Good evening. Well, my big question for you, how many of you want to be famous? So, where does fame appear on your priority list, alongside money, health, relationships, a career? What do you think? There you go.
Well, I was reading some research on Forbes magazine's website and they said that one in four millennials would choose to quit their job to be famous. Interesting, right? 23% of millennials would rather be famous than be a lawyer, 30% of millennials would
rather be famous than be a doctor, one in ten millennials would give up their college degrees to get famous and one in 12 would be happy to cut off relationships with their family if it meant that they became a household name. And that's what we're talking about today. Clearly fame is right up there on the priority list when it comes to millennials and Generation Z, am I right? Well, that's why I'm here and that's what I'm here to talk about.
My name is Malvika Varadhan and I've been on radio for about 12 years. I've been on television a few times. I'm constantly on Instagram and Facebook so I'm on your phones and I've been on YouTube a few times as well. And I'm here to talk to you about some of the questions that you might have to ask yourself if you choose the path of popularity, if you choose the path to fame. I find myself asking these questions a whole lot and I thought if you're going to choose
that path then maybe I should share those questions with you as well. Now fame isn't anything new, is it? Fame's been around for as long as community has been around. But a lot has changed about the way we see fame over the last decade. Now I want you to think about this, right? A 13-year-old in 2019 was born in the year 2006. Within seconds of her being born, her parents probably took out their camera phones and took a picture of her, right? By the time she was two years old, she had her own Facebook profile. Of course it was only meant to share pictures with grandparents and pictures of holidays but it was out there. By the time she was five, she had unlimited access to videos on YouTube. And now that she's 13 and she's thinking about what she really wants to be when she grows up, well, she looks around her and she sees who are the most accomplished, who are the most applauded, who are the most celebrated people in the world. Well, they are all famous and they're all famous online. Now until about 15 years ago, in order to become famous, you were dependent on somebody else, right? A football coach or a record label or a political party, you had to have somebody else endorse you so that you could become famous but not anymore. Famous now in your own hands. You have a phone, you have an internet connection, you can get famous. And having a social media account is a lot like owning a billboard. All of us have our own billboards on this very busy highway. It allows for people to zoom in to our billboard. It allows for people to drive past it and not even really look. It allows for people to comment on it and have their opinions on it. So when you look at social media, when you look at your own Instagram feeds, it feels
a lot like standing in the middle of Times Square in New York. You're surrounded by these really bright billboards. Everybody looking beautiful and looking perfect, selling you stuff that you absolutely must have. They're being witty and they're being smart and they're being funny. And of course they all look great. And when you stand right there and you're surrounded by all of these billboards, you think to yourself, you know what I really want? I want to be on a billboard. No, I want to be on the biggest, brightest billboard ever. So if that is the path then you should choose the speeches for you. I'm not here to tell you that fame isn't nice. Fame is wonderful. Trust me, it opens so many great doors. It allows for so much to happen. It makes life a lot easier but there are some very, very important questions to ask. Question number one seems quite obvious, right? What do you want to be famous for? You think it was obvious. You think it was basic. But a lot of people don't really know. You know, this is the equivalent of saying that I want to own a restaurant but I don't know what I want to serve. It doesn't really work like that. Now you can get great lighting and you can have a fantastic location and buy the best real estate and the nicest chairs. You can even get a few thousand people to come by and say your restaurant was great, even if they've never eaten there. But you've got to figure out what you're going to serve.
You've got to find your secret recipe, right? And you've got to invest in that recipe. If you want to become a famous singer, then you've got to focus on singing. If you want to become a famous footballer, you've got to focus on football. You've got to invest time and energy and intent into that thing you want to be famous for. And you've got to focus to the point where everything else in the world blows out. Once you've done that, then you can look forward to being famous at it.
Now my co-host Sid and I were discussing this just the day before yesterday and he gave me a very interesting tip. He said, "Write down the top ten things that you really love, then boil it down to eight and then to five and then to three and then from there, think about this one question, right? What is the one thing that you would do even if you were exhausted and hungry, and tired and somebody called you up at three in the morning?"
Now Sid says, "Somebody asked him to check out a new engine or a new car at three in the morning, he'd do it." So you've got to find what works for you. What's your three AM love? Now I found mine and I've written mine down on a board and I leave it in my living room. And whenever I have to make difficult decisions about my life, whether to choose this path or that, I look at that board and I ask myself, "Is it in line with what I want to be famous for?" If it's not, then I'll let it go. If it is, then I'll do it no matter what. The next big question you want to ask yourself if you want to be the next social media sensation
is what language do you speak? No, I don't mean English or Hindi or Mandarin. I mean what language do you really, really speak? You need to listen carefully to yourself. You need to listen to yourself in the presence of others and you need to listen to yourself when you're alone. I was talking to a bunch of media students in a school the other day and we came to the conclusion that while everything in media was changing, right, the way we were creating it, the way we were putting it out there, the algorithm that defined the way we consume it, the one thing that doesn't change about media is having a unique voice. So that's what you've got to figure out. You've got to figure out what is the one way that I see the world that nobody else sees.
What's your unique point of view? And you've got to listen really, really carefully to it and be authentic. Let me break that down for you. Being fake online shows through. It does, doesn't it? You can see it. It's just obvious. So it takes a lot of guts but you've got to be authentic when you're online. Now even if you are an excellent actor and you're able to fake your way through the first few months, eventually it's going to get really, really tiring. So best be your authentic self. Just embrace all parts of you. I really like Lilly Singh for that, you know. She's embraced her Indian roots and she's embraced where she is. So do just that. Embrace your funny eyebrows and your weird teeth and all the experiences you've had in the past and all the choices you've made. Just be all of you. It's hard. I admit. I struggle with it even today but you've got to do it. All right. The third big question to ask yourself is what are you not okay with? What are the lengths to which you're not willing to go to become famous?
What are the things you're not willing to do? What are the things you're not willing to stand for or endorse? Maybe I should tell you a little story here. A few months ago I was asked by a company for a fair amount of money, I must add, to endorse a procedure that removes wrinkles from people's faces. I did think about it. I'll admit. It was a fair amount of money but I chose not to do it at the end because I realized that that was not what I wanted to stand for. That was not something I was okay endorsing. You see the thing about social media is that it's designed to keep you addicted.
People who tell you that they don't feel good every time they see a new like or a new follower or a new nice comment or a new subscriber is lying to you. That's what it's designed to do. It's designed to make you feel addicted. But if you don't draw those boundaries out very, very early on in your journey, things are going to get quite difficult. I'll admit it. These boundaries change. Revisit those boundaries every once in a while but know them and know them for yourself and know them honestly and try not to be swayed. And the last and the biggest question to really ask yourself is what would you be left with if the internet would have just disappeared one fine morning? So what would you be left with? Who are the friends who you'd still call? Who are the people who would still say hi to you when you have no nice pictures to post online or you've got no witty comments or wisecracks to post on Twitter?
When you've got nothing interesting to say, who are those people? Well, build those relationships and nurture them and invest time and energy in them. And I'm not even just talking about people, right? I'm talking about interests, hobbies, questions, love those questions and sit with those interests and spend time on those hobbies because those are the things that will truly, truly endure. Well, I must tell you this as well. Nobody in this room, nobody in this world is really qualified to tell you what the future of social media is going to look like or if any of you do become social media sensations, what life is going to be like on the line. No. But this is my best bet. I think if we answer these questions, it just might make a few decisions a little bit simpler. I'm going to leave you with this one last thought, right? I think if you do want to be on social media, you've got to acknowledge that we are all in fact influencers. You're an influencer and you're an influencer and you're an influencer and I'm an influencer. We influence the way people make decisions about what they buy and what they wear and what they think about themselves and how they treat one another. So as long as we can be aware of that, I think we'll be okay. So good luck getting famous everybody. Thank you. [BLANK_AUDIO]