Changing The Narrative W/ Ariana Rebello
“Inclusivity and Representation in the Media and Fashion Industry: Ariana Rebello’s Journey”
Ariana Rebello an Indian-American working in media and fashion, Ariana is passionate about creating an inclusive environment for all. She believes that representation matters, and strives to ensure that everyone is seen and heard. She is constantly looking for ways to make the industry more accessible and open to diverse voices. She is actively working to create more inclusivity in the media and fashion industries.
Ariana is also a strong believer in the power of storytelling and the importance of amplifying diverse voices. She uses her platform to create a more inclusive environment and to create opportunities for people from all backgrounds and is committed to making sure that everyone is represented.
1.)Where did your love of fashion start?
My love for fashion began with my mother. She was a designer in Goa, India during the 90’s and when I was a kid, she made my dresses for all of the big moments in my life.
2.)Can you tell me about your journey in fashion and what made you create your own lane with your series “I Don’t Have Style Either”?
I noticed that the fashion industry was not as inclusive I thought it was. I grew up as a first generation American with no ties to the fashion industry in the US and I wanted to be involved in it. I decided that the only was to be included was to force my way in or create my own space and welcome others in myself. I Don’t Have Style Either gave me the opportunity to promote an ethnic and cultural mosaic for everyone to be a part of.
3). The representation of South Asians and Asian Pacific Americans in the fashion industry is lacking, whether it is on the runway or behind the scenes. There has been some improvement with more South Asian models such as Aishwarya Gupa, Ashley Radjarame, and Neil Varel being on the runway of some of this season’s more prestigious shows. What are some of the steps you feel can help put more South Asians at the forefront?
I believe that South Asian New York Fashion Week has been a key change in the way South Asians will be included in the fashion industry. Gold House has also done so much good for promoting and advocating for passionate Asian creators.
4.) No one has the same story in this industry, but many people of color share the similarities when it comes to being the only one represented in a room. Can you tell me about your journey as an American of Indian descent in this industry?
I have been lucky to have grown up feeling like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I felt too American for my Indian family and too Indian for my high school in Virginia. However, every micro aggression and every backhanded comment fueled my passion to change the way South Asians are viewed in media. I personally remember feeling particularly lost in my senior year of High School and reading Mindy Kaling’s debut autobiography. Her book made me feel seen in ways no one had. I realized that I wanted other kids to one day have that same drive to make the change they wanted to see in the world.
5.) Can you tell me who some of your role models in this industry or people you admire in the fashion world are?
My role models change monthly because there are so many inspiring people. This month I would love to shine a light on model, Nidhi Sunil who has been paving the way for Indian models for years. My newest role model would be Priya Kansara. She started acting very recently during the pandemic because she realized she needed to live out her true passions. She is now in a brilliant new movie, Polite Society, out now.
6.) Your series “I Don’t Have Style Either” is just fabulous with the range of guests with lively but very different personalities and range of different topics. Where do you see this season going? How are you using your platform to create a space for South Asians and Asian Pacific Americans?
This new season is going to be something a little different than everything you’ve seen before. Our message of inclusion and community is the same, but we will be really focusing on broadening the way fashion is used in EVERY field! I can’t give too much away but we are shooting a new episode with an influential and trailblazing South Asian podcast host coming soon!
7.) What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out in the fashion industry?
This advice was passed down to me by another role model of mine who hosts one of my favorite shows. He said “ keep your head down, work hard and be kind to everyone”. In any industry you’re in, but especially in fashion, that advice goes a long way.
You can find Ariana Rebello on her online series “I Don’t Have Style Either,” which is on Ny2C. The show is also available on TikTok and Instagram.