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Nidhi Kumar – The ‘Kala Chashma’ Girl of UAE

UAE’S biggest dance YouTuber, TedX speaker, choreographer, TV presenter, actor, model; meet Nidhi Kumar!

Nidhi Kumar Interview with Brown Magazine

Who says it’s not realistic to dunk your hands into more than one passion at once? If you still don’t believe in this, then you truly need to read the journey of this exceptionally talented 25-year-old girl, Nidhi Kumar, who’s not exclusively UAE’s Biggest Dance YouTuber with almost 100 million views but also an actor, Social Media Influencer, TV presenter, and model. She has worked with Bollywood superstars like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neha Kakkar, Tony Kakkar, Harrdy Sandhu, Lauren Gottlieb, and Javed Sheikh, amongst others.

Apart from hosting her own TV shows for two leading TV channels, she likewise played the lead in commercials for brands and photoshoots in the UAE. A girl who is always striving to inspire and aiming to pave the way for the youth in the UAE wants to make a full-time career in performing Arts. You can’t miss the snippets of her journey, so start scrolling!

Why are you called the Kala Chashma girl of UAE?

There’s a story behind this. So, I had put up a random status on Facebook asking who wanted to learn the hook step of the famous song Kala Chashma and I got a massive response. So, I made the tutorial, and it went viral with 2.9m views. That was my first official video, and since then, I have been called the Kala Chashma girl of UAE.

Being a multi-tasker, you are walking and chewing gum with so much dedication and hard work. But where do you think you belong the most and why? If not, then how do you love doing all the work simultaneously?

I am a major multi-tasker, and I love multi-tasking. I do a lot of things like acting, dancing, modelling, choreography, TV presenting, and stuff like that. I belong to all of them, yet if I had to choose one, then my heart belongs to dancing and content creation. I can’t live without dancing; it’s my everything, and I absolutely love doing it. Besides, the reason why I can multi-task is that I am doing exactly what I love. All of these are my talents as an artist. So, it’s a pleasure to do all these things because I think I am good at it and that’s why I can do these things.

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What does a typical day in your life look like?

I wake up at 12:00-12:30 in the afternoon. The moment I wake up, my day starts with non-stop work. I have to shoot, make content, and post for 5 different platforms every single day. Then I check my emails, run errands, facilitate all the things that I have to coordinate for my shoots and campaigns. By the time it’s evening, I sit and mark off all my small errands like preparing my schedule for the following day or week, give out a task list, edit my videos, if any, and then put up all stories for promotions for the next day. So, till the time I am snoozing, I am working.

Image source: Nidhi Kumar

Before the day is over, I usually reply to all my followers on Snapchat, Instagram, and Roposo. Lastly, at night, I typically sleep late because my creative juices flow at night. So, I choreograph the best at night and usually do that only at night. After completing all the work, I sleep by 2:00-2:30 every night. Also, this is the reason I get up late because I plan and choreograph only at night.

Some values like your artistic eye, creativity, and dedication to produce consistent content have enabled you to grow an impressive following on Instagram as well as YouTube. Tell us about your role as an influencer.

My role as an influencer is something that I take full responsibility for. I feel like it’s a work of total commitment. I am very particular about what goes out of my profile because I have a lot of young teenage minds following me. So, it’s my responsibility to give them the push in terms of whatever they desire to do. I always look at the factors as to how I can help them in that way. I am always putting out my hashtag #NKGYAAN as a property to help give them tips to grow on Instagram and different platforms.

“I don’t typically term myself as an influencer; I term myself as an artist.says Nidhi Kumar

Image source: Nidhi Kumar

Likewise, I give them some of the other tips on my stories to grow and tell them the good brands I work with, which is like my brand influencing power. I disclose to them the brands I like, and probably they could also benefit from. My primary role as an influencer is to give them the maximum exposure and all the tips that I use for myself to become who I am today.

You also work as a presenter, besides being a model and actor. Moreover, these arenas are widely considered as fancy as they look to the audience. Please give your insights on your acting and modelling journey and is it valid, what the audience perceives?

Acting, modelling, and TV presenting all look like extremely fancy careers. They are super fancy, yet there is a lot of grime behind them. I remember I was doing the show Savdhaan India and we had to shoot for 14 hours straight for 3 days without a break, and it was insanely chaotic. The entire team had to stay back, and these things don’t come off easily. Along these lines, what you see is presumably a 10-minute TVC, yet only for that 10 min TVC, we work for 12-13 hours without a break. What the audience perceives is just the front: what they watch on TV or in the cinema. That is the glamorous part of it, but they don’t see the messy work behind it. Sometimes it becomes incredibly hectic, and even the work culture becomes toxic sometimes but how you navigate through this world is what matters the most. Mental strength really takes a toll, but you need to be mentally strong to be in this platform and environment.

Image source: Nidhi Kumar

We know that balance is a significant part of work. As you belong to so many segments, how do you maintain the equilibrium between them mentally as well as physically?

I am still working on maintaining an equilibrium between my mental and physical health. It has been the most challenging thing for me to do over the past years of doing whatever I do right now. My mental health has gone for a toss because I work all alone and handle everything by myself, which really takes a toll on my mental and physical health. Sometimes also because I post content on social media every day without fail from the past four years; if not on one platform, then the other. I always strive to be better than myself the next day.

So, to achieve that perfection really takes a toll on my mental and physical health. But I am working towards it, and from the past few months, it’s been much better. When I take a break, I have discovered that I come back with fresh ideas and feel even more rejuvenated. Along these lines, I continue to take breaks to come up with new and fresh content.

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You are in the middle of your journey right now. Yet, we all are stuck with this ongoing pandemic that has disturbed every sphere of our life. In what ways do you think your fields have been affected due to the current situation? How do you want to become a part of this change?

So, the pandemic has caused a significant change in the industry for dancers, actors, singers, and artists in general. The negative impact was that the movies’ shoots, TVCs, and groundwork have been halted. Like the dance reality shows in Mumbai were shut for the longest time. So, those choreographers couldn’t make money. In-person workshops, dance classes were closed where many people could not create income. These were the negative bits.

Image source: Nidhi Kumar

Presently, with regards to the positive side, particularly for content makers via online media, it was a shelter. I was stuck in Mumbai for 7 months during the first wave of COVID, and I created the maximum amount of content at that period which went viral. That was the point when I shot up because everyone was sitting and consuming the internet and content. So that is where I came in. That growth of mine in those months was the most giant leap I had on Instagram because all my properties which I have made, especially the #HookWNids went viral. After all, it was a thing where I was teaching hook steps at home for everyone to learn for free. That was the positive impact of the pandemic for us social media creators especially.

You started from scratch at a time when no one understood what content creation was. Yet you entered this field. What inspired you to do so? Along these lines, what surprising lessons have you learned from your journey?

When I started in the UAE, there was no such thing as dancing to Bollywood songs. At the same time, I have always been a lover of Bollywood songs, dancing and being in front of a camera. So that is what roused me. I just wanted everybody to see my art, as simple as that. I wanted to do something in terms of dancing, and I knew that I was at least good at it. I used to see videos of people from India wearing lovely costumes and always thought, why don’t we do something here. I wanted to do something new, and I always tried to do something different, which motivated me to start.

Image source: Nidhi Kumar with Varun Dhawan (Left); Neha Kakkar (Center); Nora Fatehi (Right)

Talking about the lessons, I will say that I am still learning them. I have always believed in working hard. I knew that every time I pushed myself, I have been rewarded. Plus, the competition is fierce in what I do. However, I don’t allow that to get to my head. I only compete with myself, and that’s the main lesson I have learned. It’s super important to compete with yourself rather than others because you will consistently feel awful if you compete with others. After all, somebody or the other will be showing improvement over you. I believe that hard work, persistence, competing only with yourself, and constantly pushing through are essential.

Also, one thing that really helps me with my mental health is no negativity around me. I make sure that when I am working in an environment, I have zero negativity around me because that really affects my work. And at this point in age, I make sure that I cut people out who bring negativity in my life. That’s my biggest lesson.

A performer is struggling to learn a routine. How did you proceed? What skills have you learned as a dancer that made you a good choreographer?

I am not a trained dancer. So, I haven’t learned any skills technically but for me, the choreography comes very easily because I know how steps will flow from one step to another. That does not mean how it makes sense. Every dance needs to make perfect sense, that does not what choreography means.

Choreography is an expression of what you think the song interprets for you.” says Nidhi Kumar

That is the biggest thing I make sure and take care of while I am choreographing. Whatever the song makes me feel, I simply ensure that it’s all very raw and everything comes from within. When I am dancing, I am just flowing, and the steps automatically come, and that is how I choreograph. I feel if a performer is struggling to learn, it’s super important to give them some time. They should know that if you are learning something, it takes time. They need to have patience; they need to learn from the right teachers and acknowledge for actually trying, which is super important.

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As we say, no career is easy to enter, and neither is this, with the most prominent reason being the competition nowadays. Why do you think it’s worth going into content creation with all of the people already doing it?

Of course, social media has its pros and cons, but it allows and gives you the space to do whatever you want to. For someone who really wants to express themselves, social media is a perfect and fun approach, provided you use it in the right way. If people are passionate about something, content creation can actually be a way of expressing and making money. It really fulfils both criteria. Competition is in every field; it’s just how you handle it. Like I said earlier, you only compete with yourself, and I know that’s a hard mindset to keep, but you need to have that mindset because the more you look at others, the less you are becoming better. So, focus only on yourself.

Content creation is a term of expression.” says Nidhi Kumar

Image source: Nidhi Kumar at The Epic Fam Jam, Mumbai

We know misfortunes and difficulties are a part of life that unquestionably assist us in growing. In that context, what setbacks did you face, and how did you overcome them?

I have confronted a lot of setbacks. Number one was when I was in a country where there was no content creation culture and no dance and music culture at all. So, it took a lot of time to build an empire for me to start from scratch. Also, when you are in India, you reach doubles automatically. And when you are in a smaller country, you know that your reach will be constricted because of the geographical location.

So, for me, that occasionally is still a setback because whenever I am in India, my followers and my reach just double up. But the moment I am outside India, again, it falls down. That is a significant setback that demotivates me sometimes because I know how hard I work to put content out there. But I have always learned to keep pushing through.

What you do requires a lot of effort and creativity. What do you do when you face a creative block? How do you ensure to stay fit and motivated to work?

The biggest thing I have learned when I have a creative block is to take a step back; whether it’s a 2 or 3-day break, it really rejuvenates you. Throughout the break, you should not do anything related to the work you actually do. If I am a content creator, I will go out, talk to my friends, sit with my family, but I will not touch my phone. I will do everything else other than that. Then when I get back to work the next day, I am just so rejuvenated and refreshed because I actually interacted with my environment and got so many ideas for content creation. So, whenever I have a creative block, I definitely do this.

For me to stay motivated, it’s 100% my audience because I know how much they love my content and will hang tight for it every day. If I don’t post, I get messages that why didn’t you post today. So that truly motivates me to keep going.

Image source: Nidhi Kumar at a dance workshop

You recently won the award for Arab Asia Starz for entertainment with record-breaking votes. You reached half a million on YouTube, got verified on Instagram with more than 200k followers, you have worked with Bollywood celebs, and you also gave your biggest performance at the Epic Fam Jam. Yet, when was the first time you thought you became a star? Who do you think helped you reach where you are right now?

First and foremost, I am honoured to do what I love. I feel like there are so many moments that have made me feel like this. But there are a few moments which I profoundly remember. Number one was during the pandemic when I was wearing a mask and roaming around in Dubai. People would just recognize me through my eyes, and I feel like that is so insane. They come running and say, Oh my god, you are Nidhi! I feel like I have made it.

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My number two moment was the Epic Fam Jam. Everyone was just running around, they wanted to take photos, and there was this crowd where people were yelling my name. I felt on top of the world. Number three was, of course, the Filmfare Middle East award that I won recently. When they called out my name, I got the feeling that I have made it. So, these were some of the moments that I really remember.

Image source: Nidhi Kumar at Filmfare middle east awards

Of course, when we reach people globally, we have to take the good with the bad. Majorly, how do you deal with the nasty and negative commenters?

So, for me, I don’t get hate at all, to be honest, because I feel I have made a family like that, and I get hate rarely. And sometimes, when I do, I chose to ignore it because I know these are people who just say many things and probably copy-paste the same message to every social media creator. I do not waste my energy because I can put that time and energy into my work. Along these lines, I totally overlook them and couldn’t care less about them by any means. I don’t allow them to affect my mental health because I know they literally don’t have anything else to do except for wasting time.

What are your future objectives, or how are you planning to revolutionize your career, keeping in mind the progressions occurring in the arenas you belong to?

I have huge goals. One of them is to strengthen my empire and double it. That is the only thing that I am working on right now. Likewise, I want to have my dance studios worldwide and have my own change, which is a much further goal. Right now, I am focusing on putting my reach all over the world. Besides, I feel I can do it as social media is getting stronger day by day.

Instagram – Nidhi Kumar (@nidhikumardance)

What is the best piece of advice that you would love to give to our readers?

I just have one piece of advice – No matter what you do, just give it you’re all. The moment you put in any hard work, it comes back with its benefits, and you can sit and enjoy them. Have a goal and do everything that it takes to reach that goal. With 100% hard work, the right amount of determination, persistence, you will achieve it and absolutely kill it. Moreover, if you ever want to talk or ask anything, I am always there on social media to help you!

This woman has inspired us all and portrayed the significance of hard work and dedication in its true form to accomplish our goals. So don’t wait for it, just do it!

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Just a random girl with a strong desire to travel the world and explore new things! Sucker for fashion and aesthetic!

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