At TikTok, we're all about celebrating our amazing community, and from 18 July to 17 August there is an important calendar moment taking place - South Asian Heritage Month! Now in its third year, it seeks to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian cultures, histories and communities, and is a chance for us all to understand the diverse heritage and cultures that continue to link the UK and South Asian communities.
To kick things off, our creator spotlight for this week is the fabulous @mehek.mp4! She's been making waves on TikTok with her cultural commentary and her relatable content so it's no surprise that our community simply can't get enough of her.
More than that, Mehek's goal on TikTok has been to shine a light on her experience as a South Asian Muslim woman. From the perks of the British accent, to the struggles of fasting whilst at work during Ramadan, Mehek's openness and honesty has made a real impact on our community, whilst emphasising that these are important conversations which need to be had.
Alongside this, Mehek's content is also about appreciating the little things - something which we couldn't agree more with!
Having been chosen as one of our 22 Creators to Watch in 2022, Mehek's trajectory has firmly been on the up this year and we can't wait to see where she goes next! We sat down with her to discuss what South Asian Heritage Month means to her, and what first inspired her to try out TikTok....
What does South Asian Heritage Month mean to you?
South Asian Heritage Month is very much as its conception, it’s only the third year it’s been running! But as they say, better late than never. The focus on South Asian Heritage Month makes me feel like our struggles, history and cultural presence are getting more visibility (but there is certainly more to be done!). South Asians have had an important impact on the foundation of Britain, and I think our radical past is often overlooked by many. This is starting to change and the creation of South Asian Heritage Month is a huge example of that. As a South Asian born in the West, I have dealt with my fair share of internalised racism and I’m really firmly in a place where I’m embracing my culture so unapologetically. For me, it motivates me to learn more and help bring to light the positive contributions of all different South Asians across the world.
What first inspired you to create TikTok?
As cliched as it sounds, I started TikTok with no major motivations in mind, but it quickly turned into something I could never have imagined. I started to see TikTok has a place to engage with and learn about so many different subjects. In particular, I saw a community of WOC that I deeply resonated with and as I grew more confident, I started to share my own experiences as a South Asian Muslim woman. Joining TikTok has helped me grow and really given me a foundation to build myself in the creative world (an industry that is, traditionally, very inaccessible for WOC). Reflecting back, it’s really changed my career and personal trajectory.
Why do you think TikTok works for your content? TikTok has really made a lot of important discussions accessible in a way that wasn’t present on social media before. This coincides, very nicely, with my personal goal which is to make conversations about representation, cultural commentary, race and different forms of discrimination more commonplace. It’s something that is accessible to people on a day-to-day basis and is a great starting point for people to go ahead and learn more. It’s also a great place for me to express my personal style and thoughts unapologetically.
What is your goal on TikTok?
So I’ve achieved one of my goals on TikTok! I wanted to engage with the wider South Asian diaspora and make certain topics more accessible. I’ve always felt like we’ve been discouraged from discussing certain topics, and collectively, we’re making a huge effort to change that. I’ve also connected with other diasporas groups across the UK and it’s been wonderful to learn about similarities in our struggles but also appreciate our individual differences. Going forward, my goal is to take my content to the next level, learn more and take my audience with me on that endeavour. I want to aid in keeping these important discussions going and highlighting South Asian resistance but also want to showcase joy in our culture, art and more!
What other creators South Asian creators are on your For You feed?
Salwa Aziz - One of the funniest creators on the app. Period.
Real Maharani - Has a voice of an angel!
Farah Hussain - Everyone's favourite TikTok mum with the much needed motivation a
lot of South Asian women need!
Unzela Khan - Come across her recently, but have learnt so much from her content
What do you love most about the TikTok community?
Aside from the funniest commentary you’ll ever see, TikTok is a place for literally everything. I love the diversity of thought on my fyp It’s given me a greater visibility into other marginalised communities, challenged my thoughts and perceptions and made me deeply reflect on so many topics. Plus, it’s connected me with so many insightful and creative people!
What is your favourite TikTok you have made to date and why?