Zoya Hussain on the Importance of Instagram Presence

What guarantees you a role in a film? While craft is obvious, a new surprising criterion is one’s Instagram presence. Actor Zoya Hussain, known for her breakout performance in Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz and the Disney+ Hotstar series Grahan, says she has been “dropped” from projects due to having fewer followers on the app.

Struggles of an Outsider

Zoya Hussain, who has also appeared in music videos like Prateek Kuhad’s Cold Mess and When Chai Met Toast, is currently seen in Manoj Bajpayee starrer Bhaiyya Ji. This marks her first theatrical release since her 2017 debut. Unlike star kids, Zoya wasn’t handed anything on a platter and didn’t have the luxury of a “marketing or PR push” backing her. In an interview with Indianexpress.com, Zoya opens up about her Bollywood journey, which has tested her patience, made her reflect, and given her the will to march on.

Zoya highlights the unfortunate reality that craft often has very little to do with success in the industry. After Mukkabaaz, all her releases came during the pandemic, with Bhaiyya Ji being her first theatrical release since. She explains that many actors who debuted around the same time have faced similar challenges, especially those who are not launched with a huge platform or marketed heavily.

The Instagram Dilemma

Zoya admits she has “zero Instagram game” and would much rather have a chat and meet people than engage on social media. She acknowledges that she has been dropped from projects in the past for either having fewer followers or not being well-known. This reflects a growing trend in the industry where social media presence can significantly impact casting decisions.

Staying Motivated Despite Challenges

Despite these setbacks, Zoya remains determined to stay true to her craft. She refuses to be stereotyped as an actor who only does smaller films and strives to be viewed as a credible actor. The industry’s focus on social media followers over talent is disheartening, but Zoya hopes this trend will change over time.

Zoya discusses the challenges of surviving in an expensive city like Mumbai while maintaining a healthy life outside of work. For outsiders, the struggle lies in being consistent, persistent, and keeping the joy within without becoming bitter. She emphasizes the importance of putting oneself out there and is trying to figure out how to do it effectively on social media.


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