There’s hushed anticipation in the air as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan sets foot on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 in a voluminous tulle concoction. Millions of miles away, a young girl in Uttarakhand stares at her screen in reverential rapture, never once fathoming that future. That one day, she would fly down to the French Riviera and walk the red carpet in bespoke couture from Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla and Tarun Tahiliani, among others. That girl is, you guessed it, Dolly Singh.
It would be easy to calibrate the social media icon’s impact in numbers—an eyebrow-raising 1.6 million followers—but it would also be a grave disservice to the magnitude of her cultural impact. In a landscape littered with cool-girl influencers, Singh instead chose to peer at our collective everyday quirks and habits and sculpt them into algorithm gold with a bevy of personalities.
The archetypal South Delhi girl may have first skyrocketed her to fame, but she has since funnelled her creative smarts into the outspoken Guddu bhabhi, fearless Zeenat and Raju ki mummy. As everyone else chases unattainable fame in the smoke-and-mirrors carousel of social media, Singh appears to have taken a simpler, yet underrated, route to success: she is a friend to everyone.
It is this aching sense of realness that bleeds into her conversation on the morning after the red carpet. “I am aware that there is a growing sentiment online about what influencers are doing at the Cannes Film Festival. The internet might make it seem like everything is just about the red carpet. But the truth is that the focus is still primarily on the movies being showcased.”
And as social media continues to level the playing field, Singh stands at the forefront of a democratic new landscape. Her top advice for young content creators? “The beauty of the internet is that anyone can make it. All you need is a phone camera, backdrop… and perhaps the knowledge of how to explain to your parents what you do for a living, she laughs as she signs off.
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