Sejal Kumar on Michelle Obama, monetizing content, women’s problems, and more

Sejal Kumar, then 19 years old, launched a YouTube channel in 2014. She is now one of India's most prominent YouTubers, with over 2 million followers.

Sejal Kumar on Michelle Obama, monetizing content, women's problems, and more
Sejal Kumar on Michelle Obama, monetizing content, women's problems, and more

Popular YouTuber Sejal Kumar is now working on topics important to her heart. She writes her own music and stars in the Netflix blockbuster series Engineering Girls.

Sejal Kumar, then 19 years old, launched a YouTube channel in 2014. She is now one of India’s most prominent content providers, with over 2 million followers.

In 2020, she joined YouTube Creators for Change, a global initiative led by Michelle Obama. But Sejal’s work extends beyond her substance and impact.

She partnered with UNICEF on child protection and the Gates Foundation on a vaccination program in India.

UNICEF helped her create her female empowerment project, Aisi Hun (I Am Who I Am), as part of YouTube Creators for Change.

She co-founded Maitri, a 550k-subscriber female health portal, with her gynaecologist mother to promote authentic information on women’s health throughout the country.

That’s not everything. Sejal just released a music video for Destiny, launched a Spotify podcast called Shut Up Sejal, and landed a role in Netflix’s Engineering Girls. The bashful youngster who joined the YouTube bandwagon in 2014, fighting for women’s health and more…

Sejal Kumar (SK): I grew up in a highly hardworking atmosphere, with a gynaecologist mother and an army father.

I was a timid youngster who liked to express herself creatively when no one was around. My mother is a fantastic vocalist, and my brother is a multi-instrumentalist. We used to sing and dance about our house.

FS: Why did you create your own YouTube channel?
Take us through the beginning.

SK: September 2014. I aspired to be an actress and a big celebrity.

I wanted to sing, act, dance, create art and fashion. It was all on Facebook (I had no connections) and then YouTube.

It was a good opportunity to be creative and demonstrate my abilities without giving up control of my imagination. But I grew slowly, taking years to get to where I am now.

FS: How did you engage the audience?

SK: I believe consistency, improving each video, and loving it translated the best. My audience always said my material was excellent, which kept me continuing.

FS: What are your passions?

A visual plot surrounding my stuff – now it’s music — is an experience I adore constructing.

It was fun, and I’m delighted my audience liked it. I kept reading their texts. They are both cruel and perceptive at times.

Sejal Kumar prominent YouTuber.

FS: You were one of eight global YouTube Creators for Michelle Obama. More?

SK: It was a tremendous chance. Michelle Obama’s “Girls Education” initiative has my full support and content creation.

Our debut song, Aisi Hun, and the short film/music video we made highlighted the narrative of a humble Indian girl finding her way to becoming the courageous girl she always deserved to be.

It had a huge effect. People told me how this song and video made them stronger and desire to take control of their life – the video exceeded one million views immediately after its release, which was another fantastic milestone.

FS: You and Maitri talk about female health. Providing accurate information on women’s health, particularly to women in Tier II and III cities, is critical.

SK: I co-founded Maitri, a woman’s health platform led by my mother, Dr. Anjali Kumar, a surgeon with over 30 years of expertise.

We wanted to design something to help share genuine female health information.

FS: You also discuss mental health. Has the constant urge to be innovatively taken its toll on you? If so, how?

SK: I’ve had anxiety and sadness for many years, maybe owing to my job. My audience has witnessed how it has affected me daily and how I have attempted to maintain a smile on my face while I am breaking down.

It’s good to share my story with my audience since it’s something I passionately believe in and has transformed me as a person.

FS: Is it simple or difficult to monetize content?

SK: I’ve been lucky in this regard. After a thousand subscribers, I received my first brand partnership with Lifestyle; the growth has been steady and I’m pleased. Now that the industry is so profitable, I feel fortunate to have begun when I did and to have had the commercial acumen to properly present myself to the businesses I worked with.

FS: Describe your Netflix programme. How did it happen?

SK: Engineering Girls is a TVF production with a 20-minute audition process. The following day, I got a call. I believe it was fated. My first big-screen acting engagement was a lot of fun and a lot of learning. It was then bought by Netflix and Zee5 for their streaming services, bringing it even more exposure.

FS: What do you want to do?

SK: Music. Soon I will have my first EP and more acting. Shutup Sejal Season 2 is now available on Spotify.

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