Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Seerat Saini is a blogger and intersectional feminist, famous for her Instagram feed and her TikTok account which unapologetically combine her American and Desi heritage. She is symbol of the new tidal wave of Desi influencers in the diaspora, a movement we very much support here at Pardesi. Her followers adore her passion for her culture and for using her influence to raise awareness of important social issues.
When we reached out to her in April about the prospect of doing an interview with us, she was eager to share her thoughts and was passionate about the mission of our platform.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Why you decided to celebrate your desi heritage on your platforms?
I am a blogger and passionate intersectional feminist! After graduating from USC, I moved to Silicon Valley where I currently work for Facebook. I love sharing my favorite fashion and makeup looks while representing the Punjabi-Sikh community through style, beauty, and advocacy. Celebrating my Desi heritage on my platform was never a conscious decision—it’s always been a part of who I am!
What is like being Punjabi-American? Did you face any struggles growing up/do you face any now?
I think that if you’re not a white or white passing person in America—it’s impossible to grow up without struggles. I had major identity issues growing up in Newport Beach and going to school with almost all white kids. I was insecure about being Indian from a very young age—to the point where I went by “Sara” from Kindergarden to 8th grade and never let my mom pack Punjabi food for lunch. I wanted to badly to fit in and have lighter skin and blonde hair like my peers (keep in mind this was also the beauty standard of the time, when the main icons were Britney Spears and Paris Hilton). I constantly felt like an outsider and encountered racism at school. When I was in middle school none of my crushes liked me back and in high school I was the only girl in my grade to attend senior prom without a date (since no one asked me).
What makes you feel connected to your roots?
So many big and little things! I can name a few:
Bollywood Dance Classes
Drinking my daily cha
Long talks with Mom on the phone
Our family trips to Delhi / Punjab
Do you have any advice for other young desi women?
I have a couple of little tidbits:
Be unapologetically yourself, which is easier said than done. But once you understand that almost every judgment, criticism, or mean comment is a *projection* of what that other person if feeling / thinking and has nothing to do with you, it becomes way easier.
Constantly be working every day to decolonize your mind and uplift women around you.
Remember you are a living Goddess!
If you could go back and tell your 12 year old self something, what would it be?
I think if I could go back, I wouldn’t. Everything painful or uncomfortable thing that’s happened up until this point has been a catalyst for growth. But if I had to, I would tell myself to not look externally for validation.
Who is your desi icon?
I’ve been pretty disappointed in the representation we have in America—although there are those trying but missing the mark. I love how Jamila Jamil identifies as an intersectional feminist and isn’t afraid to call out problematic practices.
Who are your favourite desi creators?
So many I don’t know where to start! I’ll just name a few:
@mirapatelll for her insane desi makeup looks
@the_zlist for her style
@jotykay for laughs
@mariathattil for good vibes and motivation
Do you have any other pieces of advice or anecdotes you would like to share?
I can share my favorite quote: “We are all the universe pretending to be individuals”.
It reminds me to be kind, non-judgmental, and forgiving—since we all are a part of the same larger light.
You can find Seerat Saini on the following platforms: