Why this Dubai Instagrammer is paying tribute to Indian snacks
Instagram has a way of transporting you to fantasy. Take a look at Divya Premchand's account (@divsglam), and you're sure to miss the India you left behind. The 20-year-old Instagrammer, who is based in Dubai, decided to pay tribute to Indian snacks through a rather unusual medium - makeup. Indian snacks and makeup may have little in common, but Premchand has managed to create looks that complement the packaging. "I am desi at heart," Premchand says, while explaining the reasons behind her passion project. "I have remained connected to India, even though I hardly went there. My relatives would often bring snacks from there, like Kurkure or Maggi, and I would jump with joy. I saw a few creators who were doing makeup inspired by Cheetos and other snacks, so I thought I could relive my childhood by doing this."
Premchand began researching Indian snacks. "In fact, half of these were through my dad's help," she says. "Every Friday, we would brainstorm on his past memories. This tribute is to all the snacks that were part of every NRI's life. It is a way of connecting with desis around the world, too. The other day, I got Poppins from a local store, and my dad was overwhelmed eating it. We often forget how a packet of chips or a small candy can hit home."
Marrying nostalgia with makeup was not a big deal, as Premchand is a Hong Kong-trained makeup artist and has also worked with beauty influencer Mona Kattan. But the real challenge Premchand says she faces is in matching outfits with the colour tone of the packaging. "After I'd brainstorm, I'd get my snack and study its colour theme. I'd check it for small details, such as the shape and design. I'd then head to mini-India in the heart of Dubai - Meena Bazaar. There are several local stores there that sell fabulous Indian jewellery. Honestly, I could spend hours there. I'd bring the snack packet with me to the store at times and start matching colours and design. On the other hand, the dresses are all my mom's dupattas. She has a closet filled with the rainbow. I draped her dupattas in different styles to give them a unique look. I made sure I was dressed over the top, just like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film."
Premchand's endeavours have already resonated among NRIs from across the world. She says she has received messages from many of them too. "Before I start my snack makeup, I leave clues on my Instagram stories. And I see everyone guessing the next snack," she says. Recently, Premchand also received a message from a user in Pakistan who remarked the series had tempted them to try these snacks. "It's so much fun to know that you can connect with someone over biscuits," she jokes.
Apart from Indian snacks, Premchand has often recreated classic characters, including actors such as Helen and Parveen Babi. "I dwell on these characters for hours and study their style. I think of it as being a chameleon - sometimes, I am a low-budget Princess Jasmine and, on other occasions, I am the local Paro."
For all the work she is doing in the makeup space, Premchand says she doesn't wear it outside her Insta-world. She also understands why, during Covid-19, people are ditching makeup to save their skin from the sweat build-up in the mask. "I see lipsticks vanishing and more lip balms and oils being used. Ditto for foundations. However, the eyes will become the focus now - and people will try coloured liners, mascaras, framed brows and lashes to bring attention to the eyes. Covid-19 may have hit the beauty industry hard, but it has also made people creative." Premchand is an example!