July, 2020

Navpreet Banga: Redefining #DesiGirl

 Navpreet Banga, the Youtube star has many more interesting aspects to her personality than just being “doppelganger” of the Quantico star Priyanka Chopra

By Surbhi Gogia

Doppelganger, look-alike, carbon copy, dead ringer, long lost twin, PeeChee’s sister from another mother: are some of the phrases that 24-year-old Navpreet Banga hears every single day. Whether she is walking on the road, posting some new Youtube video or Instagram pictures, her uncanny resemblance to famous actor Priyanka Chopra freaks everyone out. The Internet is full of news on how much she resembles Priyanka or even how Priyanka Chopra herself takes notice of the fact that she has found a look-alike in Navpreet. But this young Richmond BC resident is much more talented and creative than just being a look-alike of a celebrity.

She is a Youtuber with her channel BrownGirlLifts having more than 200,000 subscribers to date. Navpreet posts videos on the content sharing platform and the views run into a couple of millions; she is fairly big on Instagram as well, with more than 300,000 followers. She is a lifestyle blogger who talks about life in general, encourages young girls to follow their dreams, raises important issues on mental health, offers make-up tips and also pursues weightlifting.

Unlike many celebrity replicas who love to limit their looks and actions to their counterparts, Navpreet is different. She does not only experiments with her looks but also plays the versatile role of a child, mother, dad, uncle in her videos. She has built a unique fan following for herself who love to watch her comic scripts and laugh their hearts out. Be it a video on strict Punjabi parenting or on a nagging relative aunty who loves to poke her nose in every matter, her observation of general human behaviour is up to the mark and very much relatable.

Born and raised in a Punjabi family, that immigrated to Canada from Chandigarh, when she was just 10 years old, Navpreet was raised in a neighbourhood full of Asians. “What I find fascinating about my content is when my Chinese friends come up to me and say that ‘Oh my god, the Punjabi mother in your video is so much like my mom.’ I guess we all come from different cultures but human nature across the world is similar. It does not matter if you are a Chinese, Hindu or Punjabi. If you are a mother, you are a mother,” she says.

Although simple and light, the content in Navpreet’s video always has a social message. She wants to tell young women and even the society that there is nothing bad and shameful in being yourself and working towards your dreams. “I have seen that our South Asian society restricts kids to follow their passion. Many parents tell their kids to do this or not to do that. But this puts a limitation on a person’s ability to explore her/his talent.”

Navpreet’s message to the youth is inspired by her own life story which went through the similar struggles of a South Asian youth. Coming from a family where her father and her elder sister pursued academics and became engineers, the expectations from her were similar. “However, I was never into academics. My family eventually accepted this but were unsure of what I would do in life. I was so used to be seen as a person who does not study.”

Navpreet says she was always a quiet girl who would stay in her own world. It was after she passed her high-school she turned more introvert. “I was pondering more on life and I started spending more time with myself at the gym. I started posting my fitness and gym videos. People started following me from there. My parents were surprised when I started building an audience for myself and saw that there was a lot more to do for me career-wise.”

She was confident of her abilities from the beginning and took the risk of exploring an undefined career. But not many kids have the power to identify their inner strengths since they are under pressure. She posts content on social media to empower and encourage young people. Sometimes she is seen dancing wild on a Punjabi song and sometimes she is heard talking about human emotions like fear, happiness, loneliness and self-love through her podcast on Soundcloud.

She was also offered role in Punjabi movies due to her acting skills. She was recently seen in Munda Faridkotiya. Has also done Bhalwan Singh opposite Ranjit Bawa.  “I got this film, because the producer’s cousins were fans of my comedy, and they loved my videos,” she says. “They have given me a powerful role. ” She was also featured in Gippy Grewal’s song ‘Sooraj’. She is currently working on a local Canadian Punjabi production too. “The new project is very exciting but would like to hold back more details on it.” She wants to pursue a career in acting and role in a Bollywood movie would be ideal. But she wants to step in Bollywood as an actor with her own identity which is not overshadowed by the fact that she resembles Priyanka.

It was one of the reason she rejected the offer to be part of Bigg Boss season 11. “I found out from an article that I’m even in consideration for the show. I got the final call, where they wanted me to think about it. And I rejected it right away.” She did not want to be part of a show where the mere reason she was considered due to her resemblance to Priyanka Chopra. Agreeing to do such a show, she feels, would have taken away her credibility as a YouTube star.

In spite of having such a versatile personality, sometimes Navpreet says, her resemblance with Priyanka Chopra takes a toll on her work. She was aware of the fact that she resembled Quantico star, and she used to celebrate the fact by tagging Priyanka in her pictures. But in 2016, her pictures were picked up by an Indian news website comparing her with the Bollywood star, and her pictures went viral. “It was the time when I  was growing my channel with videos on fitness, beauty, cooking, and comedy. And suddenly I was in news. It was overwhelming for me, because a lot more people were commenting on my video. But they were more interested in my resemblance than my work.”

Navpreet says she wants to be famous through her work and wants to do women centric role. “I am a big fan of Kangana Ranaut. She is bold, speaks her heart out, and does amazing roles.” Even Navpreet’s is giving a shout out to all the young girls out there to follow their dreams. “We have one life and we are going to die one day. It could be tomorrow. Do not dedicate your life to the idea of what you should be like and behave like. Be ruthlessly yourself. You have the power to pull that real person out of you.”

Navpreet is currently working on, Yaar Anmule Returns, which is said to be releasing on March 6th, 2020 opposite Harish Verma, Yuvraj Hans, and Prabh Gill.




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