Ever heard the name “Malini Agarwal”? If you haven’t, chances are that you haven’t spent much time either a) on the Bollywood gossip scene or b) obsessing over Imran Khan or Priyanka Chopra.
Malini Agarwal, also known as the “Miss Malini” of MissMalini.com, one of India’s most popular celebrity blogging sites. With a past that includes being a Video DJ for MTV in the same breath as being the head of Digital Content for Channel [v], Malini knows her way around India’s news and entertainment scene better than almost anyone.
I had the opportunity to sit with Ms. Agarwal and chat with her about her career thus far and her advice for young media and entertainment hopefuls– here’s an excerpt from our conversation.
You’ve been called “the Perez Hilton of India.” Do you like this moniker? Do you have a better one?
I’m very happy with that moniker. Perez Hilton was my inspiration to begin this blog, although now I feel MissMalini.com has a happier shinier flavor, more along the lines of Pop Sugar or Just Jarred. More than a moniker I’d just like people to discover that my blog is becoming the one stop destination for all things Bollywood, Fashion, Lifestyle and Geek Chic. Basically all the entertainment news you need to know, all at one address.
When did you decide to leave MTV?
Back in 2003 I was running the digital “romance” channel for mtvindia.com
, that’s when commercial radio had also just begun in India. I auditioned and got a job as on air talent with WIN 94.6 for a 9pm to midnight slot, so for about a year I did both jobs! Eventually I decided to take the leap and dive into radio full-time as the drive-time host and the rest is history… I proceeded to be radio talent for the next 8 years, then joined Channel [v] as head of Digital content and started MissMalini.com as a hobby on the side…
What were some of your ‘dark before the dawn’ moments in your career, where you weren’t sure it was going anywhere but soldiered on anyway?
I have to admit I’ve been pretty lucky, somehow always been in the right place at the right time and my career has been for the most part, effortless! When the dot.com boom happened back in 2003-2004 however our team at Asia Content (that created all the mtvindia.com online content) was downsized from 14 to 4 people overnight. Again I was lucky to be one of the surviving 4 but it was definitely worrisome not knowing if the online industry would survive the slump! At the time it was really all I knew how to do. But then it was radio to the rescue!
What are the best and worst things about your job?
My current job is fantastic. I love to write so getting to do that every day, plus explore a bustling new India and share it with the world is just amazing. The best part of my job is the fantastic feeling when someone comes up and tells me they love my blog (plus I do get to do an awful lot of fun things in the bargain.) The worst part of the job I guess is not always having the tools or manpower to create all the content I really want to. But I’m working on fixing that part and growing my team.
How can someone who wants to be just like you start out trying?
I think the most important thing is to find something you really love doing. It could be blogging, traveling, eating, whatever! Once you know what you really love, the beauty of our generation is that it is possible to make just about anything a career now-a-days! It’s also important to be consistent, I blog everyday, several times a day. And of course, be honest, is what you’re giving your audience really the best you can do? Just remember; if you build it, they will come!