Devesh Baheti on baring it all with The Naked Soul

The Naked Soul

Real, raw, and authentic, is how Devesh Baheti keeps it with his blog, The Naked Soul and that’s how he kept it in this interview with Social Samosa.

Most of the sponsored posts Deveshdoes are curated with a sense of aesthetic and authenticity in them, as he believes the edge comes naturally with the truth. And, a day in his life is as busy as a bee.

Hear it all from the horse’s mouth…

Looking back, where did it all begin?

When I look back, my tryst with Instagram began in 2012. It’s really funny to think of it that I actually didn’t even start my Instagram account – it was my twin who started it for me, and I just used it for one filter which was really popular back then. When I first started posting photographs, I took some time to realize the tips and tricks of the trade, and made up the rules as I went – till one day, I posted an excerpt from my diary. The written piece blew up and the traction I had overnight, made me recognize the laterals that the app provided me with – and thank God for that!

What’s in the name?

In my name is the juxtaposition that being naked brings. It’s about being transparent, bold, strong, vulnerable, invincible and invisible at the same time. Being naked comes with so much baggage – so much so that it takes guts to strip it down. I wanted exactly that contradiction in my brand – The Naked Soul!

What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?

I think my USP is that I’m honest – with the followers I influence and the brands I work with. I don’t work with clients that don’t understand or represent my chain of thought, line of living. It’s easy that way – I’m transparent. If it’s a sponsored post, I tell it as it is. If it is not, I still tell it as it is. And I think that’s the key. The edge comes naturally with the truth. And the fact that I follow up the brand integration in an aesthetic, authentic manner also helps, I guess. It’ll never be in your face – the promotion. It’ll be subtle, but impactful. And that’s how I like it.

Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?

The process keeps changing per campaign. If it’s a huge campaign that requires a lot of brainstorming, I sit down with my photographer, the brand and the agency involved and take notes on what can be done. We discuss ideas – from high production to stuff that is easily achievable. I have always wanted my platform to be easily accessible and achievable. Which is why, most of my photos are also shot on a phone – to keep it real. I think being real is how anyone can stay relevant. Manicured posts don’t interest or intrigue people these days. Reality does. And that is how I like to keep it. Real. Raw. Authentic.

How do you make moolah with your efforts?

Money depends on the brand, the campaign and what it stands for. Sometimes I do a campaign for less, because the brand is relatively new and doesn’t have the spending power, and then sometimes, I charge a lot. But then again, that money comes to you because you know your game. You know your reach. You know that what your audience has to offer is real because none of the followers are fake. The influence is real, and the engagement is real – something that is quite rare these days!

How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?

I think for a person who has a creative approach for whatever he does, this task becomes increasingly interesting with each campaign. If you see my posts, I don’t like advertising the product in the generic ways of having it take center stage and say that it is sponsored. Most of the posts I do are curated in a way that there is a sense of aesthetic in them. But at the same time, I make sure the focus on the brand isn’t sidelined. It’s got to have a balance – the approach has to be in a way that satisfies the brand spending that money on you, and you being able to convince people that you’re not a sellout.

One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile

The fact that I could take my mother on a sponsored trip with Vogue and get her to meet the fashion big-wigs from Anaita Shroff Adajania, Sabyasachi & Manish Malhotra will be something that I will cherish forever.

Weirdest brand brief/request ever

“Hey Naked, wanna do a shoot for us? Free clothes. No money. Reply if interested.” No joke.

If not blogging, you would be?

I’m an Aeronautical Engineer by degree, a Senior Copywriter at an Ad Agency and run The Pet Café along with my twin, Deven. I do lot of things, and I hope to keep things that way so I never have to be stuck in a rut.

Also Read: #Interview: I like to think of my age as an advantage: Dollie Solanki, The Bombay Brunette

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Have you seen @bankbazaar's posts which talks about young India's biggest aspirations based on a national study that they conducted? While the study shows that 80% of India's Millennials say that buying a House is one of their biggest aspirations, I was surprised to see that owning the latest gadgets and fashion was not that high on the priority list. Because in my life, this is quite a big aspiration. Fashion, to me, is more than just clothes. Fashion, to me, is expression. It’s communication. It’s representation. It’s an extension. And a reflection. Of my personality, of my beliefs. It in a way, speaks for me. Fashion, to me, has never been frivolous. It has added gravitas to my life, and enhanced the way I look at life. I never treat fashion as an unattainable quality, which is why, styling comes naturally to me. Sure, this aspiration is an expensive passion, but I’m well prepared. With whatever I earn – regardless of the platform, and how much ever, on Instagram or otherwise, a part of my income always goes into my glorious “Luxury Bucket List” account. This account has all my savings for all my luxurious needs, big or small. A business class trip, or a Louis Vuitton bag that I’ve listed over for a while – all these needs that have become necessities, need to be catered to. With whatever I save, over a period of time, I treat myself with what I’ve made. That way, splurging becomes easier, and all my fashionable needs are taken care of. When it comes to fashion, I want to own everything. The fashion giants that the world goes gaga about, and the niche brands that have an individual thought process behind each capsule they create. My goal with fashion is to always own what I need. And this isn’t coming from the brat that lives in me, but comes from a place of working hard for what you want. I don’t want to treat this passion as something that isn’t obtainable or a desire I can’t access. Which is what I want to inform you guys – whatever your dream is, it’s really important to invest in it and prepare for it financially, regardless of how many faces frown at your dreams in the process. Work hard, invest your savings and your dreams will come true!

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A day in your life….

Is challenging, interesting and feverish. I’m out by 9, clock in the working hours at the office, head out in lunch to finish shoots, come back and finish work on the professional front, head to the café, help my brother out, and then head home by 10.

Message/tips for upcoming bloggers

Be real. If you’re pretending to be someone else, the effort will wear out sooner or later. When you’re being you, it becomes easier to “influence” people. Find your quirk, stand out and cash in on your uniqueness. Trust me, it’ll work. Also, don’t buy followers – please.

Your Favorite Influencer

Kusha Kapilla, Dolly Singh & Mallika Dua.

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When I was a teenager, in school, I was intimidated by a lot of things. But most importantly, I was intimated about being judged. By everyone. About my behaviour, about my appearance, about my friend circle and about myself. I often found myself lying to fit into a group of people that I really wanted to befriend, which at that point wasn’t a really bad idea. To me, what was important at that time was to be around people. Presence, was of great comfort to me. Whether that was forced or natural, liked or disliked, meant or not, was of no importance to me. Kids are like that in high school aren’t they? In fact, forget high school. I know of full fledged adults who find that forced, unnaturally occurring relationship comforting. I grew very fond of those few friends who I had accounted and accustomed myself to love, believe and trust. Which immodestly and immediately widened my comfort zone. When I was in an environment that didn’t reflect the same mundane emotion, behaviour or existential pattern, I would immediately crumble. As a young teen I never fully understood what that was. I believed, for a very long time, for that feeling it to be the true bond of friendship that I’ve grown to appreciate and love. When I graduated from school and was placed in a college, I didn’t attend the same for a full week. I faked a fever, pretended to be sick and tried every trick in the book to avoid stepping into college. Reason being fairly simple. I didn’t have the same environment that I was used to. Two days later I mustered up the courage to get to college after being confronted by an angry Indian parent. I went into my class room, feeling anxious and nervous. I sat alone on a table that was placed next to a window and appeared visibly lost. I did the same thing for 3 days. The 4th day, one classmate took pity on my lonesome self eating lunch alone, and joined me. I talked. After 3 days. I came to a realization of the same, very recently. We, as humans are so peculiar. We crave for a change while being so dearly affectionate of our comfort zones. (Water resistant jeans, sponsored by @myturms; caption continued in comments)

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The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand

To be as glorious as the hustle I’m willing to put in today!


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