Local Dubai #Trendsetter – Malavika Varadan

In Talks With The Unstoppable Malavika Varadan

Before I was scheduled to interview Malavika Varadan, I had done a whole lot of research on her!  Aside from being an RJ, did you know she’s also interviewed major celebrities, sports personalities as well as politicians!   She is also amongst a few privileged people to be a tedtalks Talk speaker in Dubai, as well as a print ad model and was brand ambassador for Fitbit in 2014.


(Malavika with International Superstar Shah Rukh Khan!)

Malu- KAreena

(Malavika with Bollywood Superstar Kareena Kapoor Khan)


(Malavika TedxTalks, Video courtesy of Tedx Program)


(Aruma campaign with radio co-star Siddhartha Vohra)


(Malvika’s 2014 Campaign with Fitbit, image courtesy of www.thetezzyfiles.com)

So this was ALL the information I had on her before the interview. Needless to say, I was slightly overwhelmed by the thought of interviewing this amazing, multifaceted, multitalented, inspiring and role model of a woman (I’m sure Malavika’s blushing reading this compliment!)

However she totally put me and ease and we actually shared a lot of fun anecdotes and jokes throughout the interview.

Nadia Karmali – NK

Malavika Varadan – MV

NK – So Malavika, nice finally getting to interview you for my blog.  Should I call you Malavika or Malu as your listeners know you? 🙂

MV – Malavika’s fine, not many people actually call me Malu.

NK – So aside from RJing, interviewing famous celebrities, sports personalities and politicians, being a TedX Talk speaker, a previous spokeswoman for fitbit and modelling what are your other accomplishments? 

MV – I’m currently involved in teaching drama to children at a place called ‘ The Hive’, it’s honestly one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had.  Aside from teaching the children the basics, such as movement and reading narratives, we see them grow into these amazing confident people.  I think it’s partly to do with the fact that this is the only platform in their lives where they get to interact with adults as equals and on their own level.

NK – Who was your favourite person to interview?

MV – Without a doubt and no matter how cliched it may sound, Shah Rukh Khan!  There’s something about him, someone once said you can interview him for an hour and when asked what topics you discussed, you have no recollection!  This is how I’ve felt with him every time!  He has a way of being intelligent, charismatic and making you feel totally comfortable!

NK – Who were the politicians you’ve interviewed?

MV – I don’t really remember all of them, but one of them was Rajeev Chandarasekhar.  This was still at the beginning of my career when I was based in Bangalore, and he was an MP at that point of time.

NK – And what are your hobbies?

MV – Music, I love singing.  In fact me and some of my friends get together to jam once in a while.  We also perform at some bars and pubs, who’ll have us!  I also enjoy writing poetry mainly but also prose, but I’m a bit shy about sharing it with other people!  I also love travelling!

NK – So how did you get into RJing?

MV – It was completely by fluke.  There was a late nightspot on this radio station, which my friend was supposed to do, but he couldn’t for some reason and suggested me.  I was about 18, 19 and I did an audition, I went home and completely forgot about it because I didn’t think they’d hire me.  2 months later I got the job!

NK – How long have you been RJing for?

MV – It’s been about 10 years for me now. (This is when I suggest Malavika should celebrate her work milestone, she loved the idea!)

NK – Was there something in the musical element that drew you to the medium of radio?

MV – In a sense yes, my mum always had the radio on at home.  It was always tuned to ‘radio Ceylon’ which was the only station that played english music as well.  After a while there was also world space radio, which was satellite radio, which gave us more variety of channels to listen to.

NK – How does it feel being a role model and inspiration for women and girls?

MV – I honestly don’t think of myself as a role model. I’m just doing what everyone else does, it’s just that I have a medium through which I get to voice the same opinions that everyone else has.  Especially due to the reach of city101.6fm, which is about 1.6 million people!

NK – What did you study in college?

MV – Economics, Psychology and Sociology. In Bangalore there’s not just one concentration for a degree, but 3.

And now onto what my readers are dying to know about you, your fashion tastes!

NK – How would you describe your sense of style?

MV – I would say a little bold! I love vibrant and bold colours, like blacks, whites and reds, clothes with straight lines but also clothes with patterns and prints!  To me I don’t necessarily think of an accessory or article of clothing as separate, for me it’s more about ‘a look’ that’s being created. For example if I was to wear a retro dress, I would want the shoes, jewellery, hair and makeup to follow suit!  I don’t think of clothes as just clothes but costumes!  (You can see why I’m such a fan!)

NK – Do you get a clothing allowance from  work

MV – No I don’t, but we have a lot of tie ups with brands. So if we need an outfit for an event, we just ask them.

NK – What’s your favourite article of clothing/accessory that you can’t live without?

MW – Earrings

NK – And how many do you own exactly?

MW – I can’t even count how many! I wear them soo much that I end up wearing them out and then I have to add new earrings to my existing stock!

NK – Who is your style icon?

MV – I would say I really like the way Priyanka Chopra’s been dressing recently, but no one really.

NK – What’s your favourite brand?

MV – It generally differs on what the occasion is.  For events I love River Island, but for activewear I’m a Reebok girl and I love asics trainers!  They really are the best for a comfortable work out.

NK – Do you have a particular stylist for city101.6 fm events, or interviews that you conduct?

MV – We have a particular designer called Anjali K that we use.  We used her for the TOIFA awards, and the creations she came up with were absolutely stunning!  We had all given her a bit of a brief on the colours and styles we wanted, and left the rest up to her.

NK – So Malavika, what’s next for you, aside from sleep :)?

MV – Hmm…planning for my show tomorrow morning. It’s actually a bit of a science on how things work in radio broadcasting. There’s a lot of editing done to make it look and sound like a polished product.

We also have a lot of exciting summer campaigns happening, with city101.6 fm as well as more Bollywood shows and concerts.

On a personal front, the kids I teach acting to are performing Indianna Jones, on June 3 which is huge!

Also on the health and fitness front, I hope to be part of an exciting campaign in June.

I have to somehow fit in time for my husband DJ Chico, and would love to plan a diving holiday to South Africa and finally see ‘A Great White!’

About Malavika

Better known to most as RJ Malavika, catch her perky, bubbly unstoppable energy and voice, every morning from 6 – 10 am on city 101.6 fm.

Malu _ sid

Malavika has currently started her own site, to manage ‘her own brand’, ‘herself!’