In quest of more

Rochelle Pinto highlights her journey from being a young intern to the Founding Editor of Tweak India

The journey to becoming a founding editor of a one-stop platform which speaks to women on every aspect of their lives, has been a long one.

Rochelle Pinto began reading at the age of three, largely as a way for her working parents to keep her occupied, so that she would not get into trouble or annoy them with non-stop blabber. “A love for words and a high threshold for public embarrassment translated into years of elocution competitions, debates, talent shows, plays and emcee duties that began at a young age. Summer holidays were not just for playing lagori with the kids in my colony or getting sunburnt on beach trips. I was encouraged to try summer jobs and internships, and I am lucky that some professionals were brave enough to trust a precocious pre-teen with responsibilities far beyond her years,” says Rochelle.

By the time she left Goa to join college at St. Xavier’s in Mumbai at the age of 16, Rochelle had written for magazines and newspapers, been a child RJ on AIR, and organised events. She had already developed a work ethic and felt comfortable in a professional environment.

She speaks on getting into journalism and the world of media. “Interning from a young age made it clear that a career in media would suit my inquisitive, outspoken, thick-skinned personality. Writers have the power to influence people’s minds, which impact their actions. If you can inspire action, you can precipitate real change. I find this idea very seductive.”

Rochelle was the youngest columnist at the Hindustan Times. “My editor at the time channeled my mean girl streak into a fashion police column that definitely would not have survived – much less been a hit – in today’s more politically correct times.”

Rochelle has worked with names like Vogue, GQ magazine and Elle. She describes it as humbling, invigorating and full of challenges that have helped her grow as a person, outside of the professional space.

As Founding Editor of Tweak India, Rochelle feels it is the most profoundly fulfilling professional experience of her life. “To be able to touch the lives of so many women, earn their trust and respect, be privy to the secrets and desires that they feel more comfortable telling us in an Instagram direct message (DM) than they do telling their family or friends… it’s a privilege and a responsibility I take very seriously. I’m grateful to work with a founder who has a strong moral code and vision, and a team which believes in our mission as much as I do.”

Rochelle is a published author and has three books to her name. “One was Kareena Kapoor Khan’s first biography and the other two are children’s books that I have also edited, part of a series called When I Grow Up, I Want To Be. Between the two editions, they have introduced young minds to 40 Indian heroes from different backgrounds, ages and parts of the country. Our aim is to help children realise that they do not need to look to the sky for a chaddi-clad superhero to lift them up and supercharge their dreams. There are wonderful people doing life-changing work at great personal sacrifice all around them.”

Regarding the various challenges faced by her, Rochelle says, “There have been minor roadblocks in the form of patriarchal tropes and politicking. But the biggest challenge that I have personally had to face – especially because I’m privileged not to have dependents to care for – has been my own self-doubt. Pushing through emotional and mental inertia disguised as laziness or procrastination is something I work on every day.”

Rochelle’s professional life involves working with her mind, so her hobbies tend to revolve around using her body. “I practice yoga and have recently taken up kickboxing, which is my twice-a-week catharsis. I also love working with clay – it is meditative in how it forces you to be patient and focus on the moment. I’m happiest amidst nature, especially anything water-adjacent, so treks and swimming are like sorbets for the soul.”

As far as her plans are concerned, Rochelle quotes Shabana Azmi: “I don’t want much, I just want more.”

Rochelle concludes with a message to aspiring journalists. “Hone your craft by keeping at it every day, trying to improve with active practice and not settling for the bare minimum. I do not enjoy working with people who phone it in, who don’t put in any effort to engage with the person who they are talking to or writing for, and in my experience, people like that don’t make it far in life. Assuming you are ambitious and want to be the best version of yourself, of course. Be collaborative and receptive to ideas, no matter where they come from. Sometimes the intern has the best ideas; do not allow your ego to blind you. Appreciate the responsibility that you have taken on by wanting to become a journalist or a writer and try to live by an ethical code that will help you navigate tricky waters. In addition, learn to separate who you are from what you do. That’s the only way to avoid burnout and enjoy a long and fulfilling career.”

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