Tanvi Shah Podcast TranscriptListen to episode here
Tanvi Shah: [00:00:00] I get misjudged and misunderstood so frequently. The experience and opinion you had of me is probably what 90 percent of people have before they meet me.
Amardeep Parmar: Well, I was kind of scared of you at the time.
Tanvi Shah: I’m not always serious all the time, but I'm also not a joker all the time, and they are both different extensions of my personality. But ultimately, I would much rather be known for
Tanvi Shah: the educational, informative, valuable content than the stuff that goes viral. You have to just back yourself and think, well, I'm going to do it with full force and be the best version of myself. Yeah, I definitely want to be a pave maker for other South Asian women. I really believe you can achieve anything you want.
Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ podcast, where we inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. Today we have with us Tanvi, who's a content creator, presenter, and athlete. How are you doing today, Tanvi?
Tanvi Shah: I'm good, thank you. Thanks for having me. How are you?
Amardeep Parmar: I'm good, I'm good. But let's get started with, when [00:01:00] you were growing up, you were instilled in quite a big sense of belief.
Amardeep Parmar: We've talked about this, right? Where did that come from? Like, why did you believe in yourself when you were growing up so much?
Tanvi Shah:I think my upbringing definitely played such a major part in self belief and confidence. My parents have always been really supportive with both my brother and I of anything we've wanted to do.
Tanvi Shah: They would facilitate the opportunities in the best way possible and we'd try everything. So don't get me wrong, there were definitely things that I did when I was a kid I was not good at. But it was having the confidence to at least try. We were encouraged to do everything. And because of that I've then built the confidence to do the things that I do enjoy and I am good at.
Tanvi Shah: So definitely my upbringing. And I think the schools I went to played a huge part in that because I was very privileged to be able to go to private schools from a very young age. And I think being in that environment, around those types of people who are all overachievers, really intelligent, come often from really high net [00:02:00] worth backgrounds, which I wasn't.
Tanvi Shah: It pushes you to dream and aspire to be like that one day. So you really do kind of back yourself because you're in a room with all these people that you can achieve that too. So I definitely got incredible opportunities from the schools I went to as well that really shaped me into the woman I am today.
Amardeep Parmar: So obviously you initially went down the corporate route, right?
Tanvi Shah: Yes.
Amardeep Parmar: Was that something which you aspired to when you were younger, or did you have this idea that maybe you'd go and strike out on your own one day?
Tanvi Shah: No, I had a very set and narrow path. I actually didn't think anything else was out there.
Tanvi Shah: You kind of get told from a young age, especially as South Asians, You're either a dentist, a doctor, a lawyer, finance engineer. That's basically it. So I kind of dabbled into law a bit growing up. I did work experience at a few law firms. I still think I would make a really good lawyer because I can hold a debate.
Tanvi Shah: But, um, I've really quickly realized that law wasn't for me. So I went down the finance route. I loved economics at A levels, did economics at [00:03:00] university. And when you do econ at uni, pretty much from first year, you're told about spring weeks and secondly there’s internships then you get the grad schemes so
Tanvi Shah: I was really focused on all of that and secured two internships in second year, converted them to grad schemes, and I just didn't really look beyond that. So, my sort of career and life was set for me from first year of uni, essentially.
Amardeep Parmar: So I did economics as well, and it's quite interesting how many people have done economics who have come on the show so far.
Amardeep Parmar: And it's interesting, because economics doesn't actually necessarily teach you about starting your own business.
Tanvi Shah: No, not at all.
Amardeep Parmar: It gives you the fundamentals and the ideas that you can then later use.. And I think I had a different experience in some ways, because... I guess I was kind of naive, like I didn't really look into spring weeks.
Amardeep Parmar: I knew, like, I would probably end up doing banking or something like that. But I think I underestimated, because I didn't have the people around me who'd done that before. To tell me about, oh, you need to apply to Swingbricks, oh, you need to do an internship. And I took it for granted, I think.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah, definitely.
Tanvi Shah: I think I was so lucky with the people I surrounded myself with at university. Like, doing an economics degree, I played netball for the Economic [00:04:00] Society. And I suppose when your friends are all kind of doing applications, doing the tests, interviews. You're almost spurred on to do it as well. So we all kind of did it together.
Tanvi Shah: I found it quite an enjoyable experience. I know it can be quite stressful. But, yeah, I think I really enjoyed it. And it was something I didn't want to, like, not take seriously. I wanted to make sure, especially because I'd had such a privileged education, I didn't want it to go to waste. And everything I did was almost to make my parents proud.
Tanvi Shah: So I really was so determined to come out with a successful job within banking and finance. Which I did, so I'm really grateful.
Amardeep Parmar: Did you find when you did the internships that you enjoyed what you're doing as well? So did you find that enjoyment in that early stage and then you went into it? Or is it more just the idea that this is the career I should go into because it's the next natural stage?
Tanvi Shah: I think at the time I'd almost convinced myself that I was loving this corporate life, you know, living my best city girl. Going into London every day and then having socials and just the whole idea of the corporate world was so [00:05:00] romanticized to me. So in that moment, I'd almost lost myself and what I actually enjoyed.
Tanvi Shah: And also because it's all you know, and all you've been taught and everyone else around you is doing, you just think, right, this is it. This is where I'm meant to be. And this is where I'm going to be for another 20 years. And only having removed myself from that bubble, have I seen maybe in hindsight, maybe I didn't love it and maybe I loved the idea of it and what it looked like on the outside and reputationally my mum being able to say oh yeah like my daughter's ACA qualified.
Tanvi Shah: I don't know, I think there's so many different factors but definitely having removed myself from it I can see how I probably did lose myself.
Amardeep Parmar: It was about a month ago that I went to this like big four event and so for me it's been like nearly a year and a half since I left corporate world and it was so strange.
Amardeep Parmar: Because like you said, it's a bubble, and I was in that bubble myself. And where I was striving towards promotions, I was thinking about like what's the next step, all these kind of things. And being out of it for this year and a half, I've completely forgotten about it. And it's an interesting thing of where, I don't know if you found this work, it's so tied up in your identity, right?
Amardeep Parmar: I am [00:06:00] like a banker, I'm a consultant, I am this. And then some people don't want to leave because they say, oh, but what am I without this? Especially when it's like your status and your self worth in some ways comes from your job.
Tanvi Shah: I agree. I think we spend so much time on our job, it can define you. It's a part of your identity.
Tanvi Shah: And even with myself being a consultant in banking and finance, I love, I thought it was such a flex. I was like, yeah, this is what I want to tell people when I go to events. And even now, even when I say what I currently do, I almost feel like I have to preface what I say, but I, but I used to be a financial consultant, just to justify that, you know, I have something more to me, or I do have brains, which is so sad, because what I do now, I probably challenge myself in so many more ways, and actually, having said that, it's interesting you said that as part of your identity, I struggled for a while to even take the idea of leaving the corporate world seriously, because I thought that that's why people followed me and it was such a strong part of my [00:07:00] identity that if I left, would people automatically not find me relatable or would people not respect me or my career as much.
Tanvi Shah: Um, and that was such a scary thought for me.
Amardeep Parmar: So I have the same thing, especially when it was mainly the writing, the focus of what I was doing, because I feel like if I introduce myself as a writer, people are like, Oh, okay, that's nice. Yeah. Great. Cool story. Yeah.
Tanvi Shah: Right. What's your real job?
Amardeep Parmar: Exactly. I was like, Oh, but you do that.
Amardeep Parmar: Oh, like, and the question I always get, especially in the early days was so. Oh, but how do you make money doing that? Right. Is, people have this idea that I just kind of went a bit crazy and quit my job for it. It's obviously that wasn't the case and there is like strategy behind it. And like I come from that consulting world where I know what I'm doing, but it's just funny how people perceive it initial, even at that, like events I've been to people like, Oh, so how do you like make money?
Amardeep Parmar: It's like, I'm clearly not just starving. So there's obviously something behind it, but it's weird that people make that judgment of like, Oh, okay. You're a content creator. Oh, okay. So like, are you okay? Kind of thing.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah, I think. I believe that any industry can be monetized and any passion or hobby can be monetized.
Tanvi Shah: I think [00:08:00] the education around financial awareness in this whole social media space and how lucrative that industry can be is getting better and I think people are getting increasingly aware... But at the same time, even I was one of those people that was like, I can't do social media as my full time job because it won't be financially stable.
Tanvi Shah: How wrong I was.
Amardeep Parmar: But when you started as well, you didn't start necessarily for the money, right? No. Where did the initial page come from? Did you have, I guess, even before you kind of consider yourself a content creator, did you have a decent following already or where did it? Those early days that transitioned from just posting you and your friends and stuff to creating content.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah, I think, well just to put some stats out there, when I left university I probably had about four to five thousand followers on Instagram, which for an average user is quite a lot. But that was just through my network of doing so much within my degree, extracurricular, social life, and you know me personally anyway, I'm such a social butterfly, so I loved meeting new people and that's kind of where that [00:09:00] came from.
Tanvi Shah: But it was only ever my holidays, my food, my fashion, very normal things. It wasn't really until Lockdown where I was obviously working in banking and finance. I just qualified. So I've done my 15 exams as a chartered accountant and we were all forced to work from home. So I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands and I started creating more value ad content.
Tanvi Shah: So around my career, just talking very truthfully and creating very raw and honest content about my highs and my lows, um, across all the different things I was doing at the time and I think very quickly my platforms doubled in size and that's when I knew people are listening to what I'm saying and people are learning or they're finding my content entertaining and I just kept doing it and I did it consistently and here we are.
Amardeep Parmar: So the funny thing is, and we talked about this and I was honest with you how, when I initially learned about you, I had this misconception where I knew about some of the like viral rules you've done, which is more like red flags or [00:10:00] something like that to do with dating. And it's that frustrating thing for like many content creators is people often know you for maybe the more controversial stuff, the more viral stuff, rather than all the stuff you're doing to add value.
Amardeep Parmar: And like I even said to like, I was almost hesitant when I first met you because I was worried about like how you'd be in person. I was not scared. I was kind of scared. I was like, okay, if I say anything wrong here..
Tanvi Shah: Is she going to like end up on a Tiktok?
Amardeep Parmar: I am gonna end on Tiktok. I can be really careful. Like you're just being friendly.
Amardeep Parmar: You're not trying to like hit on her or anything like that. Like, and I was like, I was honestly like, okay, it needs to be careful about how I word things. Don't seem like I'm being too friendly or anything like that. And it's obviously, because I didn't necessarily look at all your content. I just knew about your reputation from some of the bigger things that have gone viral and like, as we talked about, you don't want to be known for that stuff necessarily.
Amardeep Parmar: And how's that transition been for you in some ways of trying to, obviously you're doing the stuff that you just did for fun, but then you're doing the other stuff that you find more like serious and that really matters to you. How do you balance that? Because obviously a lot of people do the same thing.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah, it's such an interesting balance to strike between the [00:11:00] funny, lighthearted, short form content, for example, what I do on TikTok, doing really well, reaching hundreds of thousands, if not millions, versus how am I actually adding value and benefiting people on a more serious way or educational way. And the way I kind of view it is that I'm not always serious all the time, but I'm also not a joker all the time.
Tanvi Shah: And they are both different extensions of my personality. And it's one of those things that's very, that women can be multifaceted. So I try and maintain a balance between all of those things. But ultimately I would much rather be known for the educational, informative, valuable content than the stuff that goes viral.
Tanvi Shah: I spoke to you about this before, but I'm really conscious about going viral. I'd rather not and be known for the wrong reasons. I don't want to build an audience and gain tens and hundreds of thousands of followers overnight for the wrong reasons that don't align with my brand, my target market, that aren't going to benefit from 90 percent of my content.
Tanvi Shah: So [00:12:00] I've placed much more emphasis on the things that mean more to me, especially over the recent months. And it's been quite a natural transition, and nothing I ever do is not in line with me and what I believe in. But definitely as it's become my full time job, I've had to place more emphasis on that side of things.
Amardeep Parmar: Have you ever had similar experiences in the past where people haveco me to you and said this or where you feel like almost as a barrier there because some people have seen some of that content and maybe they don't treat you in a certain way.
Tanvi Shah: All the time. I think me personally, I feel like I get judged, misjudged and misunderstood.
Tanvi Shah: So frequently, the experience and opinion you had of me is probably what 90 percent of people have before they meet me. They either have doubts, or they think I'm a bitch, or they think I, you know, I'm just using experiences for clout and just trying to create that form of content. And the immediate response as soon as anyone meets me is, oh, you're actually very genuine, you're very intelligent, you're a very nice person.
Tanvi Shah: I think it's something I've become numb to. But [00:13:00] definitely it's something that people do all the time. And I wish I could try and rate like wave that flag. Please do not judge influencers. Please do not judge content creators. You know, there's so much more than meets the eye. And I wish I could emphasize that, but ultimately sometimes people have made their decisions already and I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince
Tanvi Shah: their opinions. But no, it happens all the time. And it's one of those things that at least people who do follow me, follow me for the right reasons.
Amardeep Parmar: Because remember, I co hosted that event with you as well, right? So obviously by the sides we already liked you. Don't worry.
Tanvi Shah: But like you met me like later to talk about, yes.
Amardeep Parmar: I already liked you by then, but what, what I really liked as was as we were going ground, so everybody was stopping.
Amardeep Parmar: Like me and you walking around, obviously everybody was stopping to talk to you, . Um, but then you are being like very nice. Like I could see that you didn't know them obviously, but they were coming up to talk to you and the way you treated them. To me, that's one of the things that like made you made me like you even more because it was so genuine you're actually caring you that's the stuff that sometimes people don't see because i got to see that because i was walking around and i could see how you're treating different people because even [00:14:00] sometimes and like i went to an influencer event last week so my first one and i was quite worried like how would people act right because sometimes you think oh people are nice to other people if they've done stuff as well, they're on a certain level or whatever, like people have an Instagram following which are, Oh, can we be nice to you or not nice to you?
Amardeep Parmar: And that's one of the things that I was worried about myself because obviously my own following is on an American platform that a lot of people don't even know about. It's like, Oh, I might look at my Instagram following and then like, just stop talking,
Tanvi Shah: You’re judged for it. Yeah
Amardeep Parmar:And. Have you found that experience of, like, even in this world, right, because obviously, like, we talked about it before and you said, like, how even a lot of the people you've met, they're so much more genuine than you may be expected as well.
Tanvi Shah: I just believe that everyone is a human being and followers is just a number that does not define you. It doesn't make you above anyone else. So for me, I think it's so important to stay grounded and humble and the reason why people follow me is because I am so real. I would never want to lose that part of me.
Tanvi Shah: I would never want to not be a nice person because that is the way I've been brought up. And everyone else [00:15:00] actually, you have to remember, are in the same boat too. So again, when I started going to influencer events, very similar to you, I was really scared. I was like, there are massive influencers here with hundreds and thousands of followers.
Tanvi Shah: Like they're not even going to give me the time of day and people who you almost idolize at some point. But actually everyone's a normal person. And 90 percent of the experiences I've had with content creators in this space has been really, really positive. So I think it's one of those things that people
Tanvi Shah: when they have a social presence, it can, you can forget that they're just normal, real people who are like, have nice personalities and warm hearts. And we see so much of the negativity online that you almost forget that everyone is just normal. So I would never want to lose that about myself and followers mean nothing.
Tanvi Shah: Like they could be gone overnight. Yeah.
Amardeep Parmar: I think that experience as well. ‘Cause obviously with the other podcasts, I'm interviewing these people. Billionaires that have hundreds of millions and the way they act is like so much nicer than you'd expect. So it's obviously like, it's very difficult to get them on the call in the first place, but once they're there, they give you the [00:16:00] time of day.
Amardeep Parmar: They want to know what I'm up to. Whereas I always consider like, who am I? Like you, you're worth however much, but what you realize is that people actually rise to the top. Oh, that's actual nice people.
Tanvi Shah: And I think this whole space, well, actually any industry for that matter is a relationship built industry, you will get nowhere if you are not a nice person because people remember you for the wrong reasons and Networking, as people say, your network is your net worth, so networking and being known to be a nice person, respectful, responsive, is so important, you, you, I just think it's important in any industry, so, as you said, even the most successful people are nice, and that's because they are able to get to where they are from itilizing that network.
Amardeep Parmar: Obviously since you've been in this world now, right? You're not just a content creator, you're doing other stuff too. And what was like the first thing you did that kind of transitioned you from just pure content creation, pure social media to these other areas too?
Tanvi Shah: I think the pinpoint moment for me was when the BBC offered me my [00:17:00] own radio show.
Tanvi Shah: So I was on the BBC Asian network. I still am occasionally and that for me was, I'm not just someone on Instagram or TikTok anymore. I'm on the BBC. It's like, it's a big deal. So I think that then opened the doors for so many more opportunities, whether it be presenting, radio, TV, hosting events, panel events.
Tanvi Shah: And I found my inner voice. I used to be terrified of public speaking. I would not be able to be even on this podcast if it was this time, maybe two years ago. But with that practice, I built confidence in that space. And now I actually love more than anything talking, um, panel events and podcasts. They just bring me so much joy because I'm so passionate about it and I've learned how to deliver my message of what I'm passionate about in that way.
Tanvi Shah: So yeah, definitely that BBC radio show was a pinnacle moment for me, I think.
Amardeep Parmar: And when you'd got that email come through, have [00:18:00] they contacted you? Did you have any doubts about it? Because obviously it's that next step up. It's a bit out of your comfort zone. How did you go into that? Like, how did you approach it?
Amardeep Parmar: How did you think about like, okay, I've got this big opportunity. How am I going to make most of it?
Tanvi Shah: I think I am someone who is very innately, like any opportunity I get, I take straight head on. I will give it a hundred percent my best shot Um, I suffer with imposter syndrome like most people do but I'm also very good at faking it till you make it. So even when that initial email came through it was actually from the head of the station himself. He wanted to offer me my own show and I'm sat there thinking why on earth does this guy want me on the, on the radio?
Tanvi Shah: Like what have I got to offer but then you kind of have to just back yourself and think well he's written to me for a reason. He obviously sees something in me. So if I do it, I'm going to do it with full force and be the best version of myself. And that's what I did. And I think I'm like that in a lot of different scenarios.
Tanvi Shah: And I definitely think that just jumping into things deep end, it [00:19:00] has helped me so much and to get to where I am now.
Amardeep Parmar: I think also one of the things that people don't realize about this industry as well. If somebody doesn't have imposter syndrome, that's where I'm more worried about them because then you can start to get delusional, right?
Amardeep Parmar: It's good to have a bit of imposter syndrome and overcome it then to just go and think, Oh yeah, I'm going to be amazing. Everybody's going to love me. I deserve this. Whereas you think, okay, like, do I deserve this or am I not deserving this? Then you'll start thinking about how can I make sure I add value to people?
Tanvi Shah: Exactly. I don't think I've ever thought like I'm the best. This is great. I should be here. No, I don't think I've ever thought that because I can always be better and I can always do more. Yeah. I'm always trying to be grateful for even the reason why I'm there in the first place.
Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. I think imposter syndrome gives you that humility, which you need because as soon as you,
Amardeep Parmar: and I've seen people, this happens to other people in the past, right? With writers, with YouTubers, or people like that, they get so big in their heads that they then stop being relatable.
Tanvi Shah: Exactly.
Amardeep Parmar: And they lose their audience because now they're like feeding off their own hype. And people on the outside can see that, but sometimes they're the last person to see it.
Amardeep Parmar: And I think that's also where like [00:20:00] friends comes into it so much. With your friends around you can say like, okay, look, you're getting a bit like this, and I'm not sure if you're aware of this, how it might come across. It's obviously, you don't just like say like, oh, you're acting like an idiot. Something like that.
Amardeep Parmar: You can do it in a nice way. But I think that's really important too. And I think you've mentioned it before about how with like the online friends versus the real friends in the past and stuff like that and how you balance it out. Like how do you find that medium? Because I try to keep in touch with my real friends, my friends from like back home, things like that, who may be doing something completely different because it stops me from just always talking about content creation.
Tanvi Shah: It's definitely a struggle to find a balance between online friends who you've made through the industry and your home friends who are completely offline. I definitely have found that growing my platforms and now doing it full time, I've almost become unrelatable to some people who've known me for longer.
Tanvi Shah: But at the same time, I do thoroughly believe that your real friends and your true friends will support you [00:21:00] in no matter what you do. And I was finding that some people weren't. And I almost had to accept that you do outgrow friendships and you might no longer have things in common with people, and that's okay.
Tanvi Shah: And I'm kind of entering a new phase of my life where I'm very fortunate that I have made loads of new friends who do completely support and understand what I'm going through and I believe are way more appropriate friendships to have at this stage. So I think letting go of old friends has actually been really important for my development because sometimes, and there's that phrase where if you come from the same place, but then you end up being on completely different levels.
Tanvi Shah: People just can't relate and they're not fundamentally happy for you. And I didn't need people like that in my life. So yeah, I think I've had to accept I've outgrown friendship and also very fortunate that throughout lockdown, I made loads of online friends who are now in person and offline friends too, because we've been able to meet up.
Tanvi Shah: We've been able to collaborate. We've been able to do things, not even for content, just genuine friendships. And [00:22:00] I have a lot of those two who we have in common as well. So very grateful for them.
Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. So for example, like the co founder of this, Gurvir and his wife, uh, Ranvir. I was thinking there. Did I get it wrong?
Tanvi Shah: He just forgot her name. Ran, if you see this.
Amardeep Parmar: Okay. So, but with her, right. So that's, so I think, no, we knew each other before that as well, but this can become a small world sometimes. Right. Because. I think probably most Asians in the London, I probably have like maybe one or two degrees separation from most of them, just because like, I know you, you know, people, I know this person, they know people and that makes the world a lot smaller, which is like really nice as well because a lot of people like they'll vouch for each other.
Amardeep Parmar: Right. And I mean that’s so important, sometimes what’s happening is that
Amardeep Parmar: If I like her as a person, then when an opportunity comes up, I'm going to recommend you for it. It doesn't need to benefit me in any way.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah, I think people don't realize how small the bubble is and South Asians in particular need to be better at supporting one another. There's so many [00:23:00] times in this community I have been knocked down by my own, whether it's brands trying to massively undercut content creators or other creators putting other influencers down.
Tanvi Shah: It happens so often. I don't know whether it's a case of underlying jealousy or the way that we have been brought up to constantly compete with one another. But I definitely can also feel a whole new wave of content creators who are collaborating and who do support each other. And being on that side of history is so much more important.
Tanvi Shah: And I've seen that firsthand. I wouldn't want it any other way because me, myself, and a lot of my creator friends, we support each other beyond what you see online. And not only is it beneficial online, but it's just so much more rewarding and satisfying offline to know that we're all uplifting one, one another, um, and yeah, it's a great feeling.
Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And like looking at that as well, where it's the whole point of what we're doing here, [00:24:00] right. Is that we're not competing with each other. It's like the ship, like the rising tide lifts all ships because if you're doing well, for example, and that opens up doors for other Asians to get into that industry as well.
Amardeep Parmar: And I think before a lot of it came from this idea, especially in the olden days where it was like, there's only a space for like one brown face in the bookshelf and bookshops wouldn't take more than that. Or let's say it's a campaign. You'd have one brown face, a token brown face. Whereas now you can have multiple and that's shifting over time now and it's people opening up the doors.
Amardeep Parmar: And I think one of the really important things is that if you do go through a door, you break the glass ceiling, it's them pulling other people up with you.
Tanvi Shah:I agree. Yeah.
Amardeep Parmar: And sometimes people haven't done that in the past. And that's the kind of attitude you want to change as well.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah. I definitely want to be a pave maker for other South Asian women younger than me, older than me who want to do something similar to what I've done.
Tanvi Shah: And it's exactly what you've said, where it's not a competition. There is now space for everyone. We are all like, we're all completely different individuals and our personality, our face, our name makes us different, even if we're [00:25:00] doing the exact same type of content and the exact same niche, we're still different.
Tanvi Shah: So I would love to be that pave maker that, like you said, breaks the ceiling for myself so that 10 others can come through with me. So yeah, I think wish we are moving in that direction, but I also do you think brands still have a long way to go because often brands will have a token brown person and that is it.
Tanvi Shah: So I'm part of that change and I'm proud to be, and hopefully this time in five, 10 years, it's a completely different conversation.
Amardeep Parmar: So talk about brands as well. You've got the sports brand as well. Can you talk about about that. We've done that.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah. So I released a gym wear line in partnership with a brand called XRT.
Tanvi Shah: I've been working with them for a couple of years because fitness and sports has always been at the heart of what I do. And they approached me over the summer to work with them again, but instead I just decided to pitch my own idea, which was actually, I wanna bring out a Tanvi
Tanvi Shah: line and actually have a partnership with them rather than just creating content for them. [00:26:00] I didn't want to just design the clothes and release it and make some money. I wanted the whole line to stand for so much more than just nice gym wear. So it was really important to me that the line incorporated lots of different South Asian women, different shapes, different sizes, different backgrounds.
Tanvi Shah: I wanted it just to be a marker for, you know, the lack of representation of South Asian women in sports and to show that we need more diversity, the importance of exercise, and brown women can play sports too. So, yeah, I mean, growing up I played sports at such high levels. I played hockey for South of England.
Tanvi Shah: I played county netball. I played university lacrosse for the first team. And I was only, the only brown woman on those teams. So I just really, really want to encourage more brown women to get into sports, no matter how old you are. It's never too late. So that is kind of what the Gymwear line represents.
Tanvi Shah: And it's definitely been a highlight in my career so
Amardeep Parmar: far. So we'll talk a bit more about sports in a second, but where the actual line, like what was the motivation behind you pitching that, was it to do [00:27:00] the representation was also in terms of like the next steps in your career, you've said you've done a presenting, you've been on the radio but for like many entrepreneurs and things like that, doing your own products.
Amardeep Parmar: Is a really big step because when it's content, there's always a risk. You never know algorithms can turn against you, was when she started creating her own products and that line, then that helps you get to that next phase where it's a different type of business, right? And it gives you that more security.
Tanvi Shah: Yes. And no, I think for me, I'd worked hard enough for the last couple of years to build a platform that was thoroughly engaged, that stood with my values and I believe trusted me and I had the credibility and I was also at this pinpoint moment where I was deciding whether to leave my corporate job or not and it was making those decisions that would allow me to make income sustainably and look ahead rather than just a one off decision
Tanvi Shah: Brand campaign. So it was kind of having those discussions around that time where how can this actually be something a bit more long standing than just a one off. So that definitely played a part in it. [00:28:00] And then I felt like because I'd built my platforms to such size, I had more of an impact and more of a reach.
Tanvi Shah: So having a message like the one I did behind the gym wear would also be more impactful than maybe last year when I didn't have as big of a following. So a lot of different factors came into it. But I think the main kind of, the ultimate decision came down to the fact that it wasn't me releasing my own product and having to do the end to end design, manufacturing, wholesale, any of that.
Tanvi Shah: It was them taking on and bearing the full risk because they already exist, they already are in production. It was me using my worth and my brand and almost sticking it on that and helping in the bits which I found value and important in. So ultimately they had the risk and I got to really make my mark in the fitness space without bearing any risk and reaping the rewards at the same time.
Amardeep Parmar: Looking at sport itself. So as you said, you've done different sports throughout your life. And how big of an impact has that had on, like, where you are [00:29:00] today as well, and your mindset? I
Tanvi Shah: thoroughly believe that sports is the main reason why I am successful today. And I could talk about why athletes make the best entrepreneurs for days, but I just believe the benefits from sports in terms of transferable skills,
Tanvi Shah: my mental health, my physical health are unmatched with anything I've ever done. It's been the one thing that has been consistent in my life since the age of four, till now. And even going through things like my ACL injuries and surgeries on both knees has taught me so much mentally in terms of resilience.
Tanvi Shah: Um, learning to work with different people in your team, learning to be a leader, as a captain. Just being organized and committed. I was at uni playing sports eight to ten times a week, and doing that on your own just requires so much self discipline. So, sports has just been such an important part of my life, and that is why I want to encourage young girls to get involved as soon as they can.
Amardeep Parmar: And [00:30:00] what do you think stops young girls from getting involved?
Tanvi Shah: I think it's a combination of, it's not encouraged by their families, especially in South Asians. I don't think they see the value in it. And even my parents, to an extent, encouraged me massively, but academics always came first. So things like sports
Tanvi Shah: come secondary, and maybe it's an internal thing where they just don't see other girls that look like them in the England netball squads, or in England hockey. So they just don't think it's anything that's achievable for them, so why bother trying? And that's really sad to me because there's so much work that needs to be done, but it's, it's nothing to do with genetics, and it's nothing to do with your diet in that sense.
Tanvi Shah: Like, I think people are so quick to judge South Asians like, they're just not as good, or they're just built differently. But if anyone trained as hard as one another, I'm sure we'd be seeing a lot more brown people in mainstream sports. And that needs to change.
Amardeep Parmar: Even with this, right, we want to do, we're not doing five side football.
Amardeep Parmar: Well, like something like that, just get people together in a more casual environment. But then [00:31:00] looking at inclusivity, it's like, we worry that even if we set some mixed teams for the five side, you'd have less women coming forward to play. And like, how do we get people involved? Just even at that, like just having a fun aspect, right?
Amardeep Parmar: It doesn't need to be like, to like get to the top levels. And it's like, how do we change that mindset where people can just go and play sport for fun, whatever sport it might be.
Tanvi Shah: Ithink it's having those pillars and those people, like myself, encouraging other women to get involved. My netball team that I currently play for now, we're all women of color, and I love it.
Tanvi Shah: And it's like building that community. It's a social thing as well. Like people can make friends and it's fun and it's a good way to do exercise. And I do think we are as a generation becoming more aware of the benefits of sports and exercise, but I agree. I think we still need to push for people to really get involved.
Tanvi Shah: And I think it takes people like me building those communities and creating those leagues or those networks that encourage that.
Amardeep Parmar: We’re thinking about, for example, where you've got these events which are very like highbrow, right? And that [00:32:00] kind of excludes people too. So we're trying to work out these different levels and getting a wider group of people involved who might not feel comfortable going to the fancy like events where everyone has to wear a tux and stuff like that, which some of these awards ceremonies are like that, right?
Amardeep Parmar: Where some people be like, Oh, I can't go to that. Like I'm not big a deal enough. So like, how do you get, like, it's trying to work out. It's also just putting people in the situation where you can just network in a casual manner without needing to be so pressure driven, right? And playing football or playing netball or something like that, you get to meet people, right?
Amardeep Parmar: Like I'm sure there's people you've met through your netball team who then become great friends and like you've collaborated together, or we've like learned things from them as well, but you haven't met for the purpose of using them in some way. It's just a natural friendship that has then blossomed into other ways.
Tanvi Shah: Yeah. I think when you just have a common interest with someone, like you enjoy playing sports, you click and then you learn more about anyone and you never know, you know, where they work, how successful they are, who they know, who they can introduce you to in the future. It's just all about building that network.
Tanvi Shah: And I think sports is a great way to do it.
Amardeep Parmar: And we even know, for example, that I think it [00:33:00] was said by the BBC a couple of weeks ago, right, where 22 percent of millennials say they have no friends or no close friends. And that's a really sad statistic.
Tanvi Shah: Really sad. That's really high.
Amardeep Parmar: And the crazy thing is because we only ever see people who are popular, they're the people who post online all the time.
Amardeep Parmar: And there is this whole like group of people who feel like they don't. Connect with people. And he's trying to bring them in as well. Like, how do you include them? And sports is one way, but again, sports isn't always inclusive. Sometimes people feel like they can't do that. So it's like trying to get that variety of events and variety of touch points to be like, yeah, like you're a part of us too.
Amardeep Parmar: You can come in here. And even for example, the events we host, right. The British Asian entrepreneurs, but if you're not British Asian, you can still come. We're not going to be like, Nope, sorry. You don't like match the color chart. You're not allowed in. And it's trying to open that space up for people. And with your own audience, for example, like you've done a really good job of this, right?
Amardeep Parmar: Where you've got the highly engaged audience where you haven't necessarily got the hundreds of thousands of followers, a million followers, but you've got really high engagement from your followers. And [00:34:00] how did you cultivate that? How did you get people to connect with you in that way?
Tanvi Shah: That's such a hard question to answer, I believe and anyone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it's because I create content that is just real and it's just relatable.
Tanvi Shah: It's things that we all go through. I share my highs. I share when I'm feeling sad and I'm on my period or I'm overworking and I'm burnt out. And those are the everyday things that everyone can relate to and I think that is what has driven my really authentic voice online and that's why people can relate to me and that's why people are really engaged because I open those conversations up.
Tanvi Shah: I'm really responsive in my DMs and email and I love having a personal relationship with my audience because I love being there to help people.
Amardeep Parmar: Part of the things you've talked about as well is about opening the door for other women and supporting other women. And one of the things I learned recently, and it's like from a venture capitalist, right?
Amardeep Parmar: It's about how [00:35:00] women are often asked questions to defend their dreams, right? About like, okay, so how are you going to get to that place? Or why are you going to do this? Or why are you doing it this way? Whereas men tend to get asked the questions of what are your dreams? Like, where do you want to go to?
Amardeep Parmar: Where do you believe you can go to? And it's one of the things I need to make sure I'm very conscious of as well in this podcast is making sure that I'm asking you those questions. Like, what are your dreams? Where do you want to get to? Like, where do you believe, like, you can truly make an impact?
Tanvi Shah: I mean, I believe I want to be doing exactly what I am doing, just on a global scale.
Tanvi Shah: I think it's something that won't happen overnight, and it will happen in various forms, whether it's social media, broadcasting, TV, radio, books, podcasts, merchandise, whatever it is. It's the core of what I'm trying to do is have an impact on women, women of color, the younger generation, standing for racial and gender equality.
Tanvi Shah: And if I am doing that through different mediums, then that to me is success. x
Amardeep Parmar: people.that you haven't tried yet that you [00:36:00] want to try? That's like on your bucket list.
Tanvi Shah: There's so much. I mean, releasing my own product or service that is a hundred percent my own is definitely a vision for the future.
Tanvi Shah: And maybe potentially having my own TV show or, you know, something cool like that would be nice to go home and tell my mum one day. So, something like that, but we'll see.
Amardeep Parmar: Have you got any ideas for what that could be?
Tanvi Shah: I mean, I've appeared on TV a couple of times now, so I was on BBC Panorama, and I was on a TV, I don't even know if I'm allowed to say this, you get a sneak peek, but I will be on ITV.
Tanvi Shah: In the new year, it's been filmed, but definitely something that incorporates my entertaining side, but also that value add and important. I would love to do documentaries surrounding what I'm really passionate about, um, so you never know, things are in the works. I have also recently signed to management. And I feel like that is really going to be a massive turning point for me from 2023 because [00:37:00] the opportunities that can come with will be huge.
Tanvi Shah: So it's really exciting. I'm only at the start.
Amardeep Parmar: So we're going to now move to the quickfire questions at the end. So the first question is who are three British Asians you like to shout out that people can follow?
Tanvi Shah: First person I would recommend is Nileeka and she is the founder of the Bollywood Co, but she is also a businesswoman, she's a mum, she's so inspiring how she balances everything and she has also been a huge supporter and opened so many doors for me, so she really is one of those South Asian women that supports and nurtures young talent, so
Tanvi Shah: go check her out. Secondly would be Savannah. She is a fitness content creator. She's actually been running every single day for about 450 days now. She really helped me get through my ACL recovery. But she is just so real. She's hilarious. She's also someone that is trying to navigate being a British Asian and being so in touch with her kind of British side but now trying to [00:38:00] really
Tanvi Shah: get more in touch with the Indian culture and I think that's something a lot of us can relate to if we were born and bred in the UK. And lastly, I will shout out Mr. Islah, or otherwise known as Islah. He is a BBC Asian Network radio presenter and we've had many shows together. He's so funny, but he's also an actor and a filmmaker and he founded the Cornershop Network, which is what one of the networks I present on, and it is all about raising the voices of ethnic minorities, creating really fun and entertaining content, but really making our way into mainstream media and that representation that we've lacked for so many years.So, yeah,Islah and the Cornershop Network are definitely things to check out as well.
Amardeep Parmar: Great mention there. So next question is, if people listening right now want to reach out to contact you, what's something that you can help them with?
Tanvi Shah: I am that person that can just inspire and motivate you to achieve what you want. Now, now I'm a [00:39:00] content creator, please don't feel like I'm not relatable or I have nothing in common with you because I just want
Tanvi Shah: young women and men to feel as though their dreams are attainable. Whether it's providing motivation to juggle a hundred billion things at once, which is what I do on a daily basis, or just to go to the gym that day. From the bare minimum to the most, I think I would be a great source of motivation, inspiration, if you ever need any advice in anything, come to me.
Amardeep Parmar: And then on the flip side, what's something you need advice on? Or what's something which somebody listening right now might be able to help you with?
Tanvi Shah: I suppose I would love to know more about what it is. South Asian women need help or advice with because I want to be that person that helps to drive that change Whether it is in the South Asian industries or in mainstream industries. So what do you want me to create more content on?
Tanvi Shah: What do you want me to talk about more and what do you want me to make that change in?
Amardeep Parmar: And then thank you so much for coming on. Have you got any final words for everybody?
Tanvi Shah: I [00:40:00] just think everyone needs to remember to be bold and to be brave. If you can do those two things, I really believe you can achieve anything you want with the right mindset.
Tanvi Shah: So be bold, don't be afraid to challenge your status quo.And break some boundaries.
Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE HQ podcast today in our mission to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. It would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.