Malini Agarwal Tells You How She Blogged Her Way To Bollywood!
Malini Agarwal isn’t an unknown name in the celebrity circuit. Her journey began as the voice of Mumbai’s Radio One in the early 2000s, to FINALLY putting a face to the voice when she eventually became her own brand with the launch of her then blog and now super-popular website, MissMalini.
Her passion project was an extension of her namesake column that mainly covered entertainment…and then came the big bang!
Now deemed as one of India’s biggest online destinations for celebrity news, Malini has now gone offline with her soon-to-debut book To The Moon: How I Blogged My Way To Bollywood.
A firsthand account of her funny yet inspiring quest to becoming Bollywood’s biggest bloggers, To The Moon describes her rather filmy rite of passage into the world of extraordinary stardom.
Want to know how a dreamy-eyed diva turned her life from glamorous rags to fabulous riches? Malini recounts her journey and talks us through what makes this new chapter in her life unique, fun, and very…well, MissMalini!
1. From becoming an RJ, then moving into the blogging space, and now writing a book, what has this journey been like for you?
It’s been the most incredible adventure! Sometimes I really can’t believe this is my life. I feel like it was all kind of seamless and every job taught me the skills to be able to do the next.
Especially radio, it taught me the importance of finding your voice and making an individual connection with your audience. The book still feels a bit surreal!
2. Did you have a eureka moment when it came to writing a book, or was it something that you wanted to check off your bucket list for a while?
I feel like everyone has a book in them. I think of life as a series of little dramas where we play the starring role, and I try to think of mine as a romantic comedy! I owe this book to Mike Melli, my business partner, and of course, Harper Collins, who believed in my dream and turned it into a paperback! #lifemade
3. What was the most challenging part about writing?
I was extremely lucky that my editor Shreya Punj allowed me to keep my voice throughout the book. I like to write as I speak, just as I do on my blog. So I was able to overcome the extremely daunting fear of “sounding” author-esque. She gave me the confidence that my voice needed to be heard just the way it is.
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4. How different was the process from say, starting MissMalini.com?
When I started my blog, it was just an online diary. Something that didn’t necessarily require a beginning, middle, or an end. (Although I like to believe this book only gets you to intermission!) Its evolution was organic, and I had years to discover my voice and identity, but for some reason, the idea of writing a book feels very “grown up”!
But once I knew how I wanted to divide up the parts and make it both biographical and a guide to digital brand building, I was off to the races. The words just flowed and it was an experience like no other to feel my life pour out onto the pages.
Again, my editor helped and encouraged me every step of the way, and it was surprisingly a lot less complicated than I expected!
Also, since I wrote the book in 42 blogs, it seemed to have a similar groove eventually.
5. The title is quite interesting! How did it come to being?
I have always loved the phrase “to the moon”. I noticed it first in a Leonaordo DiCaprio movie called Catch Me If You Can, and songs like Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon, and of course, everyone’s favourite term “love you to the moon and back”. So it kinda stuck, so much so that I have a tattoo of a rocket ship to the moon on my forearm as well!
And, of course, I thought it was apt to throw in the tag line “How I Blogged My Way To Bollywood” to reflect that this story would have both exclusive celebrity anecdotes and boss lady learnings from my years in the business.
It helps that every romantic Bollywood song has some reference to the moon as well! And that globe up high reminds me that we are all just floating around on a ball in the sky. How incredible is that?!
6. Your book is all about achieving your goals! Looking back, what advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Funny you ask, because I’ve actually written an entire blog to my 18-year-old self in my book! The best advice I could ever give my younger self is that after believing is achieving. And that time is the most valuable currency of life!
7. What sort of person did you picture reading To The Moon when you were writing it?
I pictured the young and restless millennial, and hoped like hell that my story makes someone somewhere give up the shackles of their fear and pursue a life less ordinary.
Also I pictured all the characters in my life that I mention in the book, so they know how much they shaped my existence.
8. If there’s something you would have done differently in the past, what would it be?
I would have held on tighter to friendships that faded because of my own insecurities. Thankfully, the universe has shown me it’s never to late to find them again!
9. What advice would you give a 20-something who is confused about what they want and how to achieve it?
People often ask me how to become a rich and famous blogger, and I have a simple answer: Don’t start by wanting to be a rich-and-famous anything! Step back, close your eyes, and imagine the one thing you’d want to do for the rest of your life even if nobody paid you to do it.
Find a way to make THAT your career, and fame and fortune will surely follow!
10. Three significant lessons you’d want readers to take away from reading To The Moon?
First: Be you, don’t be a “me too”!
Second: Anything is possible with a little hope and hard work.
And finally: You’re the hero in the movie of your life — think of it as a comedy, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
And here’s a bonus lesson: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return!” That’s a quote from Baz Lurmann’s movie Moulin Rouge and man does it give me all the feels!
Pre-order Malini Agarwal’s book To The Moon: How I Blogged My Way To Bollywood, launching in January 2018.