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Meet Trisha Sakhuja-Walia: CEO of Brown Girl Magazine



Trisha Sakhuja with dark hair wearing a white dress with red stripes while kneeling down next to her small couch chair with her elbow on the chair.
Source: Trisha Sakhuja-Walia

Trisha Sakhuja-Walia is the co-founder and CEO of Brown Girl Magazine.

Brown Girl puts out digital diverse content for South Asians “to share an unabashed platform for self-expression, cultural anchoring, and dialogue.”

For the past 7 years, she’s worked to make Brown Girl more than an online platform. Although at the infancy of the company its targeted audience were South Asian women in the USA, it has expanded way past that.

Today, their platform is for South Asian people, regardless of age, gender, or location. In 2017, Trisha quit her full-time job to transform her once passion project, Brown Girl, into her career. In her eyes, Brown Girl was more than a publication, it was a vision.

What services does Brown Girl Magazine offer to their readers?

We are offering premium content that relates to young South Asians living in the diaspora, as well as a platform and community to voice their opinions, thoughts, and ideas. Essentially, we are a safe and open platform that caters to young South Asians.

Why are you working in this industry? What drew you in?

I’d always had an affinity with the news, I just never thought I would be officially working in it day in and day out. I’ve always had an interest in news and content curation. That interest has turned into the need and importance of storytelling and documenting our people’s present and history.

In the more recent future, it’s become a place for me to make sure we are documenting our stories so the next generation can understand what it was like for South Asian Americans.

How has Brown Girl Magazine been able to stand out from other online publications?

The biggest thing that helps us stand out is the fact that we’ve been able to ride this wave for almost a decade now. We’ve been very diligent in publishing and pushing content that we believe our community needs and benefits from. We’ve been the most consistent content platform there has been in the past decade.

Similar to BLENDtw, Brown Girl Magazine uses storytelling as a vehicle for community building and empowerment. Why do you think that method is so effective?

It allows readers and the everyday average user to engage with our content without having to scroll through heavy-duty news. It allows for easier user engagement.

You have acquired the shares of your two former business partners at the company, why did you want to continue and ultimately take over Brown Girl Magazine?

I believed in the value of the work that we were doing. For me, I’m always looking at Brown Girls’ potential 5 to 10 years from today. That’s what drew me in to quit my full-time job and pursue this whole-heartedly.

I myself have been with Brown Girl Magazine for 7 years, but this is the first year I went full time. No one at Brown Girl was pursuing this full-time up until one year ago. There was potential for us to grow but we need more bandwidth time and more than anything we need capital.

How has the mission of Brown Girl Magazine changed over time?

The mission actually hasn’t changed and I’m really excited about that part. The mission has always been to be a platform that empowers and informs South Asians.

I think the only thing we’ve done is evolve that mission, so it included other people. For instance, in the beginning, we started off as a portal for specifically young South Asian women living only in the United States.

A few years later, we realized that we were seeing traffic from different countries around the world. We were actually catering to South Asians living in the diaspora not just in the United States.

We are also catering to men and readers over 35. It’s beyond gender and age.

We’re a platform for South Asian people as a whole, living in the diaspora.

It’s the new year. What do you hope to see Brown Girl Magazine accomplish in the new year?

One of our biggest goals this year is to become fully sustainable. This is something we haven’t been able to do in the past and as a media company, it is a little harder, especially one that is run by women of color. Our big goal this year is to raise capital and to be sustainable.

On your CEO Note online, you state that BGM’s vision is to “To serve as an anchor for South Asians who believe in gender equality by remaining steadfast in publishing multimedia content.” Can you elaborate on the importance of this vision and your connection?

Something that we’ve been able to do and wanted to bring more of is the focus on all people regardless of their orientation, gender, background, or economic status.

Basically, to be a place that can generate excitement and user engagement regardless of who you are.

We want to be able to cater to everybody in whatever capacity we can through different forms of media.

What advice would you give to women who are intimidated to take the leap into the business world?

The number one thing is knowing you have financial support. That’s the only realistic way to do it because I’m not here to sell a dream.

I’m here to let women know that pursuing a business or a passion of yours is possible, but it’s only possible once you have financial support.

Having that financial security is first and foremost, so you are mentally, emotionally, and physically able to pursue your business without worrying if you could pay your next bill.

I do believe in anyone who is going to take that leap is to really ensure they are financially stable to take on that extra challenge of running a business.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about Brown Girl Magazine?

I think we are on the cusp of something great. Now, it’s just a matter of pushing forward and becoming sustainable in our community.

By: Vivianna Shields