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Vishakha Darbha

Vishakha Darbha

Meet multimedia journalist from Washington D.C., Vishakha Darbha

GirlsclubAsia-Vishakha Darbha-headshot

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a multimedia journalist working in the United States. I’m originally from New Delhi, India, but have spent the past five years roaming around different cities in the U.S., and I’m currently shuttling between Washington D.C. and New York City.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

My life has been a nomadic one so far, given the roving nature of my work. The longest time I have spent as a working professional is in Washington D.C. What I like about the city is that it’s small enough not to feel overwhelming, yet busy enough to feel like there are a million things to do. While it took me some time to warm up and settle into the city, given my undying love for New York, I grew to love D.C. The neighborhood I live in is definitely my favorite part — I have access to a massive park just behind my house, there are great restaurants and bars around, and I have a solid community of friends to hang out with on the weekends.

 

The best thing is the people — my work has introduced me to all kinds of people living in the city, and it has been a really interesting journey so far.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing is the people — my work has introduced me to all kinds of people living in the city, and it has been a really interesting journey so far. The worst thing would have to be how D.C. gets during election time. No one has the time or the space to talk about anything else but politics, and as someone who works for media organizations, I always end up feeling like I have no work-life balance.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Intense, challenging and rewarding

 

How did you start your career in art?

It was an accident! I moved to the U.S. for my master’s in Journalism, but somewhere along the way I decided to take a class in videography. And then I couldn’t look back. Since then, I’ve taught myself motion graphics, and now I’m also dabbling in audio. For me, the storytelling matters more than the medium, so bringing these different skills together has been an exciting and challenging experience.

 

For me, the storytelling matters more than the medium, so bringing these different skills together has been an exciting and challenging experience.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Fortunately, yes. I was lucky enough to have parents who wanted me to pursue my passions in whatever field I chose. My initial inspiration to get into the creative field came when I was 9 years old. My english teacher at that time would leave little notes for me when she corrected my creative writing papers, telling me that I had a gift and I shouldn’t give up on it. And so I didn’t.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I want to work on long form stories, whether that’s feature-length movies, writing a book, or working on a music album.

 

I want to work on long form stories, whether that’s feature-length movies, writing a book, or working on a music album.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

I would love to work on a movie with Lulu Wang! I think she has such a refreshing way of telling stories, The Farewell is one of my top ten movies of all time. Her movies are funny, but also incredibly moving. I would love to see that in action.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

My biggest inspirations. Starting from my mom, to my closest friends, to my professional circle, they don’t fail to motivate me to do better, and to be better.

 

My biggest inspirations. Starting from my mom, to my closest friends, to my professional circle, they don’t fail to motivate me to do better, and to be better.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

I heard of Homai Vyarawalla when I was in high school. She was one of India’s first female photojournalists. Her journey was fascinating to me, and I wanted to challenge norms and break boundaries like her.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

There are challenging aspects of working in a country that you’re not native to, and that is sometimes compounded with being a woman. The video world is definitely one that is predominantly white and male here in the U.S., so I have been in rooms where I’m the only woman and/or non-white person, which has been very alienating. A lot of my professional challenges have also come with me navigating a different culture and finding my voice within it. Having said that, I have a strong community of support, and have also always believed in finding my way no matter the circumstance. I hope to continue doing that, and in turn helping out other younger women, particularly women of color, who’re trying to make it in this profession.

 

If you believe in a story, bring it to life.

 

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

If you believe in a story, bring it to life. No idea is too small, too strange or too redundant. It’s yours to tell, and only you can tell it in your unique way!

 


What type of music do you like to listen to?

I listen to a really wide range of music, from hip-hop to chill r&b, to a lot of fusion South Asian music. My current favorites are Khalid (not the DJ, the singer) and SZA.

 

What’s your favorite local food spot?

Thip Khao, a Laotian restaurant just a 7 minute walk from my apartment in D.C. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

 

What question would you like us to ask the next artist?

What is your biggest motivating factor?

 

 

Photos and videos courtesy of Vishakha Darbha

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