Beautiful and culturally brimming, online platform British Bindi was founded by four best friends who “wanted to create an honest space for expression to build a community for everyone to share.” Kiran, Amani, Jasmeen and Tanisha (pictured), congregated after graduating from university to form what began as a shared blog, ultimately becoming the thoughtful lifestyle mag that appeals to many today. As well as being glamourous, celebrating the young Brit-Asian diaspora, their buzzing website covers a variety of experience within the community; from the romantic tropes of specifically Bollywood cinema as compared to reality in the category of relationships to the unique pressures on women in their adult lives, the internal prejudice of colourism and shouting socially positive news. A recent post congratulates dark-skinned British-Tamil actress, Simone Ashley, for landing the female lead in season 2 of Netflix’ Bridgerton: a break-through in terms of fuller ethnic representation on the western screen.
Currently working full-time at a social media agency, Kiran of British Bindi spoke to us more about their organic yet special journey. “I speak for all the girls when I say the very interest in our concept has been the highlight. There’s a massive brown influence on popular media today, but four or five years ago that wasn’t the case. We created British Bindi because we couldn’t find that minority space where we could talk and share ideas relevant to us. We started by researching the stories and articles we wanted to see and, over time, welcomed guest-bloggers who vibed with the feel and look of our work. We wanted to cover the good, the bad and the ugly side of our lives. We are aware that there are so many cultural stories to tell across our national background e.g., the four of us are North-Indian Punjabis so it’s important that we listen to other people and are aware of our own social privilege within the community when relevant. We continually want to learn and have open discussion alongside developing our own insights.”
The other three founders also have day-time jobs that excitingly complement their after-hours editorial venture: Amani works for the BBC as a radio producer, Jasmeen is a digital designer specialising in user experience and user interface, and Tanisha is a Multi-channel Digital Marketer. It is tempting to compare them to the world of Sex and the City. Especially when you see the ladies snazzily dressed in shots from a plethora of media events. Incidentally, British Bindi was nominated for Best Blog at the Asian Media Awards in 2017. However, in truth, transcending even race, British Bindi is its own personal brand. As Kiran put it: “we’re very girly, love fashion, chatting and conversing and always want to have fun!” Indeed, connecting contemporary India to traditional Britain, the publication is finally an ode to millennial mixed heritage. This is aesthetically reflected in the diverse style of the four young women; silvery sheer spaghetti-strapped pencil-dresses, open-shoulders and dark figure-hugging cocktail cuts show a proud blend of East and West, combining both conservatism and a sexy smoulder to make a stunning whole. Speaking on recommended upcoming summer fashion, Kiran said: “be bold with colours. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Especially after such a long time in lockdown! Don’t shy away from experimenting – do what you wouldn’t usually but have always wanted to.” Of course, this is only better if you go out and do it with friends!
In short, British Bindi champions feisty nuance otherwise known as inspiring individuality. Talking on the group’s favourite film & TV shows, Kiran told us: “we’re split into two for that one. Amani and I enjoy Bollywood films. We’ve had so many Netflix watch-parties! However, we all love Bridgerton on Netflix and anything trending on there too. We exchange a lot of recommends between us. It’s very varied. One minute it’s thrillers and horrors and the next comedies and Marvel. Paranormal Activity has to be my favourite horror film. I remember watching that and thinking it was going to happen me.” Not only then does British Bindi chicly commemorate contemporary British-Asians, but further applauds the dynamic phenomenon of universal engagement. “We are widely respected in the industry and though our readership is predominantly dual-heritage, our pieces are read broadly.” Penning miscellaneous articles as well as multicultural ones, the ladies do what they “feel flows. We use Instagram a lot and have tried videos – whatever helps deliver our motivational message and feels right.” Subversively patriotic, British Bindi promotes accessible status.
Has it been good working professionally with close friends?
We’ve definitely benefitted. We have an extra bond with this platform as friends – this almost tangible investment in our relationship. You definitely have to be disciplined as it can be tempting to just socialise, but we’ve all learnt now how to balance the commitment while also letting loose.
Female friendships are an interesting underrepresented topic. Would you say you have to specifically balance sisterhood with individual boundaries for success?
Yes, but you just have a communicative conversation. We make time for British Bindi on top of our independent careers and if one girl needs a holiday or private time, we just talk to each other about it. Naturally you have to adjust as life changes e.g., marriage and a family means letting someone have time, and vice-versa, still finding the time for friends.
Finally, what is your advice to other rising entrepreneurs and editorial aficionados?
For young people dipping your toe in: just start! When you are toying with so many ideas, you can get overwhelmed. Whether it is planning a feature or a whole business, just begin and find out as soon as possible how things might pan out. An idea can get disproportionately big without any action. Also, don’t be scared to reach out to people. As long as you are writing in a friendly and professional manner, you’d be surprised at how many people do want to help and collaborate with you: most people are kind!
T & I: @BritishBindi