Tejal: My Privilege in Action


As a child, I was proud to define my identity as an Indian American girl embracing the two distinct cultures I was born into. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood in the Greater Seattle Area, but my family was active in the South Asian community.  I was also very fortunate to have grown up learning my mother tongue - Marathi - and my Indian heritage through my grandmother who lived with us. Life was a dream as a 5-year-old, and balancing my two identities remained a source of pride as a teenager. I had a supportive family and inclusive friends, which allowed me to find my passion for activities in both Indian and American cultures.

In 2016, a switch flipped. I realized that too many Americans did not view social justice and equality in the same light I did. The outcome of our presidential election emboldened racists, bigots, and ignorance in all shapes and forms. All of a sudden, it became okay to be a racist. It became okay to look down on women. It became okay for people to tell others to go back to where they came from if they did not look white. This wasn’t just something I was seeing in the news; It is deeply troubling when my cousin/big sister Tarul can’t even visit a gas station without being verbally harassed in front of her small children -- all because of the color of her skin.

All my life, I had been taught that everyone has an equal chance at living the American dream. However, in 2016, it became apparent that civil rights issues and inequality are not historical issues for our country. Hate is happening right here and now.

The past year, I found myself questioning my identity. I became lost trying to figure out what it meant to be an Indian American in 2017, while also trying to figure out how I could use my voice and my privilege to battle the inequality and injustice sweeping our nation.


Tarul came to me last July with the answer to my questions (as she always does). She believed we could use our privilege to positively make a difference. We would take our passion for style, fashion, and self-care - and combine it with our passion for social justice. This is how the idea for the Sanaya Set was born.

We’ve built a platform that uplifts small, women-owned businesses, especially those from marginalized communities. We collaborate with, donate to, and raise awareness for organizations who elevate women globally. And we do all of this while delivering you a hand-selected collection of the highest quality fashion, lifestyle, and self-care products.

My goal for The Sanaya Set is to provide everyone with the opportunity to feel beautiful inside and out, while also positively impacting the social justice issues we care about most. I’m driven by sharing our principles of intersectional feminism, which goes beyond gender. We hope to showcase women’s overlapping identities, and how these factors impact the way women experience oppression and discrimination, including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

Being a part of the Sanaya Set is my first step in using my privilege to fight back against inequality and injustice. My deepest hope is that the Sanaya Set and our mission will resonate with others who have felt like me: torn between our many identities. I can say that I am more proud than ever to speak two languages, bridge the gap between two very different cultures, and be equally as Indian as I am American. Here’s to a future of defining our varied identities with pride, not fear.