Unapologetically Herself: The Story of Joty Kay

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“I’m going to conquer it all,” says Joty Kay, of her prominence as an Indian-American who is breaking the stereotypes of her people in Hollywood as well as inspiring young Indian women. “We don’t all have accents and get arranged marriages,” Kay says of American-born Indian women, “and I want to break every Indian norm and barrier in the community.”

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In addition to having a 69K following on Instagram, Joty has benefitted from her work on Anarkali as the character Navi, the People’s Choice winner for Miss India America, and her recent work on Joty Kay Uncut, her popular podcast.

Joty is bold and fearless when it comes to owning her past and her current success, and she’s come a long way from growing up feeling alone and different in a heavily Indian-populated town. Reminiscing of her Vine days, where she amassed 100 million views, she says, “in the midst of finding my identity and passion, Vine helped me escape my reality and generate followers who liked me for my comedy and thought I was funny. Making others laugh was like an escape. Social media helped me gain the confidence I lost at home.”

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Those Vine days were the result of taking a semester off of college, “I gained 100,000 followers for making funny little videos. I then discovered the power of social media.” After receiving a degree in Business Administration, Kay felt “empty...I knew I needed a change...my mindset and goals were too big for the town I lived in. My situation at home also made it easy for me to want to leave.”

That situation was a painful realization that her father had begun heavy drug use, starting a period of her life that to this day, was rock bottom. Says Joty, “I was just losing myself in the process. I called one of my friends who lived in L.A. and asked if I could stay with her until I figured things out...I left and never looked back.”

Owning yourself

Of her current podcast, Kay says of its reach, “it’s the uncut raw version of me. I want young girls to look up to me and see that it’s ok if you are not perfect, as long you own that shit. Own who you are and you’ll never have to worry about what anyone says about you ever again. You’re not an embarrassment.” For Joty, her “ownership” journey has led her from feeling out of place and like a black sheep in her hometown and family to thriving in L.A. “Once I stopped seeking validation from others,” Kay says, “there was no looking back.”

Podcasting, however, almost didn’t happen--or rather, didn’t happen for a year after she had already bought the equipment, “I was being interviewed by someone and they loved my story and personality. They mentioned I should start a podcast because I was so funny and opinionated. I had no idea what podcasting was. I bought a microphone that day, but it sat in my closet for one year.”

That year soon faded until that one fate-driven day when Joty “just felt really strongly about a subject and wanted to talk about it. I then searched "how to start a podcast" and recorded my first episode--and it had 10,000 listens within a week!”

The name for the podcast, Joty Kay Uncut, came to her because she is unapologetically “herself.” The word unfiltered was too long so she went with uncut, because, as Kay says, “there is no holding back with me. I say what I want and how I feel.”

Joty Kay uncut

Her radio show focuses on a variety of issues from the scourge of addiction to the toxic nature of broken families and how to make things normalized amongst Indian communities. Other topics are lighter and have that Joty Kay humor to them, like how to find a good man, how to avoid the “unsolicited dick pic,” and dating in L.A., “my parents want me to still marry someone of my own race but I can’t even find a good man period!”

Now that it seems like everyone is a podcaster, what sets Joty apart? “How can I be different?” Kay asks, “that sometimes makes me feel a little bit pressured, but I remind myself everyone has their own lane and not everyone is me. I am what sets me apart.”

Kay fields a number of dating questions--mostly from her Indian audience--since it’s not talked about in the community, “we don’t get the sex talk.” But on Joty Kay Uncut, no topic is off limits, and she yearns to put and keep the “uncut” and unfiltered spirit in her work.