Why are men expected to suppress their emotions? Why is toughness regarded as a masculine trait? Why do appearances define us? Who made these gender roles? Who created these labels?

Every day, we see a lot of victims of such stereotypes, being bullied for not being masculine enough, not fitting in the conventional frames which restricts us from exploring ourselves. Our next creator boldly fights against these issues. Meet Dhruv Shah(@dhruvshah96), a two-time TEDx speaker, actor, and a spoken word poet, who never misses raising his voice for issues prevalent in the society. In an exclusive interview with Zura, Dhruv shared with us his journey and gave us a glance into what really goes behind in the world of content creation.   

When did you think of becoming a content creator and what motivated you to get started?

Since my childhood days, I’ve loved performing in plays and been passionate about writing. When I started putting out spoken word poetry about body shaming and gender roles on my Instagram, I received thousands of likes and realized that a lot of people resonated with my content. That’s when I quit my job as an artist manager and joined acting school to work on myself and started creating content full time.

How do you start your day? Any particular activity that you swore by daily?

I usually start my day with a workout session.

Meditation is something I swear by daily because it gives my day a peaceful start, keeps me grounded, and calms me down.

Where do you get your storytelling ideas from?

My ideas come from my life experiences, and my understanding of the world.  My initial poems were about gender roles and body shaming, which came from my own experiences of being bullied for not being masculine enough. I pour down my feelings as I write and it helps me heal parts of myself. Bringing things to awareness makes me comfortable, which is why I write.

What, according to you, are the 3 most important things creators should keep in mind while creating content?

The first and the most important thing is to be authentic and let whatever you’re doing come from a true space within you. Secondly, work on your craft, practice more, and take workshops and classes because it is really important to sharpen your skill sets. Lastly, it is really important to have patience, especially with the current algorithms posing difficulty in growth and reach.

Can you give us a glimpse of your work-flow? What really goes behind from creating an idea to actually bringing it on to your social media page?

It starts with an idea in my head that I write down as a line or a thought and then I build on to that. I pour my blood and feelings into the piece and then I refine it. If it’s a poem, I make sure that the rhyme schemes and meters are correct, and it’s sounding well. And then comes the phase called ‘kill your darlings’ wherein I eliminate certain sentences which I found important before but are now reading as irrelevant. Then after memorizing my lines, I set up my camera and perform the piece and edit it myself. 

How do you organize or keep a tab on your mails, budget, collaborations, PRs, etc.?

I’m very efficient in responding to emails. As far as budget is concerned I keep a google doc wherein I maintain everything. I’ve also set up a Google alert in my name so that whenever there’s any article published about me, I am notified. Also, while sending out my artist profile, I make sure that it is up to date and  I constantly keep revising it according to the progress I make.  

If you were to give an advice to someone who is wondering to venture into the world of content creation, what would it be?

I feel like we have to be a realist in this world, and as a content creator, you should have something happening in the background which can support you financially since this is not a profession in which you can earn much initially. To my understanding, building yourself independently is a privilege that not all can afford, so I’d say that as a creator you must get trained in your craft and be clear in what you want to do.


Your favourite pass-time: Looking at memes

A recent trend that caught your attention: “Rasode mein kaun tha” video

If you were to use one app for the rest of your life, it would be: Spotify! Music over social media.

Your favourite piece of poetry/ quote: “Wear your identity like a loose garment” -RuPaul.

If not a storyteller, what else do you think you would’ve become: A writer, or maybe I would’ve worked in helping develop shows.

Any content creator/creators who inspire you? Dolly Singh is my absolute favourite. I love how honest and real she keeps herself on Instagram.

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