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From studying to become a banker to now having her own OTT show, here's social media star Saloni Gaur's journey
Saloni Gaur aka Nazma Aapi shares her success mantra
The Influencer Adda: Story behind Saloni Gaur’s success

From studying to become a banker to now having her own OTT show, here's social media star Saloni Gaur's journey

The Influencer Adda: Story behind Saloni Gaur’s success
  • Advertising and Media Insider introduces you to its latest property, The Influencer Adda, where we speak to social media stars who have made it big -- about their journey.
  • In our first episode, digital influencer Saloni Gaur gets candid about her experience of working on her first TVC and Web Series with Sony LIV, making Indian middle-class parents understand the power of social media, her all-time favourite jingle and much more!
Saloni Gaur aka Nazma Aapi aka Kangana Runout is a contemporary Indian comedian and mimicry artist, who has become an internet sensation, thanks to the relatable content she puts up. She has created 11 different characters who offer a fearless point-of-view on social and political issues even in volatile climes. Part of an industry that is highly misogynistic and sexist, she is changing the landscape, one funny video at a time.

Saloni recently landed a show with Sony Liv, touched 535k followers on Instagram and worked on her first TVC with Paytm. In the past, she has worked with brands like Amazon Prime, Doritos India, MX Player, upGrad, to name a few.

In an exclusive interview with Advertising and Media Insider, digital influencer Saloni Gaur got candid about her experience of working on her first TVC and Web Series with Sony LIV, making Indian middle-class parents understand the power of social media, the boycott culture, her all-time favourite jingle and much more!
Play iconA circle surrounding a triangle pointing right. It indicates, "this type of media can be played."Here's the story behind social media star Saloni Gaur's journey

On her way from aiming to become a banker to becoming a social media influencer

Saloni discovered the world of social media because she was bored and had a tough time making new friends in her college.

“This was the first time I moved away from my parents and it was tough for me to make new friends in college and I was getting really bored. I got my first smartphone and learnt about all these social media apps. I had no clue that Instagram has videos as well and I thought why was I wasting my jokes on my friends, now I can make a video to make others laugh. We had one TV in our hostel and kids would watch Bigg Boss there, so I thought I should start something of my own, for myself,” recounts Gaur.

In 2018, Saloni mustered courage to make her account public and around this time last year, one of her videos went viral and she tasted the sweet fruit of social media fame. And with it, Saloni realised that this is what she always wanted to do because 'her passion started paying her'.

However, she did not really have a plan. She did what her instincts told her to and followed her passion. She would make content around everything from her personal experience while taking a metro and speaking to neighborhood aunties to commenting on the status quo. Nazma Aapi was her first character that had a proper background. She gave her an identity, thought of what her husband and kids would be like, and where does she live.

Even Saloni’s first viral did not have a script -- she just poured her heart into the video. She was in a poor network area and couldn’t even add a caption.

It was on a holiday trip with her family in Benaras that she got a call from her friend, “We have started getting your videos on WhatsApp.”

“It is around this time that Delhi faces pollution issues. I was in my hostel, I opened my door and saw nothing -- it was all hazy. I thought a lot of people who have breathing issues like me, would relate to my video. I didn’t even clean my front camera, which worked to my benefit and it felt like I was in a polluted area. I also received my video on hostel WhatsApp group. So when you start receiving your own videos on WhatsApp, that’s when you realise that you have gone viral,” recalls Saloni.

That was also the first video she had uploaded on Twitter. Before that, she wasn’t very regular with her Tweets. Some famous person posted her video asking about her, which served as another indication that she had arrived.

Saloni uploaded videos on social media to escape from her mundane college life. She wanted to be a banker who does stand-up comedy on the weekends. After the lockdown, as she had more time to spare, she started posting videos more frequently.

Saloni’s mother, like many other middle-class Indian women, wanted to at least see one of her kids become a banker. After Saloni’s first video went viral, she became her biggest cheerleader. She downloaded Instagram and Facebook to track her videos and read the comments to understand the pulse of the market.

“My mother calls me to tell me that this person called you fat on social media today,” laughs Saloni as she speaks fondly of her mother.

Recently, Saloni added another feather to her cap by starring in her own web series with Sony Liv. She was in college when she got an email from Sony Liv and she assumed it was just for a shout out deal.

“We were on a Zoom call with Sony Liv’s team and my internet connection was so bad that I couldn’t see or hear them. After the call, I asked my brother, what were they talking about? He told me that they are offering you your own show. This year has been full of surprises, I haven’t planned anything about my future yet, ” tells Saloni.

This year has also taught Saloni to appreciate little things in life and gave her a privilege check. “I saw our migrants walking back miles to their homes and I realised that I was cribbing too much about my problems. I wasn’t demanding, but I complained a lot. This lockdown made me realise that what I have right now is more than enough.”

Saloni works for brands that she truly resonates with and enters into a partnership only if she would use the brand herself. On whether budding content creators should be picky about their brand deals, she said, “Every creator has his/her preferences. A lot of people said no to endorsing Fair & Lovely, which is now ‘Glow & Lovely’ but there are celebrities who are okay with associating with that brand. But if you want to create a good image, you want to survive in the long-run and you really care for people, you will have to be wary about choosing the right brand and making sure you endorse what you relate with. I was careful about this. I only work with brands who align with my values.”

Saloni has maintained a fresh, neutral voice on her social media. She offers an honest opinion on the status quo, whether it be the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act to U.S. Politics, she is fearless. A few of the brands who have reached out to Saloni in the past, have told her to stay away from politics. And Saloni doesn’t blame them.

“I do what I like for my content pipeline, so it is not a problem for me if they deny to comment on a political issue. Twitterati is quick to jump on a boycott trend today and I think it is right that they stay away. It is not like they stay away from creators who have a political opinion, but they just give a guideline to follow so that they don’t become a part of the boycott trend. All of the brands I have associated with have been very open to experiment with news ideas as well,” says Saloni.

Talking about the state of advertisements today and the brandverse, Saloni said, “Brands shouldn’t take their consumer for a fool. They should change that attitude. For example, take Fair & Lovely again, they thought it would be okay to change the name. Maybe brands need to replace their CEOs because they are not really in the right frame of mind because they think consumers wouldn’t notice if you change the brand name.”

It took Saloni Gaur three years to become a star on social media. She was patient, confident and trusted her instincts to reach where she is and never worried about how she looked or where she was. She has learnt how to be happy with little achievements and not worry too much about setbacks.

So, her advice to budding content creators is to stay real. She says, “A lot of the creators worry about production quality from the beginning. I think they should just be patient and not compromise on their content quality. I had a weird phone but all I ever worried about before uploading videos was whether it would make people laugh. If I am creating a one-minute video, every line should be a joke. If people are laughing, it doesn’t matter which phone you have used to shoot your video or what you are wearing. Don’t plan too much, just go with the flow and be patient. Do it for fun!”