What do you get when you mix a final year undergraduate adopting a #YOLO mantra with a penchant for all things beauty? Oh, and throw in a video camera as well. You get an upcoming beauty YouTuber. Meet Aavishka Ragam.

aavishka-black-dress
Image: Kannan Raja.

Back in 2013, Aavishka Ragam tried her hand at a beauty pageant. She went on to be crowned Miss Singapore India Worldwide at the age of 19. Three years on, the Business Management Student’s enthusiasm for all things beauty hasn’t wavered. The 22-year-old who’s majoring in Finance & Marketing at Singapore Management University (SMU) is currently wrapping up her last semester and has recently started up her very own beauty channel on YouTube.

When we found out that a young Singaporean Indian woman had set out to become a YouTuber, we just had to meet her. ChutneySG caught up with Aavishka Ragam (follow her on Instagram) for a chat about her beauty-ful venture on the sprawling Internet.

1. How did the inspiration to start a beauty channel on YouTube strike?

The idea of starting one has been there since I started consuming YouTube content regularly and seriously about four years ago. I love how fascinating the beauty space is! It’s constantly changing with so much of innovation and new products, alongside a supporting pool of content and reviews that are created around these items. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a good number of skills from watching numerous YouTube videos and have gotten many compliments from friends and family.

Along with those compliments came many suggestions to embark on the YouTube journey, but I just pushed them aside as I felt too conscious and shy (it’s the opposite of my extroverted personality, but trust me – it’s possible). As I’m currently halfway through my final year at SMU, I’ve been inspired to pursue a slew of #YOLO activities and hobbies! That’s when I decided I should start my YouTube channel – it was now or never.

2. How did your family and friends react to your new online venture?

I think my parents didn’t quite understand what it entailed to begin with, so their reactions were pretty muted. My mum has a better understanding because she sees me watching makeup tutorials all the time and she is one of my biggest supporters. As she got a better understanding, she was increasingly more excited for me. For my dad, this ground is just completely foreign territory. So during the little time I spent trying to explain what YouTubing was about, his constant question was “But why?”

As for my friends, I had thrown around a few ideas just to bounce back and forth, so they already knew I was considering starting it. When I posted my first video, they were completely excited because I had actually put myself out there and walked the talk. That was when they realized I was serious about my venture and they’ve been great content contributors since. I’m really thankful that everyone around me has been so supportive and encouraging!

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3. Tell us a little more about your beauty pageant experiences.

I was part of Miss Singapore India Worldwide 2013, along with 12 other finalists and was crowned with the main title, Miss Singapore India Worldwide 2013, along with sub-titles – Miss Talent, Miss Congeniality and Miss Gooday Radiance. I then had the opportunity to represent Singapore in the international finals, Miss India Worldwide, held in Kuala Lumpur, competing against contestants from 39 countries. While I did not place on the international stage, I returned home with a second Miss Congeniality title.

Both those experiences will be held dearly for a very long time to come because of the friendships I’ve made – friendships I still maintain to this day.  My main reason for joining the pageant was to have a look at an industry I admired from the outside. Hence, another takeway from the experience was all the work, planning and detail that goes behind the glamour. I also relished the opportunity to meet Indian girls from all over the world and to learn more about our similarities and differences in cultures.

4. What’s the biggest challenge that comes along with running a beauty channel on YouTube?

Quality. As a YouTube consumer myself, I can understand the frustration at sub-standard videos. But at the same time, I understand that not everyone has the capital to go out and get fabulous equipment – myself included. When I point to quality as a challenge, what I mainly struggle with is good lighting and optimal sound. I like to show what I do as it looks like in person and eliminate as much of the background noise as possible to create a more closed environment.

Another challenge would be creating content that is relevant for my viewers and hopefully doesn’t offend anyone’s tastes or preferences. I make it a point to always ask for feedback and incorporate comments into my next video. Doing this has helped me improve quite a bit so far already. Adopting a good flow and being able to deliver the content concisely and clearly is much harder than it seems so that is a challenge as well. Besides that, it’s very easy to step on toes these days and I always have some nerves before filming. That results in cutting out considerable footage because I worry that it might come across inaccurately.

aavishka-pink-black-collage
Images: Kannan Raja.

5. How does your beauty channel stand apart from loads of others on YouTube?

Yes, there’s lots of them out there, but I feel like most of them are outside of Singapore, possibly outside of Southeast Asia even. Out of those channels, the number of Indian beauty YouTubers are far less. Nevertheless, I think what’s great about the online beauty community is that there’s always space for newcomers and everyone has a different combination of style, skin tone, access to brands, entertainment value and experience.

On that note, every beauty YouTuber comes in with a different permutation, adding to the colour of the community. I think my main purpose of putting myself out there is to show that you don’t need to be formally trained to pull off good makeup. I hope to differentiate myself by sharing tips I’ve found along my journey that are relevant to darker women, incorporating products either found in Singapore or beyond ( in which case I would gladly share how I got my hands on them).

6. What’s the latest attention-deserving makeup trend?

The underrated trend in my opinion would be good skin. When we focus too much on makeup, we get so caught up with the many ways of hiding our skin issues when what we should actually be doing is to heal them. Both skincare and makeup need to go hand in hand to achieve that ideal youthful look that is so popular especially with the Korean beauty trends that are coming in.

makeup-flatlay

7. What’s one beauty product you simply can’t do without?

To be very honest, this changes from time to time, especially when I find new tricks that just win me over. But through all of my phases I think mascara is the one thing I’ve least often left my house without.

8. In your opinion, what’s the biggest makeup blunder made by most women?

Not listening to themselves. I see a lot of women who copy and paste steps and routines without making sense of whether it suits their skin type, features, style and personality. The discord on any one of those levels makes them look and feel less confident than they potentially could and that’s just a pity.

My advice to avoid this is to have a really good idea of the look you want to achieve, how much time and effort you’re willing to spend on it and how to translate advice and tutorials on the Internet to make it work for YOU. It takes some effort to figure it out, but not too much that it’s impossible. And trust me when I say it will be worth it.

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9. What’s the best skincare tip you have come across?

I can’t remember where I came across this phrase but I saw it once and it stuck – “If you spend 30 minutes putting on your makeup, you need to spend at least 30 minutes (if not more) taking it off.”

This tip essentially identifies skincare as being equally important as a beauty routine is. This one really hit me like a rock because prior to this, skincare was more of a functional routine. This tip pushed me to improve that aspect by trying out different types of brands and products to figure out what works for me. It’s been a really fun journey so far and I look forward to the day I’m as proficient in skincare as I think I am in makeup!

10. Most important makeup tip you’d like to offer all the other lovely brown girls out there?

Know yourself. Know what your pain points are and what you want your makeup to do for you and then you can start to find out how to achieve it. There is a lot of advice, help and tips on the Internet but none of it is worth anything unless you know how to make sense of it for your individual self. That’s what makes makeup such a fun journey because tips, products and trends are always changing and so are you. So enjoy the journey ahead!

Want to pick up some contouring and highlighting tips, ladies? Watch Aavishka’s latest video: How To | Contour & Highlight | Simple & Subtle below! 

Written by Uma Nathan

Full-time sub-editor. Part-time writer, copywriter, and editor all rolled into one. Photography, travel, food, reading and teaching take up whatever time remains.

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