Interview with Yeshi Gaga
Yeshi Dolma Lama or famously known as Yeshi Gaga is a Nepali YouTube fashion blogger, comedian, and makeup artist. She talked with Arun Budhathoki personally to share her world.
1) How did you start your journey as a fashion blogger? What’s the secret behind the name: Yeshi Gaga (don)?
Since I was a kid, I used to create my own look. I believe I started the trend of quarter pants in my community by simply folding my long jeans. At the age of 13, I took a pair of scissor and completely changed the look of my plain jeans. When I turned 15, I even went blonde. I think I always had a passion for looking and trying something daring and different. I guess it became my fashion which people seemed to love.
When I realized many girls admired the way I looked and wore and inquired about my appearance, I figured I needed to share my limited knowledge with them. Thus, I started doing some dress reviews and shared tips to wear certain dress "wardrobe" in various ways.
Once I did a hairdo of Lady gaga from her music video, "Poker face", which was a bow bun and I posted it on facebook. I noticed people commenting me as the “Yeshi Gaga” on that picture and for a year in every video or picture I posted. So I decided to keep it as it was something given by people who loved me and my work.
Whereas, "DON" was given by my mother. I used to always hang out in a group. Any given day, I would have 9-10 girlfriends in my house and "DON" is what my mom called me as a leader of this pack. Just say, we used to cause a lot of trouble (hehe).
2) Who’s Yeshi Dolma Lama? Where were you born? When did you move to Germany? Moved permanently to Germany?
Yeshi Dolma is just any normal girl who is a dreamer and views the world the with her own perspective with no fear. I was born and raised in Boudha, KTM. I came to Germany 6 years ago. I would never think of moving to any other country besides Nepal 'permanently'.
To be honest (TBH) there isn’t a single day I haven’t missed my country because truly there is no place like home.
3) What does it mean to put on makeup and dress up? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
As I mentioned you earlier, I love creating my own sense of clothing which I feel comfortable in or just say feel 'Me' so I loved dressing up since I was young. I think I always loved to put on simple things in different ways. I like experimenting I guess. I always wanted it to be my style. So dressing up means a lot to me because it reflects me. Make up for women has been in trend since ancient times. Somehow I feel it gives me confidence when I look pretty. I always follow the trend in a fashion magazine or social media and I like to draw my own style within it. It gives me a sense of ownership and also helps me to be up to date with the ongoing trend.
For me, my own creativity of knowing how that trend looks good on me and finding ways to change to make it my own style is my inspiration.
4) What’s the process for makeup/hair/nails tutorials? Did you take any training for it?
The process for beauty tutorials is very easy. Because I’m teaching people something that I already know. But the nerve-wracking part is editing, lighting, and voice-over. When people watch any beauty tutorials, I don’t think anyone knows how difficult it is for us to make a single video. It’s easy to apply your makeup in front of a mirror as you can sit whatever pose you feel comfortable in but during filming these videos, there are certain rules that need to be followed. I have to always make sure my video is not out of focus, lights are perfect and that my work is being recorded clearly. So the hardest part for me is to check these technical issues while doing tutorials.
I took training for hairdressing from HABIBS. I wanted to take further training for beauty and makeup, but unfortunately, I had to leave for Germany. But if I return Nepal anytime soon, I’m definitely planning to continue my further training.
5) What was your first YouTube video? How has it changed your life?
My first video was a hair tutorial. That included 4 Kpop hairstyles. After posting that tutorial, a lot of young viewers tried the hairstyle on themselves and tagged me in their pics. I felt so proud and happy that people were appreciating my skill and benefiting from it.
I have been ridiculed for looking the way I do especially my blonde hair by our society. For me, people loving the way I look and complimenting my blonde hair was an assurance that I am doing something right so it kinda boosted me to continue doing what I do. Technically, it didn’t matter what people said about my hair style or color but seeing the love of people towards the way I look, it really added to my confidence.
6) Who’s your inspiration?
Have you seen my mother? I have grown up seeing her try various outfits like lehenga, midi denim skirts, faux fur oversized jacket, oversized sunnies and also in such a matching ways. She knows how to look good and what looks good on her and tries crazy ways to come up with her own style. At home, there are like 30 thick albums, ama ko pics only, and every time I go through those pics, it feels like I’m looking at a vintage fashion magazine. She has always been very stylish. So yeah, my mom is truly my biggest inspiration.
7) Can you tell us a bit about your mom and Tenzin Tsenlek?
Well, I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t know my mom. Especially after the 'Kya bejjat' skit that we posted on my YouTube channel. I mean of course she was well-known way before I was even born, but as she has mentioned in “Mom tag” video, she always wished to have younger viewers/fans. My mom is an artist, a business woman, very superstitious (which is a no surprise for Nepali moms) and of course a super cool Ama. I think she is the perfect example of 'today’s generation mom'. Growing up listening to her struggling days, really tears my heart apart, but seeing her so strong now...she has set a great and tough example to follow.
Tenzin Tsenlek is someone who is very close to me. He is the gem of all my comedy skits. I can’t imagine someone playing the role of my skits characters other than him. He’s very shy in person. Very sensitive. Self-taught cook. Tenzin tsenlek is the opposite of Nikhil’s character and sometimes I feel like Suntali is his spirit animal, because most of the things Suntali does or say in the set, is not scripted. Trust me, I have no idea who he tries to mimic or from where that “nakkalipan” & “chulbuli pan” comes from. (weird right?)
8) Where do you get ideas for your comedy videos? How long does it take to make one?
Our life is a big set and we’re the actors, but the only thing that’s missing is the director and editor. So, I just pick one of my memories from old days and present it as a comedy skit. I write my own scripts and if you ask me how I write all these scripts? I still have no idea. I just take a pen somewhere from my drawer a notebook with 2-3 empty pages and I just write what comes into my mind. I pick one memory, ani tyo bela bhaeko conversation yaad garchu and tyo manchey ley esko satta yo bhaneko bhae? It would have been so funny bhandai I write my scripts. Situations are real, words were also real. Only dialogue delivery and punchlines were added and the comedy video was made.
I write all my scripts and characters in my head. So while performing those characters are like pulling them out of my memory. I remember all the lines and how to say it also.
If the whole comedy video had me only then, it would have finished by day or two but Tenzin Tselek and his Nepali is whole another problem. He has never acted before, he has poor Nepali so having him act, deliver lines and speak Nepali is not an easy task. It takes 3-4 days just to shoot his part which is kinda good as many bloopers emerges from it. I still remember he asked to give him 2 weeks to prepare for "Suresh sanga chiya" script. It took him 3 weeks and still didn’t get it right. Yup, 3 weeks. Check the bloopers.
9) How it feels to make a cover video on famous K-pop songs (dance)? Are you inspired by the Hallyu wave?
I’ve always dreamed of becoming a kpop star since I saw my first kpop music video. It was “My name by Boa" but “Passion by se7en" became my favorite K-pop song. I actually made the gloves by cutting off its finger part to look like the way he wore in the video, put on some bandana pretending it was a Durag. I was crazy about the song so much so that as soon as it aired on tv, I will put on all these accessories and dance along with the video in full volume. I cannot even sing the song because I have no knowledge of the Korean language but still I used to sing with whatever words came to my mind. Thinking today, It does make me laugh. Today, I have a great platform like Youtube and facebook, so I love sharing my passion with viewers. It makes me happy as well as entertains others.
When making my dance cover videos, I take 3 months to learn all the lyrics, dance steps, choose outfits, makeup & hairdo. Let's forget about the time consumed while editing. That's another hassle. I really love to make more videos like this but it is a very very long process. And I love everything that is Korean related, from music, dramas, movies, beauty products and even food. Yes, I am very much inspired by the Hallyu wave.
10) How’s life in Germany? Do you have fans more in Nepal or there? What is it like to be a star?
There is no other place like home but Germany is a great country for luxury and I chose to come here. I wanted to experience life on my own terms independently. Even though there are so much luxury and opportunity, the familiarity, and fun I could have in Ktm is nowhere to be found. I could sing all night long in Ktm, good tasty food 24/7, surrounded by friends every day. I really miss all of it.
All my videos were shot and uploaded after I came to Germany. So I was not so fortunate to experience fans from Nepal physically. I contact all my followers from social media and most of them are Nepalese but I cannot confidently tell you if they are currently living in Nepal. I get many emails from Nepali fans from USA, England, Europe, Canada, Israel, Kathmandu. All I can say is yes I have fans mostly from Nepal.
I still remember after the success of sir and student part 2, I and Tsenlek went to a Nepali party in Germany. I feel like people there acknowledged us. They wanted to speak with us but was little unsure and hesitant. One of them asked us "Are you guys Hari & Nikhil? and I replied "Ho hami nai hu" :D They were so happy and shared kind words, took pictures with us. Some girls were touching my hair and asking if it was real or fake. It is little unreal and weird feeling but the amount of love coming my way is just overwhelming and so rewarding. I really feel happy when people talks about my skills such as acting, dancing, and so on rather than my hair and makeup.
11) Is your life and expenses for YouTube videos sustainable? Have you made a profit from YouTube? Any brands approached you?
Youtube is a great platform for an artist like me to share my skills and get feedback from all over the world. My mother is in the entertainment business and she never worked for money. She is very passionate about what she did and gave her 100%. It is the same thing with me. I get to invest my creativity, innovate my skills and entertain thousands of people. That's all it really matters to me. For example: in youtube videos, if there is copyright infringement, I do not get money. Despite these factors, I use many Nepali songs in my comedy videos. My primary goal is to entertain people with my talents which I believe I have some, It has never been about money making. If youtube gives me some advantages then I am happy to take it as a reward that's all.
When I was young, my family always give away bags and bags full of clothes to village girls every year. I think it is just that blessing and karma that today I am approached by so many clothing companies to review their clothing and I don't get to shop anymore.
12) Your most popular video on YouTube? Worst one? How do you deal with haters?
My most popular video undoubtedly is “Kya bejjat” because it includes my mom but most talked about is probably “Sir and student 1&2”. Every video is like my baby. I love them and invest a lot of time and energy to make each one of them so I actually don't have any worst one. That's for me. I am sure there will be some viewers who may provide more input on this matter. At the beginning, I used to take bad comments by heart. It really hurts when I invest so much and the response is not as I expected. My family and friends ask me to ignore these negative comments but it wasn't easy for me. So, I decided to write them. I wrote them asking "Why are you so mean to me?" “What is the reason behind all this hate?” 80% of the time the reply was "OMG you replied to me” or “I was just fooling around" …… I realize maybe they just want to talk to me or looking for attention. Believe me, I’ve turned many haters to my friend by just simply writing to them.
13) What does it mean to be an NRN? Struggles? Opportunities?
For me, NRN means being away from home. Struggles are that you are alone, away from home, you miss family, friends, streets, food, fun. Opportunities are that I can be independent, learn life lessons, advanced studies, work and yeah 24 hrs electricity and the internet from which I was able to upload and share my videos. Being away from family and taking charge of life is a life lesson so that's another benefit too.
14) What is beauty to you?
Beauty is believing in yourself. We see and listen this media around us and believe this is how we need to look like and we look for others to make us feel beautiful. That's why people are spending so much on fashion and beauty but cannot find self-satisfaction. The reason why is because to feel beautiful and satisfied, it should come from a person within. It is all in our head. Wearing makeup is not a bad thing neither is not wearing one. End of the day, we should love own in any way we want to look because what we believe about ourselves is what others believe about us. If we don’t love ourselves as we are right now then how can we expect anyone else to love us?
15) What future plans you have? Are you holding any event in Kathmandu soon?
I really am dying to head back home. It's been 6 long years. Once I am in KTM, I wanna meet and greet everyone at a special event hosted by me. I am still working on K-pop dance video, comedy videos, hosting a contest on my facebook page but it does take a long time. I love hosting a contest on facebook via my page "Do it To it" as it is a great way to meet people and make more friends.
I would not say anything more as the return of "Do it To it" is going to be a big surprise.
16) Things you miss about Nepal
I never thought I would miss very little things about Nepal. I miss having credit with shopkeepers, hanging out with friends in the junction and talking about life, riding a bike during Nepal band, during load shedding, hanging out with family under candlelight and singing, boudha ko lafing. There are just too many things I miss. Who knew these memories would bring a smile on face every time I think about it.
17) Any message for Nepali youths?
I think living abroad has its own advantages but if you are unable to move to other countries then truly you are not missing out anything special. We are full of talents and have the ability to make a life anywhere so don't be discourage if you don't get to go abroad.
Study hard, follow your heart and passion. You will always be on right path and happy.