Diipa Büller-Khosla is redefining the meaning of ‘social media influencer’. Preferring the term ‘new-age digital celebrity,’ Diipa is breaking barriers across multiple industries with a singular mission of empowering women. She’s not only one of the first Indian influencers to have gained international notoriety with a following of more than 1.4 million - she is also taking her clout and platform and transforming it into a beacon for social good.
Diipa left India at 18 years old and moved to Amsterdam to study international human rights law and later moved to London to pursue her Master’s degree. She interned at both the United Nations’ International Criminal Court and IMA Influencer Agency, which introduced her to digital and social media. She also pursued an internship at IMA during the four-month break between her studies at university and landing a job as a professional lawyer. With a love of fashion and beauty never waning, Diipa has been featured on seven international magazine covers, walked at the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals, and has been an ambassador for brands like Estée Lauder and Kérastase.
Diipa’s newest endeavor is inspired by her mother’s work as an Ayurvedic doctor and her own personal decade-long journey battling acne. She’s transforming the skincare industry with the launch of indē wild, a conscious beauty ecosystem combining Ayurvedic rituals with revolutionary science-backed chemistry into Ayurvedistry™. Backed by an all-female board of knowledgeable hair and skincare experts, this people-powered brand stands for representation, education and radical transparency.
Q: Congratulations on 20 Magazine covers under your belt, with the latest for Vogue, including your daughter Dua. In your caption, you spoke about how the image used was unedited and raw. Having belonged to the industry for a while now, do you see a shift in the audiences' perception of beauty?
The concept of ‘beauty’ and what it really is has been a social debate since the beginning of time. As social media grew increasingly popular over the years, beauty standards began to differ, both in positive and negative manners. The stigma of having to always look ‘perfect’ (or what society deemed as perfect) began clouding impressionable minds on social media platforms – where both young women and men started believing that everything displayed online was a reality that they had to conform to.
Over the recent years, a more millennial approach has been conceptualized by audiences on social media, where a more ‘woke’ perspective has become socially acceptable. As more and more voices speak of inclusivity and body positivity, sense of unity and acceptance prevails on choosing to celebrate natural beauty in all shapes, color, gender, and race, which is much needed especially when it comes to mental health and its relation to body image.
Growing up and feeling unaccepted by most beauty standards, it took years into my adulthood to finally accept the real version of myself. A concept I have implemented in my own personal brand is to accept one’s true identity, underneath filters and a mask – something we like to refer to as ‘#RealOverPerfect’. This concept is close to home as we all have a journey of self-discovery, choosing to finally ditch unrealistic standards, and instead accept and OWN who we are.
Q: Launching indewild, you said, "No longer will young women be trapped by societal expectations to cover their insecurities or feel the need to falsify their persona. " Do you believe brands belonging to the beauty industry have a responsibility to ensure their products celebrate are created and advertised more consciously?
For generations, the beauty industry has been guilty of setting unrealistic beauty standards for impressionable minds to compare themselves to. Whether it would be perfect clear skin – free of cellulite, discoloration, and scars; or whether it be having the ‘perfect’ physique that a model has on the front page of a magazine. As newer generations voice their opinions louder, beauty brands have a social responsibility to guarantee their brand holds values such as empathy, inclusivity, and diversity, close to the core of their structure. I also believe it’s not just up to brands to make this step forward to a more diverse society, us as individuals or as consumers have the responsibility to choose more ethical and driven practices to ensure the inclusivity of all people.
Q: Your 3.5-month postpartum image from the Maldives celebrating body positivity went viral for all the right reasons. How do you think social media has helped change the narrative when it comes to beauty and perfection?
Social media has been classified as the root to so many societal problems and insecurities for the longest of times. We are all so used to seeing edited or filtered versions of people, that end up playing on our self-consciousness and expectations. I remember being online for hours, questioning why my skin and body didn’t look like ‘that’, no matter how healthy I ate, how many products I used or how disciplined I became – never really accepting the truth that what I saw online might not be real. That being said, many influencers have chosen to address these standards and make clear the fact that not everything you see on social media is real.
As more online figures embrace the ‘natural beauty’ approach, audiences have begun to conceptualize a new meaning to beauty and acceptance. Think of it this way: your favorite role model has opted to display her stretch marks online; you now begin to normalize the idea of stretchmarks as someone you look up to is now not afraid to showcase a true version of their insecurities. Having this change of mind and heart has gained greater attention and created more acceptance on social media, as well as in real life.
Q: Being a new mom online can also mean a lot of undue pressure. What do you have to say to other moms in the spotlight that are often asked how they balance work and family life, manage to 'bounce back' all while working for themselves and staying optimistic?
Finding a balance in parenthood and life is key for positive mental health. As much as you are a mom, you are also independent being that is capable of so much more than what is expected by you from society. At first, I had zero idea how I’d manage starting a business, maintaining a personal brand, travelling, and on top of it all be a new mom. The world of parenthood was and still is so new to me, but the best advise I’ve ever received about it, is to take one day at a time.
Advice for new moms or moms-to-be: It’s okay to not know what you’re doing yet! You will figure it out eventually. Motherhood isn’t something you can study to get a degree in, it’s something so naturally developed over time and experience. So, give yourself a break if you hit a dead-end somewhere along the lane, you will overcome this just as every other obstacle you’ve managed to beat. Another important thing to remember is to show your body some love and not expect it to ‘bounce back’ after JUST giving birth! Your body has been through so many unfamiliar changes, it deserves all the respect and love for keeping both you and your baby safe!
Q: Your brand indewild has been introduced as 'A conscious and holistic beauty ecosystem, a brand like no other. A movement unique to its surroundings. An independent and wild expression of freedom on the day that our "difference becomes our superpower". Could you tell us a little more about how differences can be empowering and what a holistic beauty ecosystem means to you?
Growing up in a society and country that favored lighter complexions, and skin that’s free of any ‘impurity’; I found it difficult to find self-acceptance from a young age. As I got older, I began to realize how all the insecurities I had, became the thing that I loved most about myself as they made me unique. I embraced the richness of my skin color, or the stretch marks on my body as these values are what made me who I am. Keeping this theory in mind, I wanted others to find a place of self-acceptance for themselves, and indē wild was created to be that reminder of ‘Hey! You don’t need to cover your insecurities anymore; they are what makes you uniquely and beautifully individual’. Having a community that varies in races, age, skin type brings us closer - The more we differ, the more we unite.
When founding indē wild, we knew that it would not be a question to incorporate specific values. We branded as a ‘holistic beauty ecosystem’ due to our core values of : ethical ingredients, purposeful actives, cruelty free and vegan, and made for all skin tones. These pillars of inclusivity and ethical beauty, had been our driving force to create a beauty community that can feel accepted, understood, educated, and finally helped.
Q: Do you think Cosmoprof coming to India has helped boost the confidence for Indian beauty industry in the global market?
Definitely, Cosmoprof is a testament that the beauty industry in India is worth displaying to the world. For generations, Indian inspired looks have paved its way from Bollywood to across the globe. Finally, after years and years of our vibrant looks, beauty hacks and kitchen DIY routines, India has received the recognition it deserves, proving how much it has to offer to the world of beauty.