I grew up reading BuzzFeed—ever-obsessed with their animal gifs that would make our day at work, wherein the name of research my colleagues and I would huddle and giggle like a bunch of school girls. So, imagine my excitement as I made my way to BuzzFeed Canada office a few weeks ago.
As part of my school assignment, we were asked to interview people from the industry whose job we would like to have. I wrote to Lauren Strapagiel, Managing Editor at BuzzFeed Canada, expecting never to hear back. Not only did I hear back right away, on the day of my interview Lauren also handed by BuzzFeed swag items. Hell, yea!
Q1. How many stories have you worked on so far, and which one is your favorite?
Hundreds! At BuzzFeed alone, I have more than 750 published pieces, in addition to what I’ve written at previous jobs. But there are some that stand out. Last year I took a deep dive into why advertisers consistently ignore queer women while holding up queer men as an ideal, affluent market. It’s an issue that affects the survival of queer media and was an important story I wanted to tell.
On the lighter side, back before the last federal election, I made a ridiculous post called “12 Invisible Things You May Have Missed At The Leaders Debate” that really embodies the weird stuff we have the freedom to make at BuzzFeed.
Q2. What has been the defining moment for you this year so far?
Our Canada 150 coverage was really special for me. I commissioned pieces from three Indigenous writers—Jaydon Ono, Ossie Michelin, and Shady Hafez—about Canada 150 from the perspective of reconciliation and justice for Indigenous people in Canada. It resulted in three strong pieces I was proud to publish and was such a reminder of how much of a privilege it is to hire and publish writers. It’s the sort of privilege I want to do good things with.
Q3. Personally, or professionally, were you ever trolled or bullied on social media?
All the time. Everything from emails praying for my soul, to horrible insults, to blog posts attacking me, to deluges of tweets so frequent that I couldn’t even check my mentions for days. I’ve been attacked for my sexuality, my body, my opinions, everything. It’s easy to write that off as just part of the job, but it really shouldn’t be. And it’s not unique to me, I don’t know any woman or person of color who expresses opinions on the internet who haven’t gotten the same treatment.
Q4. When was the last time you felt most inspired?
It’s pretty hokey, but last spring I took a solo trip to the Rocky Mountains, stopping for a visit at the Banff Centre For Arts and Creativity. Something about the scenery and seeing the art other people were creating was a reminder that I actually love writing. Like as an art, not just a profession.
Q5. What’s the No.1 thing on your bucket list?
I want to write a book, which is the most predictable answer a journalist could ever give. But I’m sticking by it.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.