Secret of being a successful blogger
Central Park: Is she a blogger? Is she a journalist? Is she an entrepreneur?
The Kolkata Literature Festival, in association with The Telegraph, saw Miss Malini hold forth on all aspects of her persona at a session at Central Park on Thursday.
Malini Agarwal, who started off with a celebrity blog and then a website in 2008 which now commands a reach of four million, is the founder and creative director of Miss Malini Entertainment that creates multi-platform content for India's Internet generation. So she is all of that.
"Blogging was unheard of in my initial days. My mother used to describe me to her friends as an 'internet blocker'! There was no independent voice to represent female millennials. That was the gap I came in to plug. I became their virtual friend, offering even one-on-one advice on fashion."
Speaking on her choice of subjects, Malini confessed she was always "unabashedly in love with Bollywood and fashion". "While teens in the West have role models like Hannah Montana, in India there is Chhota Bheem and then there is Amitabh Bachchan; nothing in between."
In conversation with novelist Sandip Ray, the author of To The Moon: How I blogged My Way to Bollywood shared tips on becoming a celebrity writer. "Build trust. That is how you gain access behind the velvet rope at Bollywood social dos. I give my readers a feel of how Bollywood parties are and not hunt for a juicy piece of gossip as many journalists do."
Malini's book also delves into how she honed her skill through failures. "I was working for radio then. My first celebrity interview was with Abhishek Bachchan. But I was so tense that I asked him stupid questions that made him so uncomfortable that he started eyeing the door. I was crushed. What I should have done is admit to him that I was nervous and start over."
She took the audience through the change in perception from the time when digital media would be treated as second-class citizens, behind electronic and print.