WION exclusive: Prajakta Koli: Winning an Emmy with Michelle Obama still feels impossible; she’s so humble

WION Web Team
New DelhiWritten By: Pallabi Dey PurkayasthaUpdated: Oct 31, 2021, 06:50 PM IST


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"It's almost like she didn't know she is Michelle Obama. And that sounds normal. She walks into a room, she gives you a hug. She talks to you like you're a friend," Indian digital star Prajakta Koli aka MostlySane tells WION in an exclusive interview. 

Always the one to start her digital interactions with a wide smile. Forever chirpy.  Eager to sprinkle her positivity all over those millions of followers she has on social media and so humble that you almost forget that she’s just won a Daytime Emmy for her documentary with Michelle Obama, ‘Creator For Change’. "I still think it has not happened," Prajakta Koli—better known as MostlySane—tells us during our telephonic interview. 

Although her acting career has taken off full swing—she has her second season of ‘Mismatched’ on Netflix, and then there’s the Bollywood debut in the multi-starrer ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’—Prajakta says she would always be a content creator first and don other hats later. 

In this exclusive conversation with WION, the digital star spills some serious beans on her acting ambitions, casually hanging out with ‘the’ Michelle Obama and explains in what ways was Varun Dhawan helpful in her debut big Bollywood project. Excerpts from the chat:

Take us back to how it all started for you—YouTube videos! Why was it important for you to be heard on a video-sharing platform? So take us back to that moment.

I didn't really want to make content because I wanted to be seen or I wanted to be heard. I just wanted to make content because I didn't know what else to do. I was failing at being a Radio Jockey and that used to be my dream job, and it wasn't working. So making videos actually came as a safety net, because that’s the only thing I could fall back on right then.

You have worked with so many popular personalities from around the world. How was how has that journey been for you?

It was amazing! I mean, one of the favorite parts of my job is the fact that I get to collaborate with people from different fields, people from different parts of the world, people from different schools of thought, people from, you know, people who have lived life very differently than I have. Overall, just amazingly creative people from around the world. And I feel like that God has been amazingly kind to me.

When I started off, I never thought that I would be on YouTube or the overall digital content creation would open a new door for me.

But, I'm very happy. Honestly, one of my favorite meeting has to be creating content. 

I know you have talked about Mrs. Michelle Obama in the past. But, we still want to know how she is like when the camera's not rolling? Has she has she shared any words of wisdom with you? What have you learned from her that resonates with you even to this day?

I think the best part about it was that I don't think she's very different when the cameras’ not rolling. And she's extremely relatable. She's as real as she seems to us via, you know, all the content that we see (on her). Michelle Obama is exactly like that. And I think that was one of my biggest lessons to just see someone like that.

It's almost like she didn't know she is Michelle Obama. And that sounds normal. She walks into a room, she gives you a hug. She talks to you like you're a friend.

As if it’s nothing. I remember feeling so nervous as she entered the room. And, after she came inside the room, I think within a few seconds, she came and hugged all of us and then immediately all those thoughts that she was ‘the Michelle Obama’ and I was nervous: it just wasn’t there anymore. It was as if we were just a bunch of girls sitting down talking about girls’ education. And I think that is such a beautiful quality to have—to have achieved so much in life, at least where she is right now. But, still have your feet solid on the ground. I think that was that was a beautiful thing.


You have won the Outstanding Daytime Non-Fiction Special for ‘Creator of Change’ featuring the former first lady of America, and for an issue you genuinely seem to be care about. Has the feeling sunk in yet? How's the feeling of winning such a massive award?

I don't think I can process something like this. It was way too big; way too big a possibility for me in my head. But, I still believe that has not happened. At the same time, I'm very grateful that I get to be in a position and live a life like this. So, it's just a whole lot of gratitude and I think more motivation to keep doing (good) work. 

You have such an amazing on-screen chemistry with Rohit Saraf in ‘Mistmatched’ (Netflix). How did you guys manage to exude such effortless charm in your debut outing together? Because I feel like there is a proper friendship between the two of you that goes beyond work.

No, no. I mean, I remember when I first met the entire cast and crew. I met the director first, and Rohit was my first friend and on set; we got along with him. And that still prevails. I mean, he's one of my closest friends. I love him so much. I think he's so talented. He's such a beautiful person. I think both of us love complex issues. Both of us were very invested in the different shades of Dimple and Rishi (their respective character names on the show). I think what sort of helped us hold on to the characters and the chemistry on screen.

For your Bollywood debut, you are working with a stellar star cast that involves senior actors as well as your contemporaries. So how's it working with them? Were you nervous? What was the feeling like? What is the whole vibe like between all of you?

I was extremely nervous. We started shooting in November 2020, which was last year. And I remember when I was supposed to fly with everyone for the first schedule. I was extremely nervous. I mean it was going to be my first time meeting, no one had met everyone anyone before. I had just met our director because I started meeting with him before I met him a couple of times during the process. However, I've met Varun Dhawan a few times before that. Honestly, I think he has a huge role to play in the fact that I was very, very comfortable when I was on set because he was extremely warm, but even before that. And then I met everyone and you know, it was just I feel so grateful and I feel so blessed that I just to be on time when again where people are just so amazing. Everyone's was so nice. Everybody was so accommodative.

Everyone was so warm. I mean, from Kiara and Anil sir to Neetu ma’am and everyone on set. We're always laughing. It's always a really good time to be there. It was like everyone was one team, and it was like a family when we would all sit down. But I think it is a beautiful collaboration. That was wonderful.

I think it's safe to say that you are a proper actress now. So what lies ahead of you as a content creator? Will that take a backseat now? Or are you going to be one of those digital content creators who will also act in mainstream films and OTT platforms?

I honestly think that everything that I get to live and experience and work with today stems from the fact that, you know, people saw me on YouTube. I have an audience that supports me and hold me up and helps me reach new places. And I am completely aware of that. I know that creating content would be like cutting off the golden goose and I would never want to do that. Also, I love shooting videos, I absolutely love it! It's one of my favorite things to do about my job.


As much as I love acting, because I associated back in college—I've been an actor for many years now—but content creation remains very close to my heart. So I think we're going to juggle.

You are someone who's extremely positive—I have read people's comments on your posts—and people look up to you when it comes to positivity. So how do you deal with the negativity  in your life—both online and in the real world?

Honestly, as far as online trolls are concerned, I don't deal with it, it's not worth my time. I'm very blessed. And I'm extremely grateful because I get a lot of love online. And I'm very proud to always say that I have followers that are very supportive. So, if it's hate online, I really don't care. It's not my problem. But, otherwise, I think negativity in life, I'm very blessed to have a close circle of people who are most amazing human beings I've ever met. My friends and my family I think are just, you know, I feel a lot of happiness to have them generally in life.


I think, to be very honest, I don't deal with a lot of negativity in life. And as much as that sounds like a show. I am surrounded by the most amazing people.