YouTube Star’s South Asian Wonder Woman Look Creates Online Sensation
Texas-based beauty vlogger Deepica Mutyala has launched the #BeYourOwnHero campaign for Halloween.
Wonder Woman with a desi twist? That is what beauty vlogger and YouTube star Deepica Mutyala chose to be this Halloween. She replaced the gauntlets with bangles, a cape with a sari (with the cheeky one-liner “Sari not sorry!”), the headdress with maang tikka, and a kamarbundh.
The aim of the video, which is now going viral, is not just about creating a novel look by Indianizing an iconic comic character, but about representation. “Just because you don’t see a hero (or any character) that looks like you out there, doesn’t mean you can’t be them,” Mutyala says in the video when starting the #BeYourOwnHero campaign for Halloween.
“The larger picture was to get a point across that you can be whoever you want for Halloween and not feel any limits” she writes on YouTube.
This is not her first campaign that was showered love. In 2015, Mutyala started a campaign called #BeYourOwnPrincess. The campaign, again, was about South Asian representation and how your look shouldn’t define who you get to be. The campaign was started when Mutyala had a conversation with a friend about who they should dress up as during Halloween. The friend automatically assumed that Mutyala would dress up as Jasmine (“Or pocahontas, maybe?” her friend added later on), which irked the beauty vlogger, according to a previous feature in Marie Claire. Ironically, Jasmine was the Princess she was initially planning to dress up as, since she was “badass and independent”. However, Mutyala was left wondering if she was trained to think that way. The video she ended up making had her dress up as Jasmine, Cinderella, Ariel and then Prince Charming.
Mutyala admitted in her blog: “The most important inclusion in the video for me was the Prince. I will be the first to admit that I’m not a pro, but it makes me sick to my stomach reading about all the bullying happening to the transgender community. I hope this video helps a kid out there feel comfortable being his or her true self, and I also hope it helps parents out there let their kid feel comfortable being their true self.”
NEW VIDEO LIVE! South Asian Wonder Woman transformation now on my channel . Hope this inspires you all this Halloween to be whoever it is you want to be & own it. Shoutout to the most amazing dream team below for bringing this to life! #BeYourOwnHero #cosplay _ Stylist/Designer: @kateewok Materials/Jewelry: @saripalace Hair: @hairbyrenecortez Makeup: @makeupbyshilpa Henna: @goldnineink Space: @beautyblender @watcherica @reaannsilva Director/Photographer: @nishaespy Lighting: @garyjaquez Editor: @brandonespyphoto BTS footage: @ricoabonce
A post shared by Deepica Mutyala (@deepicam) on
Mutyala, 28, started her beauty channel in January 2015, amid discussions among her peers that the YouTube market was saturated already. “I disagreed,” she told YHM Magazine. “I could count on my hand how many South Asians were making a name for themselves on YouTube.”
Of the South Asians she admires, YouTube sensation Lilly Singh comes first. “Being Southeast Asian myself, it’s so exciting seeing all of her success. She has truly broken barriers for our community and it makes me so proud. I don’t even know her, but I feel like I do because I’ve watched her go through this journey online,” she told Bustle.
Raised in Sugarland, Texas, Mutyala was born to a family that was, in her words “married to medical community.” A girl who chose lipsticks over stethoscopes, she majored in marketing at business school in the University of Texas, landed an internship at L’Oreal in New York and then a job at Birchbox. She was still working at Birchbox when she started her channel.
Her getting into the beauty line was prompted by the lack of representation she saw while she was growing up. “Growing up, I remember wanting to change so many aspects of myself physically,” she told YHM Magazine in a previous interview. “I would look at magazines, watch TV, and go to the movies to see no one who looked like me. I felt like there was something wrong with me and found myself dying my hair blonde to change my appearance and even got blue colored contacts. It wasn’t a cute look!”
It wasn’t hard for her to wear make-up. “Doing makeup was always a passion of mine; I was always the girl doing her friends’ makeup, but I’ve never been professionally trained as a makeup artist,” she told Passerbuys, adding that since it was important to her parents to see her get a graduate degree, she decided to go to business school, and work on the corporate side of the beauty industry.
When Mutyala quit her 9-to-5 job to pursue her own brand full time, her biggest challenge was to see where the rent would come from. However, with social media campaigns, getting to be an E! News correspondent for Miami Swim week, and on Today show as a beauty expert, she has made quite a name for herself.
Her family, who wanted her to take SATs, do MBA, and be the conventional Indian girl in America, were, to her surprise, her pillars. She feared her parents’ reaction on knowing that she had quit her job, and was surprised when her father gave her a check because he wanted to invest in someone he believed in.
As a beauty vlogger with numerous hacks to give the world, Mutyala’s own personal style is comfortable and feminine, using things that make her feel confident and bold. “I like clothes that make me feel that I can control the room,” she told Passerbuys.
Incidentally, this is not the only time Wonder Woman cosplay was done by South Asian women. In September this year, Amaya Suriyapperuma and Seshani Cooray, two women from Sri Lanka, cosplayed as Wonder Women for the Comic-Con held in Colombo. Since they were trolled online for their skin color, Wonder Woman actor Gal Gadot and the film’s director Patty Jenkins tweeted their support, shutting down the trolling.
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) August 31, 2017