Beauties & The Gossip: How Two Friends Navigated the Be A PodcaSTAR Competition

The ‘beauties’ behind Beauties & The Gossip Podcast - Shalini S Nair (left) and How Jing Yi (right) (PHOTO: One Click Studio SG)

In the podcasting realm, the dynamic duo making up Beauties & The Gossip step out as rising stars with their Generation Z-based content. Follow the ‘beauties’ as they navigate the competition, showcasing their passion, creativity, and resilience along the way.

The ‘beauties’ behind Beauties & The Gossip Podcast - Shalini S Nair (left) and How Jing Yi (right) (PHOTO: One Click Studio SG)

If you were left in a room with a friend you have not met after a long time, what would you do? Dive straight into catching up, reminisce about the old times, or simply enjoy each other’s company? 

For How Jing Yi, an 18-year-old Mass Communication student in Republic Polytechnic  (RP), and Shalini S Nair, a 20-year-old student at Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), and alumni of RP, it is to start a podcast on Spotify! 

Reunited by fate at the Mediacorp Be A PodcaSTAR boot camp in late June of 2023, Jing Yi and Shalini seized the opportunity to embark on a new creative venture together. 

Drawing on their shared background in emceeing and a passion for storytelling, they dove headfirst into the world of podcasting, facing challenges, forging partnerships, and ultimately triumphing in the fiercely competitive arena of the competition.

From Emceeing to Podcasting

Spreading sparks of joy and rhythm as Jing Yi and Shalini take the stage for their very first emceeing gig together at Ignite Music Festival 2022! Sparking friendships and collaborations! (PHOTO: How Jing Yi)

The reason Jing Yi signed up for the competition was driven by her passion for emceeing and radio, which led her to explore the uncharted territory of podcasting with a click of a few buttons. “I really wanted to join for the exposure as I’m someone who loves to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new,” Jingyi explained, further citing the appealing factor of the winning prize of having a one year contract with Mediacorp.

Jingyi shines bright once again as she takes the stage as the emcee for a series of school events, culminating in Republic Polytechnic’s Open House 2024. From orientation sessions to campus tours, Jingyi’s warm presence leaves a lasting impression on all who attend. (PHOTO: Edmund Lau Poh Jun)

Her eagerness to try out podcasting was shared with Shalini, whose own passion was ignited when she first joined RP’s podcasting club – Radiate909. Signing up for the competition also gave Shalini the chance to act on her long-standing desire to start her own podcast. 

Jing Yi and Shalini became familiar faces to be seen together on stage. Emceeing once again, they bring an electrifying energy to the stage, seamlessly guiding the audience through an evening of creativity, inspiration, and celebration. (PHOTO: How Jing Yi)

Opportunities like these did not come easy. Shalini emphasised on seising the right moment as she mentioned: “When the opportunity came, I took a chance and applied for the competition.” Grab the opportunity and go far! 

This reunion brought forth a partnership between the two. From being on stage with microphones in hand as emcee partners, to being behind microphones in a studio as podcasters. 

Marking the soft launch of the much-anticipated Beauties & The Gossip Podcast, offering a tantalising glimpse into the world of glam, gossip, and everything in between.  (PHOTO: Shalini S Nair)

“We reconnected and decided to enter the competition together since we had the natural synergy as previous emcee partners,” shared Shalini. “We got an email stating that we were part of the Top 10 selected for the competition. So we launched our own channel on Spotify.” 

Sharing the same sentiments as Shalini, the two E’s – Exposure and Experience – sparked Jing Yi’s excitement to be “part of something as life-changing as this!” Together, they formed the Beauties & The Gossip Podcast as the ‘beauties’ and the brains. 

Binding their beauty and brains 

With a shared goal in mind, Jing Yi and Shalini went head-first into crafting their art, but even the ‘beauties’ do not get a free pass from challenges and hardships. 

“The first ever podcast entry was tricky,” shared Jing Yi. 

Shalini and Jing Yi had met up to discuss the branding of their podcast. The duo discussed the type of content they wanted to put out, and decided on the theme through putting themselves in the audience’s shoes, and understanding what type of topics that their audience will be interested in. It did not come easy for them, but their perseverance kept them going. 

Challenge after challenge, they finally landed on their biggest dilemma – the podcast name. Jing Yi listed out the questions that they came up with during their brainstorming session: What name has not been used? What name would sound catchy? What name would describe their podcast content and personality best?

Finally, Beauties & The Gossip was decided by the duo after careful consideration, being inspired by the famous American drama series released in 2007, Gossip Girl. The ‘Beauties’ were referring to the duo, who also had similar interests in topics of conversation – mainly celebrity gossip and the lessons that are imparted from the plethora of it.Thus, the ‘Beauties’ (Shalini and Jing Yi) & ‘The Gossip’ (lessons from celebrity gossip). 

Their official Instagram page! Beauties & The Gossip wanted their Instagram to give off Gossip Girl vibes. (PHOTO: @beautiesandthegossip)

The theme of their podcast content for the first episode was also modelled after hearing about the current celebrity gossip they heard online. The duo found Selena Gomez’s latest song release called ‘Single Soon’ relatable, and reached the same consensus to do an episode on societal standards in relationships, even bringing in the trending tabloid drama surrounding Selena Gomez’s previous relationship with Justin Bieber.

“We wanted to do a podcast on life lessons we can learn from celebrity gossip,” shared Shalini.The public only shone light on the drama but never the lessons – Jing Yi and Shalini made it their responsibility to fight this. After that, the ‘Beauties’ met up to describe the flow of the content and do a test run to forge their chemistry for recording. That day, the duo finalised their script, booked a studio and recorded their first podcast. Shalini handled the editing and submitted their first episode called ‘Standards, Love Languages & Selena Gomez’.

Dive into juicy topics of standards in relationships, love languages, and the one and only Selena Gomez with your ‘beauties’ on their very first podcast episode on spotify! (Photo: Beauties & The Gossip Podcast on Spotify)

Nothing comes easily

From then on, everything was smooth sailing…Not. 

More and more obstacles hindered Jing Yi and Shalini. The duo had faced multiple challenges as a team and individually. They found it difficult creating new content every episode and every round for the competition. Starting podcasting from scratch, Shalini had created various polls on their social media account to ask what type of topics the followers wanted to listen to and linked back to her personal experiences. 

In terms of marketing, it was difficult to get votes and get people to listen to their episode. The ‘Beauties’ exhausted all forms of channels through word-of-mouth and social media to spread awareness of their upcoming episodes. They also contacted RP mentors and lecturers to post the episodes on school channels like the RP instagram page and Telegram channels. It was all or nothing. 

As for Jing Yi, balancing her school schedule, co-curricular activities and the competition at the same time was not pretty. A second-year Mass Communications student, CREATE Club member, and a podcaster? Jing Yi expressed feeling like a juggler in a circus. 

Radiating confidence and charm, Jing Yi lights up the stage as she takes the spotlight as the emcee for CREATE Clubs Flame Awards 2023. Her captivating presence and eloquence charm the audience, making the evening an unforgettable celebration of creativity and excellence. (PHOTO: How Jing Yi)

Being highly involved and committed in school and the activities after, her responsibilities constantly clashed with the competition production dates. Jing Yi recounted that the competition took place during an academic period, which made meeting Shalini extra difficult as she was a first-year student at SIM. 

Thankfully, the girls had a mentor that they could rely on – Miss Raven – who was “extremely sweet and helpful.” Raven Lim runs MeaVox Live, a podcast agency, aside from mentoring. She listened with an open mind with useful tips and tricks ready for them to utilise in their production. Though, it was her encouraging and heartfelt words that kept them going. 

The Taste of Victory 

Despite the myriad challenges they faced, Jing Yi and Shalini S emerged triumphant, their podcasting journey a testament to their resilience, creativity, and unwavering determination. 

From the initial brainstorming sessions to the final rounds of the Be A PodcaSTAR competition, the duo showcased their passion for storytelling and their ability to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. 

Beauties & The Gossip quickly gained traction, capturing the attention of listeners with its engaging content and relatable themes. 

With each episode, Jing Yi and Shalini delved into topics ranging from societal standards in relationships to self-care, drawing inspiration from their own experiences and the world of celebrity gossip. But it wasn’t just the content that set Beauties & The Gossip apart; it was also the duo’s unwavering commitment to excellence. 

Despite their busy schedules, Jing Yi and Shalini dedicated countless hours to perfecting their craft, refining their scripts, and honing their presentation skills. They leveraged their networks, reaching out to friends, family, and even mentors for support and feedback. Nonetheless, their hard work paid off. 

The ‘beauties’ constant drive had opened countless doors for them. One such opportunity was attending major Mediacorp events like the Ask Mediacorp Anything 2023.  (PHOTO: How Jing Yi)

As they progressed through the competition rounds, Jing Yi and Shalini continued to impress both the judges and their growing audience. Their podcast stood out for its creativity, production quality, and above all, authenticity. They weren’t just telling stories; they were sharing a piece of themselves with the world. 

Beauties & The Gossip achieved an impressive second place in Mediacorp’s highly competitive Be A PodcaSTAR competition, triumphing through three rounds of intense placing. (PHOTO: Mediacorp)

Despite the fierce competition, Jing Yi and Shalini remained true to themselves and their vision, never compromising on their values or their integrity. When the final round arrived, they delivered their best performance yet, leaving the judges and their audience alike in awe. 

Moving Forward 

As they reflect on their journey, Jing Yi and Shalini are filled with gratitude for the opportunities they’ve had and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. They know that their success is just the beginning, and they’re eager to continue exploring the world of podcasting and storytelling. 

For Jing Yi, this means focusing on her studies and her extracurricular activities, knowing that she can always return to podcasting when the time is right. As for Shalini, she plans to continue Beauties & The Gossip as a solo host, exploring new topics and inviting guests to share their stories. But no matter where their paths may lead, one thing is certain: Jing Yi and Shalini will always be remembered as the dynamic duo behind Beauties & The Gossip, inspiring listeners with their wit, charm, and unwavering passion for storytelling.