TV + Movies

Interview With Queer Youtuber And Activist, Kushagra Satankar

Kushagra is a young, very enthusiastic and energetic queer activist, Youtuber and MUA (make-up artist). I decided to ask him some questions about his life, his journey and what inspires him to live his best self. At just 16 years of age, Kushagra, is both young and sagacious. A boy of many talents, it was a pleasure getting to know him.

He is currently in Class 12, pursuing Humanities and his passions include social work, reading, watching YouTube, listening to podcasts, makeup (he is an MUA i.e. Make-up artist), dressing, oratory and spirituality. His YouTube channel can be found here.

Q. You are a Queer activist, a makeup artist (MUA) and a YouTube content creator. Where did the inspiration to do all these things come from?

I would like to mention that I am an environmentalist first and a queer activist second. My first love is and always has been nature.

My inspiration to do all these things came from within. I was bulled, and that was a lesson in and of itself. I also draw inspiration from my mother, who lives up to the idea of ‘actions speak louder than words’. She never tolerates any form of wrongdoing and injustice. Moreover, the makeup traits in me have also come from my mother, for when she was young, she too loved makeup, nail art etc. So far, I have not joined any makeup classes, but I intend to do so to improve my skills.

Regarding YouTube, Joey Graceffa has been my go-to idol. I wanted to create a YouTube channel for a long time, and last year I read a book called ‘Joey Graceffa in real life’. Reading that book inspired me to start my own channel.

Q. Let’s talk about YouTube: You channel is new. What do you hope to use your YouTube platform for?

I want to have fun on YouTube and educate people as much as I possibly can. I also want to know and learn more. My main motive here is to spread awareness about our community, the ‘colourful’ teenage group and tell them everything I didn’t know when I was young and discovering things. I want to share this information through my story.

Q. Beyond just YouTube, you are also an activist. Tell me something about your childhood experience as a queer person and how that informs your activism?

As a child, I was never mentally and emotionally stable. I was bullied a lot (and still am), but when I was younger, I didn’t really know how to deal with bullying and criticism. But now, I’m getting better at it. Things were bad up until the 9th grade, and then the revolution started as soon as I started practising self-love and self-acceptance. Although I was very introverted, participating in MUNs (Model United Nations) played a huge role in my life. I also used to watch videos of Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and felt inspired. Beyond YouTube, I also want to start a Podcast, for which I have also recorded a few samples! My Podcast will be about LGBT issues, self-acceptance, homophobia and bullying.

Q. You aren’t just a queer activist; you have also founded Naturallies which also seems to be another social activist endeavour of yours. Tell us more about that?

As I mentioned before, my first love is for nature and earth. Naturallies is a group that does exactly that: advocate for a better environment. In the past, we have conducted cleanliness drives, rallies, marches and peaceful protests. Last year, I conducted an environment themes fashion show in which all the participants made dresses from recycled material. Our group also wants to discuss these issues with politicians, but unfortunately, we don’t find them as attentive as we are about the urgency of the climate crisis. I’m still working on finding more effective ways of reaching out to government officials. If nothing works, I will most likely file a PIL (Public Interest Litigation).

Q. Your make-up looks on Instagram are very bold: who do you look up to in the fashion industry and who do you look up to back at home?

I don’t have one idol, but the kind of fashion I love is inspired by Nikita Dragun, James Charles and Jeffree Star. Nikita gives me the strength to be bold, Jeffree inspires me with his power. One day I want to be at their level too.

Q. At what age did you discover that you wanted to become a creative artist? Did you ever feel (like many of us) that you ‘didn’t belong’ and that you wanted to do your own thing?

I knew I was not like everyone else from the very beginning. I knew there was a spark in me. But before the 9th grade, I was confused. I did know about myself when I was 11 years old though. After the 9th grade, I discovered my creative side and started to explore new things. This year, I made my Instagram account public. I was scared at first, but now I’m liking it!

Q. As a young queer artist, what are your hopes about the future: both in fashion and outside of it (activism)?

This is a time-consuming process. Eventually, things will get better, but people need to be more accepting and open to change. We must show to the world what love is. It is beyond gender because it is a connection of souls. Also, we must talk more about it! Also, parents should listen to their children rather than imposing their decisions.

In the world of fashion, I want to show fashion transformation posts as well as creative photoshoots.

Q. Do you have any parting message for your fans or followers who may be reading this?

I would like to say this: ‘No voice will speak for you louder than your own voice.’. We must remember this! Apart from this, I would also like to add: ‘Not everyone is going to like you’. Always appreciate yourself and be good and do good, because one day it will come back to you. Spread love!

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Kanav is currently pursuing his Master's in Development from Azim Premji University, Bangalore. He identifies as queer for personal and political reasons and is extremely interested in addressing various forms of contemporary social issues and inequalities through his writing. An unapologetic nerd and gym rat, you will most likely either find him lifting 12 kilo dumbbells in the gym, or reading Foucault in the library.

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