The straight-talking YouTube star Leeza Mangaldas will help you get through any life crisis

The next time you’re going through a breakdown, tune into Leeza Mangaldas’ YouTube channel for a piece of reliable advice. Known for her straightforward approach, the actor and sports presenter takes her life experiences, like being rejected by a crush or body-shamed on Instagram to create meaningful conversations on self-esteem, sexuality and dating. With her public speaking skills and calm perception, Mangaldas has been uploading videos since the past two years. She stays authentic with her audience with the aim that they get honest with themselves. Think of her as the best friend you’d rely on to help solve your life’s issues. Here, she talks us through her journey.

ELLE: What was the aim behind creating your YouTube channel?

Leeza Mangaldas: I’ve always believed that there’s nothing that can’t be talked about. We spend so much of our public lives hiding so many of the elements that make us human—when in fact those are the most interesting parts of life, and the ones that affect us the most acutely. So I wanted to normalise talking about things like, love, sex, relationships, gender, body image, mental health. On the channel, I’ve had some amazing guests share their stories too, and together we’ve explored potent human topics, like pleasure, heartbreak, self-esteem, or loneliness—in all their beautiful complexity.

ELLE: It can be quite tough tackling these complex issues. How do you go about it?

LM: The best thing about starting the channel has been the amount of learning and unlearning I’ve done as a result of all the reading I do to keep coming up with interesting topics, and the people I’ve met through it all. When I compare my very early videos to my latest ones, I realise how much my own perspectives and attitudes have grown as well. From unpacking my internalised misogyny to overcoming my paralysing self doubt and finding the courage to talk about taboo topics around the female body and desire without fearing the inevitable judgement, it’s been a really fulfilling journey, and I think this is just the beginning.

ELLE: Self-care is important to you. What are the ways in which you practice it? 

LM: Number one: stop attaching your sense of self-worth to how you look or how much money you have. Next, don’t bother with what other people think. Lastly, spend less time on your phone. Make time to do the little things that make you feel good. For me, that’s running outdoors, reading, hot showers, long hugs, eye contact, chamomile before bed, eight hours of sleep, that type of stuff. It may seem small, but it’s important to take the time to make your own well-being a daily priority rather than an afterthought.

Photograph: Darshan Savla

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