Prabhleen Kaur Bhomrah, India’s first skin positive influencer joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of it’s Influencer A-list series.

When asked what it means to be a skin positive influencer she said, “When I started I did not find anyone who was talking about skin positivity. Everyone was talking about body positivity and how you should embrace your body. I was dealing with so much acne, I am PCOS positive, it is hormonal acne so it pains a lot. It has been 3-4 years and when I came on this platform, I also thought that I would be this nice make-up influencer who would put nice filtered-pictures and stuff.

She continued, “But then when I started uploading pictures I was not different from anyone. I was just another influencer who was creating content that people have been on the platform. So, I was like, this is not the real me. Everyday to sit and edit those acne marks and everyday to blur out those imperfections, that was a task. And I was like, why do I do it? So, many people go through the same thing. I want to put out my real skin, I want to show them what my skin looks like because there are so many people who are going to feel relatable to it. So I think, being a skin positive influencer was to embrace the skin that you are in because nobody has perfect skin. It is just a myth that you have to have perfect, glowy skin.

When asked if she was ever scared to embrace her skin she said, “I was really scared. When I started off everything was glamorous. I was at an event where every influencer was on board and all of us met each other for the first time. I went there, they didn’t even greet me. The first thing they said was, oh my god! Look at your skin, your skin looks so clear in pictures. ‘Why does your skin have so much acne? You should go to a doctor’ and gave me recommendations. I was like, you have met me for the first time atleast greet me. Is this the first thing you see? I was so upset. I started crying at the event and I was like, this is something I don’t want to do.

When everyone puts filters it is normal. But when I started to put the real me it became viral. The content went crazy, there were so many people who were approaching me. There was so much love and so much motivation from the audience—‘this is what I am going through too, thankyou for inspiring me’—and that is what I am here for. I was so scared when I started it but now I am in such a good place, I know that this is what my page is about. This is what I want it to be like this. I want it to be me.

Contemplating that if she did not put out her real self, she would not have been where she is today she said, “I think that’s what has happened to me. There are many influencers who can show something where in real life that might not be true. But that was not working out for me. I don’t want any of my followers to meet me and say the same thing that those influencers told me. I want them to meet me and say, okay this how she is on camera and this is how she is in real life. I wanted my niche to be raw and real.

When asked how influencers can draw the fine line between objectification and empowerment she said, “I think it is all in your head. When it is about me, I got so much hate straight up saying you’re so ugly, get off the internet, stop posting pictures, we don’t want to see your content. I would get such hate comments. I drew the line where I felt that this is not going to add anything to me or to my followers. This is not going to add any value there. The huge amount of following that I have here, everyone is here just to see my journey, to see me being myself. That’s why we have that. That’s why we have that connection, I have a bond with my audience because of that. That brings authenticity because that’s what the audience wants. They want someone to be relatable, that is like them. Everyone is glorious and glamorous on the internet. But there was no one who was unfiltered back then and I think that is where I stepped in and that’s how all of this has happened, for me at least.

While talking about her experience of being objectified she said, “Firstly, people don’t understand what content creation is, they’ll say oh she is doing it for the fun, she doesn’t know what she is uploading, look how fat she is, look how much acne she has, look how much makeup she is putting, don’t put makeup. Everyone just likes to pass comments but for the one who is doing it, it takes so much effort. I used to have so much acne on my face. And with that kind of acne there is puss on your face. And it was so painful, I had to apply makeup, I had to remove it with a wet wipe. It was so painful and shoot and upload the content and then also to get hate for it.

She continued, “There were also relatives who used to say negative things about me and I would just block them. I don’t want this hate. I want everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin.

When asked about the turning point where she abandoned the negativity and did what she wanted to she replied, “That was when my first picture with acne went viral. When that picture went viral, everyone just bombarded my DMs with comments of love and appreciation from audience all over the world. I was amazed to know that there are so many who feel the same way but they don’t have a voice. That’s why I was like those 5-6 relatives who pass comments don’t matter because I don’t even meet them once a year. So why to bother? It took a lot of time to explain this to my parents that I am being a voice for so many people so you also need to understand that and support me. And they have supported me so I am very grateful for it.

Last but not the least she explained what influencing means to her. She said, “I think influencing for me is having an audience that feels that is connected to you and actually gets motivated by what you put out on camera. Whatever you put out on social media, if you are actually bringing change in someone’s life or motivating them, that is when you are actually being an influencer. Otherwise, putting up make, doing all of that is great. People actually look up to it. But you need to make a change and I wanted to be an influencer who brought change in someone’s life. And I am happy that I am able to do it every single day of my life.”