually mentioned about 3 years ago that I should become a fashion and lifestyle blogger, I knew I had to do something about it.
In 2016, Urban Diaries was born ~ a creative platform where I could share my experiences, a means through which I could brighten up the day for others, a pragmatic window through which I could dole out my thoughts and viewpoints to a larger audience. With time, passion turned into a business venture and now I have my hands full of new thoughts for upcoming posts, photography ideas, and business meetings. Things have gradually fallen in place, and I am exhilarated and look forward to the next phase of my journey as an influencer.
My blog has slowly evolved to cover luxury and lifestyle. It unfolds stories of my imaginations, and how I see and view the world. I am inspired a lot by the things happening around me but the true essence of my blog lies in authenticity and transparency ~ two words that seem to be nonchalantly flung into conversations more often today than before. For me, these are the pillars on which Urban Diaries rests; principles that have been a part of my life long before this blog existed in the form of an online script.
2. Living the life of a lifestyle blogger where you have to travel extensively, can be taxing at times. How do you strike a balance between your personal and professional life?
Me: Believe me, this is what I’ve been asked in almost every interview I’ve given so far. Before I started out as an influencer I had my own notions about work life balance and I wasn’t sure how blogging would change it all.
Now I know that there is no secret sauce, but what really makes a difference is the way you manage your time and plan your day. By organizing my activities ahead of time, I am able to give adequate time to everything that needs attention instead of being caught in a conundrum of events where I have to prioritize some of my work and overlook others.
In doing so, I am significantly more productive and my personal life gets all the attention it needs too!
3. With so many aspiring bloggers who look up to you, they would love to know about a day in your life?
Me: 7am | I love the freshness of the morning air, the tender kiss of the early morning sunrays and the gentle hum of the sleepy city trying to open its wistful eyes. So with some meditation that rejuvenates my soul, a glass of green juice and seasonal fruit, my mornings begin early and are always peppy. I follow up the fruit with a light breakfast to keep my energy levels high for the first half of the day.
9am | Work begins with catching up on emails, RSVPing to events and confirming details regarding upcoming collaborations and photo shoots.
12pm | I take a break by this time to re-energize myself. After having lunch, I put on some lounge music and start tapping into my creative self. This time is solely for finding inspiration for new posts, pinning new ideas to my board which I feel will be a good fit for urbandiaries.in or writing down thoughts in my diary.
2pm | I prefer meeting collaborators and interviewers in the afternoon time. I feel that afternoons are best spent this way because meetings could end up stretching for over an hour. My travel time goes into browsing through my social media platforms and replying to comments and DMs.
5pm | Once home, I take no time to change into my gym clothes. This hour of the day is dedicated to my fitness. My work out session involves a range of exercises including cardio.
7pm | My workout regime ends with a refreshing shower. This is followed by dinner and then the next three hours are spent giving words to my thoughts as I write for my blog ~ before I head to bed.
4. Wellness is an integral part of your blog as well as life. Tell us about the food/meal pattern that you follow in general to remain healthy and physically fit?
Me: Adhering to a good diet for me isn’t about strict dietary restrictions, staying unreasonably thin, or denying myself of the food I love. Rather, food for me should be celebrated as the main source of health and energy, and is tied in with feeling great, enhancing my wellbeing, and balancing out my state of mind.
For this, I strike a balance between consuming protein, carbohydrates, fibre, fat, vitamins, and minerals. So as opposed to eliminating specific categories of food from my diet, I believe more in including the healthiest options from each category. I prefer using fresh fruits and vegetables and choose to prepare my meals at home. My kitchen shelves are usually stocked with real food more than processed foods because we all know how much healthier food can be when it is not bathed in preservatives.
5. Exercise is essential along with healthy eating, how do you stay fit to cope with the pressure?
Me: Every dietician and every health practitioner that I have known has stressed on the importance of leading a physically active life. Whether your work requires you to stay on your feet most of the time, or you have to conscientiously take time out to work out, I feel that there is nothing that agrees with our bodies more than exercise and a healthy diet.
Staying healthy comes inherently to me and I lead a life that naturally leans towards fitness. I work out for a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour a day. From cardio and weight training to pilates and stretching exercises, my work out involves a fair amount of activity which helps improve my mood and encourages a better quality of life.
• I make an effort to get up and move around whenever possible.
• I choose to walk to nearby places instead of taking the car.
• Lifts and elevators are comfortable, but I prefer to take the stairs if I have a choice.
• Vacations for me are usually a getaway to more active fun in the form of kayaking, swimming, biking and hiking.
6. Inner health and beauty need to be accompanied ~ how do you take care of your outer beauty and skin? Share with us your key skincare and hair care tips.
Me: Mornings include cleansing with facial cleansing oil. This is followed with the application of an anti-aging serum and then nourishing my skin with a good day cream or oil with SPF. Evenings see a double-cleansing regime which begins with the removal of dirt, grime and pollutants that have settled on my skin during the day. This is followed by a deeper cleansing regime which purifies the skin tissue helping me regain my glow and rebalance pH levels.
After spritzing facial toner I apply an anti-aging serum with a moisturizer that has active ingredients. Water helps me stay hydrated through the day and restful sleep at night ensures that my skin recuperates from the day’s damage.
As for my tresses, to keep them healthy I massage once a week with almond oil. But hair nourishment also includes investing in good quality conditioners, leave-in treatments and hair masks. Since my hair is very manageable, I tend to wash it every two days unless I am not spending a lot of time outdoors in which case I wash once in three days.
7. Share 5 tips for a new blogger, who has just started out and wishes to make a mark?
Me: * The digital space is vast and saturated with content creators and influencers. If you want to make an impact then my best advice is to just understand what it takes. Get creative, work hard, swim against the current and let your individuality shine brightly through. Essential for success is time and effort that is whole-heartedly invested in creating a style that represents you well.
* Your content is representative of your thoughts and views so ensure that your readers always find an enigma in your blog that continues to draw them to it every time you post something new. Readers cherish posts that naturally reflect an influencer’s core values and blogging ethos. In the long run, you will find that your uniqueness is the biggest reason for gaining momentum over competitors.
* Blogging is usually perceived as an easy job; but ask an influencer and you will realize that it is a full-time endeavour. Maintaining your blog, finding new content, looking for collaborators, searching for creative ways to photograph, and staying active on social media ~ all of this can be done only if you are genuinely passionate about and love what you do.
* There will be times when you will be left wondering why your content is failing to gain the traction it deserves. Such situations can be demotivating and cause you to give up your goals. At this point I would advise you to stay positive, stay focused, stay the course… and eventually blue skies will return.
* Lastly and most importantly ~ do it for the right reasons. Social media is a great platform to create and share impactful posts that motivate and inspire others. My main motivation for sharing my experiences with my readers is to share what I’ve learned along my own journey ~ not to force my viewpoints on them.
8. Over the years there has been a tremendous change in the scenario of health, fitness, and nutrition in India. What do you have to say from your observance?
Me: Ours is a country where wellness has been cherished as long as history remembers. Our detachment from Ayurveda and the eventual evolution of the health and wellness industry encouraged a larger playing field for fitness and nutrition.
The overall standards of living have also increased considerably in India. Health and wellness is gaining significant impetus and the industry is once again moving closer to our roots where Ayurveda is emerging as one of the most effective means of leading a healthy life.
This however does not mean that other fields of medicine are not enjoying attention. The internet has helped promote awareness about wellness and this means that more people are putting conscious efforts into leading a healthy life.
9. Share with WF viewers 5 best vacation spots for summer 2018.
Me: * The jewel of the Adriatic Sea ~ Šolta, Croatia: Šolta has ingeniously stayed away from the traveller’s map preserving its pearly white beaches, cherishing its sleepy villages and conserving its beautiful wineries. That’s the thing about places unexplored ~ laid back and non touristy, this under-the-radar gem lets nature pamper you.
* Grenada: The fragrance of spices in the air will tell you that you’ve arrived in Grenada, and its colourful colonial towns will make you feel like you’ve travelled to another era in time. The lush mountains blanketed in blossoming trees and wildflowers, are proof of the fact that nature never stops smiling here and the hardly explored beaches means that you can spend time in the lap of nature watching the sun dip into the sea.
* Fiji: With pristine beaches fringed with palms, and crystalline waters with colourful reefs, Fiji is an archipelago which features imposing natural beauty and a fascinating culture. The islands have recently embraced luxury accommodations and fine dining offering the best of both worlds to visitors.
* Zambia: This is not the place where you experience a brush with nature. Zambia is where you exist in the lap of nature. The mind-blowing diversity of its flora and fauna, the magnificent waterfalls and the luxuriant green forests promise unlikely adventures and help you return with the most colourful travel stories.
* Salina Island, Italy: Have you been hoping to lose yourself in a place where time winds back and everything works at almost dreamy pace? Salina Island in the Aeolians archipelago may seem a busy place when you step into its main port, but explore deeper into the island and you will have native wildflowers as companions as you walk into small villages dotted with olive and lemon groves, and miles of terraced Malvasia vineyards.
10. Women Fitness works relentlessly with a goal to reach out to women all over the world providing them with best in health & fitness. What do you wish to say about the website (Womenfitness.org) and message for our readers?
Me: In my opinion, Womenfitness.org has evolved into an entire movement dedicated to helping women get more out of their everyday lives. For those who may find it difficult to find reliable information on the World Wide Web, this is the place where content is insightfully created touching all important areas of good living from beauty & food to health & fitness, providing a brilliant source of inspiration for women aspiring to stay fit and live healthy.
Parting note: No man is an island. We live in a world which hungers for inspiration and encouragement in different forms. I’ve scaled a steep learning curve as an influencer and I am grateful for the manner in which life has unfolded for me. It feels truly humbling to have girls say that you have inspired them on their own journeys and I cannot explain how I still feel a rush of adrenaline through my veins which sparks new motivation in me nudging me to accomplish more, to be able to continue the work I am doing and to play my part in contributing to the community.
I hope you have enjoyed reading these influencer notes as much as I did writing them.
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