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Shraddha Singh: from engineering to full-time fashion blogger

The Indian-born beauty talks about keeping it real on social media, female empowerment and campaigning to save the planet.

“We tend to ask if we are good enough, smart enough or strong enough to go ahead with our idea of life”, says 31-year-old, Instagram sensation Shraddha Singh when talking about what makes women hold back when it comes to pursuing their dreams.

Based between Amsterdam and London, ‘Shrads’, as she is known on the blogosphere, is a firm believer in not wasting time in doing things you don’t love. But she warns that you have to be prepared to “sustain the initial hardships”, if you want to make a change in your life.

She should know. After six years as a software engineer working for some of the most notable multinational companies in the world, the Indian-born style star decided to follow her love of fashion and beauty to chronicle her street style and travel adventures full-time.

Now that she accounts for over 340k followers on Instagram, she's tending to an even bigger calling, using her influential voice —and fashion sense— to address critical female topics, like body image and female empowerment and raise awareness about the pressing environmental issues threatening the planet.

In this exclusive Q&A she talks about everything from the women who inspire her and championing sustainability in fashion, to what life is really like behind the filters of social media.

Tell us about your transition from software programmer to full-time blogging and how it shaped who you are

Yes. I was a software engineer and spent most of my career programming for a few well-known multinational companies.

When I first started my blog, I still had my day job and dedicated evenings and weekends to creating content. As my online presence grew, it became really hectic to juggle both of them. So, I chose to purse my bigger passion, fashion and went full time.

I still love to code and keep abreast of technology in my spare time.

Software Engineering is all about problem-solving. It helped me develop a knack for dividing problems into small tasks and helped me be a better organizer. I’ve also realized that there are not many girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and I love to inspire them to pursue the same.

In the spirit of what you profess and project on your blog and social media, anyone can really live the life they truly want, what holds women back? How do you overcome your fears?

Women are perfectionists. We tend to overthink before moving ahead because we are concerned about the repercussions. We tend to ask if we are good enough, smart enough or strong enough to go ahead with our idea of life. This often the case when someone is too scared to move out of the comfort zone.

The definition of happiness is relative. People should stop comparing themselves with everything they see online. Be it a change of career, place, diet or lifestyle, find what you like and, make effort and go for it. I strongly believe in not wasting your time doing things you don’t love.

At the same time, we need to be smart about it. I wouldn’t advocate this idea that “Anyone can do anything, you just have to follow your dreams”. If you are transitioning into something new like switching careers, always make sure you are prepared to sustain the initial hardships. There will always be limitations and as long as we realize them and plan accordingly, we can all have a wonderful life.

Social media always depicts a very curated and ‘perfect’ view of life, but tell us about the not so glamorous side.

People share only the good parts on social media because it directly affects how they’re perceived online. Curated feeds distort reality and look unoriginal. I try to be real and effortless, as I believe my online image should reflect who I am as a person.

Like every other profession, there is a lot involved in creating content for social media. Travelling, planning, editing takes a lot of time and effort and it is hard work to stay on top of your game all day, every day. But I enjoy every minute of it, as it doesn’t feel like work when you do what you love.

I carry out ‘regular life’ activities like household chores and grocery shopping. I actually enjoy sharing these ‘not-so-glamorous’ bits in a funny way to keep the audience engaged. Finding different and interesting ways tell everyday life stories, challenges my creativity.

I do get exhausted at times but I have a really supportive husband who greatly helps and shares the workload.

Who inspires you and why?

The two women closest to me, my sister and my mom. My mom always taught me how to be strong, independent, but still loving and caring. She encourages me to reach for the stars. She leads by example.

My sister inspired me to be more eco-conscious. Thanks to her I’m aware of global issues and how can we can do our part.

You’ve said being in the public eye has inspired you to fight for the right causes, tell us more about this.

After starting my blog to chronicle my personal style and love of fashion, I began to learn about how fashion is one the world’s most polluting industries. Fast fashion is spoiling consumers with cheap alternatives that come at a great environmental cost. So I wanted to use my influence to make my audience more aware and create change in the world.

I truly support brands that have been innovating to make their products more sustainable. And I read and share as much as possible about the environmental issues we are facing. I consider it a win when I see my followers spreading the message about embracing a more sustainable way of living. Equipped with the essential information, we can move forward in the right direction to prevent a disaster.

Also, I recently became the Global Survey Ambassador for the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goal 9, [a initiative focused on sustainable infrastructure and industrialization practices]. And as a Plastic Pollution Coalition ambassador, I’ve been educating my audience about Plastic Pollution and what we can do together to solve this global issue.

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