DissDash Honors The Top 10 Most Influential South Asians Of 2016

The Top 10 people in 2016 we think have the most “Diss along with a little bit of Dash”!


As another year comes to an end, we are humbly honored by the major strides our team has made this past year only because of YOU! We’d like to thank each one of our viewers and promise to bring even more masti in 2017!

We wanted to take a look at South Asians who didn’t let 2016 hold them back in achieving their goals and pursuing their dreams. These ten distinguished individuals took this past year by the horns and reigned supreme in their respective fields. From Bollywood to business, we’ve highlighted their success in the last twelve months and can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in the upcoming year! They all certainly deserve this acknowledgment and more. Take a look at our honorees and let us know if you agree!

1) Entertainer Of The Year: Ssumier S. Pasricha

pammi aunty and ssumier pasricha


Boy oh boy, did Aunties make a comeback this year! Remember that Aunty you love to hate for all the sh*t talking she does? Well she officially has a mascot, Pammi Aunty! Ssumier S. Pasricha of New Delhi, India, took an old Snapchat filter and brought it to life with his own twist. The character of Pammi Aunty, that he created himself, has stolen the hearts of millions of people around the world who die of laughter from watching her weekly videos. Pammi Aunty has hit hot topics such as Diwali, Donald Trump and my personal favorite, the Pokémon fiasco. She has become everyone’s favorite Aunty and we can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans she comes up with next year! Watch the hilarity, that consumes us all, on Pasricha’s Facebook page!


2) Entrepreneur Of The Year: Payal Kadakia

Tomorrow’s the day where everyone will persistently try to convince themselves and everyone around them that a healthy lifestyle and routine visits to the gym is going to be their resolution for the year! Ha, classic! But in all seriousness, if you’re anything like me and get bored at the gym, ClassPass is for you! This young MIT graduate has created a space for individuals to attend various fitness studios, as many times as they like for one low price. Choose your interests and goals, whether it’s more peaceful like a yoga class or upbeat like some cutthroat barre session, and then find the studio and time that works for you. ClassPass has grown exponentially in the past year simply because of the flexibility and broad core classes they offer. The new year starts tomorrow, don’t be last in line to sign up for that bod you’ve been dreaming of! When the summer rolls around and you are rocking that bikini, be sure to thank Payal Kadakia!

3) Record Label Of The Year: Rukus Avenue by Sammy Chand

There are so many South Asian artists in North America but only one South Asian Record Label, and that is Rukus Avenue based in Los Angeles, California! The founder, record producer, and music composer, Sammy Chand, has added his own style to the fusion between South Asian musicians and other hip hop artists here in the States. He is slowly changing today’s generation of artists for the better in showing them the real side of international feel good music. Chand, along with Rukus Avenue, recently dropped an album that should be the anthem for anyone bullied or mentally and physically abused. They partnered up with President Barack Obama and the White House Initiative to create an album, Act To Change, that will potentially be the beginning of the end to bullying! Now that calls for some huge recognition!

4) Chef Of The Year: Maneet Chauhan

My favorite category! Desi dishes and recipes are obviously a staple in South Asian homes, but when they’re broadcasted on national television by one of the most renowned chefs around the world, well then they become extra special. Food Network’s judge for Chopped, has also taken Indian cuisine to other levels and has certainly put it on the map. Chauhan took her passion for food and her degree from the American Culinary Institute to combine Indian spices with modern day ingredients. She has been the Executive Chef at multiple notable restaurants in New York and Chicago. She is the only Indian woman to ever compete on Iron Chef and has also cooked for President Obama! She recently opened her own restaurant in Nashville, TN which has received rave reviews! We can’t wait to see what culinary creations come out of her kitchen this coming year!


5) Fashion Designer Of The Year: holiCHIC by Megha Rao

Pooja Desai Shah and Megha Rao

“The indo-western label represents the woman who is looking to inspire and be inspired. She seeks to push the boundary on fashion without sacrificing tradition. She is the girl turning heads at the party. She isn’t afraid to take a risk and wears clothes as an extension of her personality.”

That is so chic! The founder and creator of HoliChic has kicked some serious butt this past year. The New York native, Megha Rao, has taken the experience she’s gained walking the runway for the last decade and of course, her love for fashion, and curated a brand that has been killing it! Dressing South Asian women with different styles is their specialty. Our Entrepreneur of the Year, Payal Kadakia is also a big fan! We can’t get enough of the traditional Desi looks fused with today’s fashion for the real modern woman. The quality and brand of HoliChic is incomparable to any brand we’ve come across this past year and we can’t wait to obsess over the new spring collection!

6) Vlogger Of The Year: Lilly Singh

If you haven’t been to Unicorn Island yet, what on earth are you waiting for? Canadian Sikh YouTuber, Lilly Singh, also known as Superwoman, is literally one of the top rated YouTuber’s ever. With hundreds of videos, posts, vlogs and millions of fans, views and hits, it’s no secret that this lady has the magic touch. She is the perfect Vlogger in which she actually showcases the real side to her life; the good, the bad and the ugly. Not only does Superwoman make us laugh, she also spreads happiness and brings joy to her viewers. She’s made many strides this past year, from an entire documentary titled “A Trip To Unicorn Island”, to writing a book slated for release in 2017, to even filming with the extraordinary Priyanka Chopra! Check out their video here:

7) Artist Of The Year: Raja Kumari

This girl is on…fire! (Que Alicia Keys’ voice). Wow, Raja Kumari has the Midas Touch in the music industry and all of the stars are aligning just for her! The Indian American songwriter, rapper and recording artist is hitting all the right notes in the music industry. She’s also a trained classical dancer. Signed to Epic Records through L.A. Reid, she’s come out with her own EP this year titled The Come Up! Raja Kumar expresses herself through her own music and her fans, worldwide, just gravitate towards that energy. Have a listen below to her single, “Believe In You” and tell us what you think!

8) Athlete Of The Year: Satnam Singh Bhamara

Satnam Singh

He shoots, he scores! The incredibly tall Dallas Mavericks baller ranks as our top athlete of the year because of his extreme devotion to spreading awareness to South Asian culture in North America. The 7’ 2” Punjabi has his own documentary on Netflix, One In A Billion, which highlights the struggle and the momentum he went through while being drafted as a professional NBA player. At the mere age of 21, Bhamara has taken his love for the game and created an entire empire from it.

9) Medical Professional Of The Year: Mona Vand

The Modern Pharmacist, Mona Vand, is someone every girl strives to be. She’s smart in what she eats and she actually has fun with it! Dr. Vand has used social media to promote healthy living and nutritional eating. She’s even partnered up with Russell Simmons in showing the health benefits and risks of certain food. Based on the west coast, the RPh and certified nutritionist blogs and vlogs about your most intimate questions and concerns when it comes to getting fit. Don’t be shy, ask her a question below!


10) Activist Of The Year: Imtashal Tariq

Seems like a lot of hate has won over love this past year, but there is one woman making sure that all changes next year. Imtashal Tariq is tirelessly working day and night to ensure the next generation only knows about the love and equality we have in our heart. The Global Peacemaking Specialist at Intersections International has traveled around the world to protest against sexism and injustice and to fight for feminism and basic human rights for women. The young Pakistani American is also an official NGO representative for the United Nations! She has created a name for herself amongst her peers as a strong Muslim woman and we hope to see even more of her moving forward!

Click below to see which of our top 10 most influential South Asians of 2016 stopped by at DissDash:

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DissDash Honors The Top 10 Most Influential South Asians Of 2016

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