Jyoti Chand

At BHAV, we believe in empowering women to find unique ways to embrace their cultural heritage. We started 'The Culture Connection' to explore the impact (both good and bad) of heritage on a variety of incredible women, and understand how it continues to play an influential role in their lives. We invite you to join us on this journey, with the hope that you find value in these conversations.


Commonly known as your 'cool mom friend' on IG (@mamajotes), Jyoti is a beauty consultant, mother, and co-founder (along with Zabina Bhasin) of happyHER (@happyherfoundation), a community focused on women empowerment. When she has some precious free time, Jyoti loves a good book, sewing, hiking, or binging a show with a glass of wine like the rest of us. Read on to learn about Jyoti's diverse heritage and motivation for co-founding happyHER!

On Her Mixed South / Southeast Asian Heritage:

What's your background?

I am Indo-Burmese. My dad is from Burma and my mom lived there until she was 7 before moving to Punjab. We spoke Hindi and Punjabi at home growing up, and my dad’s family spoke in Burmese so I have a general understanding of it. I'm learning more now that I married into a full Burmese family!

How has, or currently does your diverse heritage play a role in your life?

Being raised with a buddhist influence from my dad plays a very large role in my life. Buddhism is a lifestyle more than a religion, and practicing mindfulness in my marriage and parenting has allowed me to grow into my current best self (I’m always growing). I chose to marry my husband based on his values and I truly believe that culture played a large role in us getting together. We are both Indo-Burmese, and that is so hard to find. We immediately bonded over that, as did our families, and we've grown into best friends after marriage.

Growing up, I struggled a bit with my 'Indian-ness'. I never wanted to be seen as 'too Indian' growing up and shied away from sharing too much of it at school, even though I truly enjoyed Bollywood dancing, Kathak classes and all things Indian. I struggled to love it publicly until I was in high school because I didn’t want to be different from everyone else. Of course, now that I’m older, I’ve learned that being unique is actually what was special about me, and my culture is so loved and sought after. I want to teach my son and daughter to embrace their culture starting now! I don’t want them to have to learn later in life that it’s okay to show their Indian-Burmese side.

What personal experiences helped you overcome the obstacles you had with embracing your heritage?

I think college helped. I didn’t grow up in a large Indian population, but the minute I entered college, there were Indians everywhere, and all of a sudden I could relate to so many people who faced the same cultural divide and confusion I had. Participating in the Indian groups and community in college allowed me to see my culture as being pretty freaking cool!

You co-founded happyHER with Zabina Bhasin (@zabina_bhasin), which is an amazing community focused on women empowerment. What motivated you to start it?

Being South Asian, I feel like so many of us were raised to be in competition with other women. I know this is true across many cultures, but this is my experience with being Indian. Rather than seeing women supporting each other, I became accustomed to seeing a lot of gossip and s*** talking. I was constantly compared to other girls like cousins and family friends. It just felt like women in my culture were always being put against each other, and I hate that because it skewed my ability to trust other women.

I ended up being more of a tomboy since I didn’t trust big groups of girls. It wasn't until recently that I really started to understand how much women need to be working together to rise, and I've never felt so much positivity being around other females. Lifting women up on Instagram has given me a community of women I adore, and it led to Zabina and I creating happyHER. We want to see more women elevating each other, not just because they want something out of it, but because they genuinely want other women to succeed! Her success does not hurt my success!

On Fashion:

What's your favorite thing in your closet right now?

I could not WAIT to wear my first sari. I was 16 and I felt so freaking sexy in it. It's crazy being that it's just a chiffon fabric wrapped around your body, but wearing a sari is a different kind of beauty. I feel the most beautiful in my Indian clothes - I feel exotic yet traditional.

What's your favorite thing in your closet right now?

Ripped jeans! Nothing makes me feel more confident that some well-fitted ripped jeans.

Rapid Fire!

What's your go-to cocktail, spirit or drink?

Moscow mule!!!

What are you currently watching?

Family Karma and Love is Blind.

Name of the best book you've read in a while?

'Brave, not Perfect' by Reshma Saujani.

Morning person or night owl?

Sadly, both, but morning if I had to choose one.

What's 1 small thing you couldn't give up (daily ritual, accessory/personal item, etc.)?

My skincare routine and Hot Cheetos, clearly!

1 comment

  • Richa Chand

    I’m super stoked for you and excited to see what you‘ll have in store!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published