Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
One day, out of the blue, Reza Khan got a message from one of his old friends. It was a link to a video. When he clicked the link, it took him a moment to realize: the video was from his wedding.
He and Puja, his wife, had just gotten married. They’d met in college, both business majors, and after graduating, Reza had gotten a job at Google and Puja snagged her dream position at LinkedIn. They moved to New York together and started planning their wedding. It was going to be a big affair; Puja is Indian and Reza is half Persian and half Pakistani, so the affair was styled in “very classic South Asian wedding fashion,” Reza says. “There was like seven choreographed dances between her family and my family.”
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Post-wedding, Puja had posted a 30-second clip of her and Reza’s first dance to her TikTok, which was just a personal account she’d made during the pandemic. But their videographer had then reposted that clip on YouTube. And it had gone viral.
“I open up TikTok and I’m literally refreshing that video and we’re growing like 100K views by the minute,” Puja says.
“It was like a pipe dream,” Reza adds.
By the time the dance video’s virality wound down, they had 30,000 TikTok followers, 10,000 subscribers on YouTube, and a few thousand Instagram followers. They looked at the numbers and decided to chase that dream. In January 2021, they started batch filming content about their life together. Just two months later, Puja quit her job.
Now, both she and Reza are full-time creators with 1.5 million followers on TikTok and nearly 3 million subscribers on YouTube. A lot has changed since they started making content (for one, they’ve added a third member to their family, with Puja chronicling the ups and downs of her pregnancy), and the two of them have fully embraced this as their new path.
“Our ultimate goal is to just spread awareness, to spread laughter, humor, to connect, to build community,” Reza says. “Ultimately, I think with our impact of just spreading videos and messages, I think it’s going to just do a little bit more into making the world a happier place.”
Check out our chat with them below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Nice to meet you! The goal of this column is to give people who know you a deeper insight into you behind the camera, and also to introduce new people to you. That being said, let’s start with: Imagine somebody’s reading this, they’ve never seen your stuff, don’t know who you are, give me an introduction about the two of you and where you’re from, and how you met.
Reza: Cool. I’m Reza.
Puja: I’m Puja.
Reza: We met in college, maybe back in 2017, and we were just college sweethearts. We had these dreams to become these big people in the business world. I was going in sales, she was going in sales as well, and we continued our love story. We went ahead and went to– I started working at Google, she started working at LinkedIn, we moved to New York. Then we were planning to get married in 2020, which we didn’t realize the pandemic was going to happen, obviously. We planned the wedding in 2019, and then it comes, we cancel the wedding.
Puja: It’s back on.
Reza: Canceled again.
Puja: Then it’s back on again.
Reza: Yes, so it was a whole mess. We were just living regular lives. We planned this big wedding in very classic South Asian wedding fashion. There was like seven choreographed dances between her family and my family. That’s just how every wedding is.
Puja: In our culture. I’m Indian and Reza is half Persian and half Pakistani.
Tubefilter: Oh, all of the dances.
Reza: Yes. So many dances, so many cultures. We like had an amazing wedding. It was like maybe a handful of months after the first big announcement of COVID. That’s when things started to die down a little bit, cases were going down. We brought probably like a 60, 70 people. It’s supposed to be 250, 300, but the list got down a lot. We were just close friends and family. We had this amazing wedding. A few days after, our videographer edits our first dance, posts it up on the YouTube channel and it starts getting millions and millions of views.
Tubefilter: They put it on their YouTube channel?
Puja: Yes, on their YouTube channel.
Reza: Then I get a message from one of my old friends. It’s some random page from the UK and it’s our dance. I’m like, “How did they get this video?”
Puja: Yes, because we’re just like regular people. We just had a wedding.
Reza: No social media anythings.
Puja: Nothing is happening on social media. I did download TikTok during the pandemic like everybody else. I remember putting a little 30-second clip of our first dance on TikTok. That was the clip our friend sent like, “Oh my god, this is you guys. Some makeup artist in the UK posted this.” I’m like, “What?” I open up TikTok and I’m literally refreshing that video and we’re growing like 100K views by the minute. It’s going viral.
Reza: I remember when we first saw it had 100,000 views. We were just like, “Oh my god, we went viral.” It was like a pipe dream. It was like something we always thought would be cool but it was just so far-fetched to be realistic.
Tubefilter: You both had full-time careers?
Reza: Yes, very much.
Puja: We were very much working hard. Deep down, I always had the dream of wanting to be an “influencer,” whatever that meant. I was like, “It’s such a cool life.” I literally remember when I was literally nobody, just trying to post different links or posting what I’m doing as if like hundreds of thousands of people are watching me.
Reza: We’re going to maybe like 1,000.
Reza: Because she’d be posting her makeup routine and this and what she’s doing.
Puja: Nothing really came out of it. Seeing this go viral for the first time, I’m like, “Oh my god.”
Reza: We probably got maybe 10,000 TikTok followers from it. Then naturally this clip started making its way through all of the big, this is what we call it, like South Asian meme pages. Because what’s so interesting about it is like one, she comes from an Indian family, I come from a Pakistani-Iranian family. That’s somewhat unusual. The way in which her wedding dance was, it was very against the grain, I would say, according to the culture. Many of these meme pages were circulating our video and getting millions and millions of views. When our Instagram started growing a little bit, we were like, “This is interesting.”
Puja: This is all happening organically without us posting anything else except that. I was like, “This might be your chance to become a couple of social media creators.” Reza was like, “No, no. This is just a passion project.”
Reza: It sort of makes sense. I’m like, “Fine, there’s this one video, that doesn’t mean people want to see us and see what we’re doing.” I was still like, “Listen, I have a job to get to tomorrow morning.”
Tubefilter: It is true. People who are posting viral videos on their own channels struggle to continue that momentum. He wasn’t wrong.
Puja: He had valid thoughts.
Reza: I didn’t see the legs.
Puja: I still was like, “We’re making this dream come true.” I’m like, “We’re doing it.” By the time the next year came around, January 2021, Reza saw for himself that we had organically grown our pages by not posting really anything.
Reza: Because then what happened was like my groom’s dance, it got edited out by our videographers. We posted that and the bride’s dance. All of a sudden on YouTube, the bride’s dance, it was all this wedding content just going viral on different pages of ours to the point where we were sitting on like maybe 20,000, 30,000 TikTok followers, 10,000 YouTube subscribers, and maybe a few thousand Instagram followers. We’re just like, “Now this is getting interesting.” Especially once YouTube started doing it. Then I think it was early January, we had a conversation. We’re like, “Go for it.” Because we saw other couples, I think it was specifically the Scott Family.
Puja: The Scott Family.
Reza: Because she posted a video showcasing how much their life changed after one year of making content. Remember that video?
Puja: Yes. I remember.
Reza: We were just like, “This could be us. This could be our beginning moment and maybe in a year, our life could change so much.” Then we made a commitment. Like, “You know what, for one year, let’s just go all in and see what it looks like if we post a video every single day.” Then January 18, we started batch content.
Puja: This was a goal. If we post a video every single day, what’s going to happen by the end of the year? What is life going to look like? It happened a lot faster than you could ever imagine. That was January 18 where we committed to being creators. By March– no, the end of March, I quit my job. My full-time.
Reza: Dude, yes, literally. Which was crazy, to be honest.
Puja: It was only three and a half months into doing this. It’s just funny because I quit my job when the financials didn’t make sense.
Reza: No. You would think that we’d quit once we either match our salary at least. We were barely making maybe $1,000 a month. It was like nothing.
Puja: At that point, I think what it was it was like I had this growing passion for wanting more time to do the social media stuff and also I was not getting fueled by my job. I’m like, “What’s up? Let’s do it.”
Reza: Because at the time, we ended up moving back in with my parents because our lease finished up and it was still in the middle of COVID. We’re like, “All right, let’s move my parents and let’s plan our next move.” My salary, I was like, “You know what, I can’t sustain us. Let’s try to speed up this process of growing and have Puja go full in, she could handle all the editing and all the brainstorming, et cetera.”
Puja: We did.
Reza: Because we come from, I don’t want to say fully conservative, but a more traditional background, when we told our parents like, “We’re just going to quit our job at LinkedIn, like a great-paying job. She went to college for this job and now she’s quitting because we have 150,000 followers.
Tubefilter: It’s fine, don’t worry about it.
Reza: They were just like, “Why? Why can’t you do both?” We were like, “Well, we feel like Puja needs more time to dedicate to this.” They’re just like, “Oh my god.”
Puja: It was a risk.
Tubefilter: Sometimes you just know. You saw the growth and you saw that if you were able to put more time into it, that exponentially it would grow with you.
Tubefilter: It is very scary to explain to your parents. I think my mom still doesn’t know what I do and it’s been six years.
Reza: She’s like, “You work for the Tubefilter?”
Tubefilter: Exactly. I’m like, “I write about YouTube,” and she’s like, “What is that?” “Mom, don’t worry about it. It’s fine.”
Reza: It’s crazy. Then like, “As long as you keep your job, just keep going, but be careful.” Then we just got on a really good flow where we really started to understand who we were as creators, what videos do we do really well, how do we connect with our audience and build a community. Then we started growing rapidly. I would say almost it was 50,000 to 100,000 followers were coming on TikTok every month.
Tubefilter: Oh, wow.
Reza: We were on the road to a million. From January we were having 20,000, 30,000. I think by June, we were sitting on maybe 400,000, 500,000 followers. Now at this point, we really started to see ourselves as creators, starting to get how this works, how to make content, how to really connect. Honestly, every day was just like us trying to figure out how to make the next viral video.
Reza: That was the game.
Puja: I think that was halfway through the year and we had been making one TikTok a day. At that point, we’re like, “Okay, if we want to reach a million by end of year, we need to start upping the ante and make two videos a day.” We were more motivated than ever.
Tubefilter: Is that what you did? You did two a day?
Tubefilter: You were still working full-time, Reza?
Puja: Yes, he was.
Tubefilter: Are you still working?
Tubefilter: How did that conversation go with the parents?
Reza: Then what ended up happening was like, we really needed to bring things up and then we need to figure out how do we really differentiate ourselves among all the millions of creators out there, especially in the couple space. There’s so many making very similar videos. Then we decided to start incorporating our parents into the videos and really do funny pranks and skits that are just like, “I was trying to think like, if I were to search this online, does anything even exist?” If it’s like one of those really ripe areas, I’m like, “That’s where I want to create content.”
We were just making these hilarious, super interesting videos that were getting like tens of millions of views each time. That really put us on the map of being one of the main creators, especially in the South Asian space on the social media platforms. Then I’d say probably by like December, January 2021-2022, we started seeing this is really starting to grow into a great place. We can really start to go all in on this and Reza can potentially leave his job and do this. It was just like, “Okay, let’s start to do this.” I remember I told my boss, I put my two weeks in, he was shocked.
Then I came and told my dad, I’m like, “Hey, Papa, I put my two weeks in.” He was like, “Oh.” His heart got hurt.
Reza: I was like, “No, we’re ready. Thank God, we’re going to be stable financially. We’re ready to do this and get more time. We let this career go.” All of our family was just really hurting because at the same time, Puja got pregnant in January 2022.
Tubefilter: Oh god.
Reza: January 2022, Puja got pregnant. February 2022, I put my two weeks in. Then we were closing on our house, March 2022.
Puja: If you think about how many expenses have added up at this point.
Tubefilter: The kid, the house.
Reza: It didn’t make any sense. Our parents are like, “Why?” We’re like, “No, we have to.” Because it came to a point where it was fine at first, but then it came to a point where I was at work and I’m like, “I don’t even care.”
Tubefilter: That’s when you know.
Reza: My mind, my heart are just all here.
Puja: You loved your Google job.
Reza: Good job.
Tubefilter: I can see the passion you both had. Not to be nosy, but at that point, had you reached a spot where you knew that you had enough money coming in where you could afford the kid and the house? Because that’s giving me secondhand stress.
Reza: I know. At that point I really wanted to see at least six months straight of us hitting a number where we’re exceeding what I was making just to make sure– Like I said, around October of 2021 was when we started seeing things start happening good. I was like, “f we can continue this streak perfectly until at least next March, then I can say this stuff’s sustainable. Thankfully it was. Then it was like, “Oh my gosh.” Then at that point, now we’re full-time creators. We ended up moving into our house. Puja’s fully fledged pregnant. I’m like, “Where did our life just go?”
Puja: From 2021 to 2022, our life just completely transformed in amazing ways. Also we’re almost having like, not imposter syndrome, but you’re like, “What?”
Reza: Big time.
Puja: What is our life?
Reza: Because I literally remember having conversations with Puja about the next five-year plan, this is when I got my next promotion. Now all of a sudden I’m like, “All we’re doing is thinking about TikTok ideas. The baby’s coming. We’re furnishing a house. We have a mortgage.” I’m like–
Reza: “What?” It was wild. Thankfully, it was all wonderful. I think the really cool thing was transitioning from making a lot of couples’ content to then and doing a lot of content with our parents. More couples’ content and then going into pregnancy, parenting kind of content.
Tubefilter: This evolution into family content and just overall, multiple generations of your family is very interesting.
Puja: It’s honestly been a reflection of our life because when we started, it was just us two living in New York in an apartment. Then we moved to Reza’s parents’ house with my in-laws and then we would always see my parents. It was always a reflection of what our days were. Then when we moved to our new house, it was me and Reza and pregnancy. Then now, Sher, our little baby.
Reza: I feel like sometimes there might be some types of content we create where it’s like, “Okay, let’s just make this and be fully this kind of creator forever because it’s just so good.” I feel like the thing that we always come back to is staying true to who we are at the current moment. Like right now we’re making a lot of content where it’s couples’ content because obviously it’s still me and her, but then also we incorporate our toddler, our one-year-old because that’s our life. I feel like if I was making content that wasn’t related to that, it just wouldn’t feel useful.
Puja: It’s what we’ve always done. Now to shift it would be weird.
Reza: I just feel like we fully dive into whatever season of life we’re in. Right now it’s, we are parents through and through, and we’re also husband and wife. In that, there’s so many hilarious stories that happen as parents of a toddler, as a husband to a wife and vice versa, that there’s just so many hilarious stories that we like to make, like these 30 seconds cinematic videos talking about this little moment that’s just so real that so many people relate to.
Tubefilter: You guys put a lot of your lives on the camera and you put a lot of what that you’re actually going through, and like you said, the season of your life that you’re in. Do you ever struggle to divide what should be on camera and what should be off camera? Do you ever feel like it’s hard to get personal time?
Puja: Yes. That’s a really great question, especially because it’s actually very recent. I feel like before we had a baby, we didn’t really think about that too much because we were happy to show our authentic journey in our life. We’re open books in that sense. I think things change and your mindset changes a little when you have a baby, like freshly born this innocent pure soul that just came to this world and you’re like, “Am I going to put this baby on camera like the way that we’ve showed ourselves on camera?” I struggled with that.
I remember when Sher, our son, was first born, like first month or two months I was like, “I don’t know if we should show him on camera. I don’t know what I feel good with,” but ultimately for me it just came to, once again, showing our authentic journey. I’m a fully-fledged mom right now and a wife and if I don’t show like what those mom experiences are, what I’m feeling my day-to-day. If I don’t show that, I feel like I’m not being truthful as a creator and that’s something I’ve always done. To do that, sometimes I do have to show my son and things that we do as a family.
I think it just ultimately came back to what I feel good about inside in terms of showing to the world.
Reza: Especially I think as a lifestyle creator, once you dive into that world of showing your life, now once you have a child, it’s hard not to showcase your whole life when you’re showcasing your life on social media. You feel like a lot of you is missing.
Puja: I also feel like if we had hidden his face or just hidden that whole part of Sher, that would just create even more of this like–
Reza: Desire to see. What does he look like?
Puja: Show us your son! What does he look like? What does he like? All this stuff. I’m like, “I don’t even want to create this hype. I just want to show our journey. Honestly, we still talk about it. We’re like, “Okay, let’s try to focus a little bit more on a couple of content, not so much family,” sometimes when it gets to me too much. Honestly, we’re still going on that journey. It’s not like, “Okay, we’ve made a decision.”
Reza: At the same time, sometimes there’s some really raw moments, especially right after Puja delivered. That postpartum phase, there’s so many raw emotions that a mother is feeling. Because at that time I’m just capturing a bunch of video just for our memory to look back on and also the same time for content, but not in the sense of like for content like views. There’s so many of these raw moments that were happening with Puja that I’m like, “We want to showcase this because I know there’s so many other mothers out there especially during that really tough postpartum phase that are struggling or are going through these really intense emotions and like–
Puja: No one talks about that. No one no one brings those moments to the limelight because they’re not so pretty. Like “Oh my god, we weren’t feeling so good.”
Tubefilter: Postpartum is still very taboo.
Puja: Yes, it is, even in 2023. Reza always has the camera out regardless. I thought it was really– what’s the word for evolution? It just felt good for us to show those moments because it was our truth and also because I think it brings our community together, shows that those things aren’t taboo
Reza: Oh, I think because I would see the comments, you would see some people who are very disconnected from the whole parenting world be like, “Why are you posting this on social media? Some things don’t need to be posted,” X, Y, Z, all this kind of stuff and giving us a lot of heat for posting it. Then you have so many other parents, the people who the video was designed for who are like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for creating this. I was going through such a tough time and this made me feel so seen and heard and et cetera.
Puja: Not alone.
Reza: It’s tough sometimes. As we get into this pandemic, everything is very emotional and raw. A lot of times for majority people it’s private and sometimes we choose to make it public in an effort to connect, but then other people will see it and have different thoughts.
Tubefilter: It’s not for them. I feel like that’s a very important thing for creators to realize. Sometimes the stuff that you’re making it’s not for everybody, it’s for other people who are like you, and it takes a lot of guts to be like, “I’m sorry you don’t like it, but it’s not for you.”
Tubefilter: No, that level of connection with parents, especially things like postpartum depression and other complications…I have seen comments like that where it’s like, “Why would you put this on the internet?” You put it on the internet because other people feel like this never happens except to them and it’s awful.
Puja: Exactly. A terrible feeling. It’s not like we show every single moment on camera, but there are some things that we’re like, “Okay, we feel this hard, let’s post.”
Tubefilter: That’s important. Do you have any plans or goals for your content moving forward? Obviously Sher is a majority of your time right now.
Reza: I feel like we were, honestly, this last year since we had our son, it’s very much been full-time parents and I would say part-time content creators. We’d make content, but we just really wanted to dedicate ourselves and our time to really making sure that we can learn how to be great parents. It’s obviously a constant journey. It was very important for us to feel comfortable in that and now I feel like we’re in a place where we feel much more confident as parents. We actually just moved, so we left our house. We sold our house in Chicago, moved to Los Angeles
Now we’re just like, we look at this as like, “Okay, we had our first big chapter was from 2021 to 2022, getting our career going full-time. Then obviously we had our son, Sher, and then it was like things went a little bit paused, learning how to be great parents, putting that Number 1 on our list. Now we’re in this place where he’s become a lot more independent and we’re obviously thinking about, God willing, having a second child.
Before doing that, knowing that it’s going to slow down things again, we’re very much, I’d say since we moved like a few weeks ago, we’re like fully entering to our second chapter of our career, I would say of just how can we get to the next level? Right now we’ve done a lot of great short-form content. Now, as people, we’ve evolved a bunch and every time we put Sher, our son to bed, we have so many conversations about parenting, so many conversations about being our best selves.
Puja: Health and wellness, like things that we’re actually super passionate about. Honestly, we’re so passionate about content. We’re always talking about content too.
Tubefilter: Are you thinking about a podcast?
Reza: Yes. Since now we’re talking like, “Let’s go ahead and start a podcast and really build a community where the things that we’re so passionate about talking about, we can start to talk about that in a new form of content in a way that’s a lot more authentic.” It’s a whole different world than creating short-form and vlogging-style content. We’d love to get that going in early 2024. We can get something started and just start building that habit where we can still be just as consistent on the short form and still tell all those amazing stories Of being parents, of being married, but then also open up this new avenue of communication on the podcast side.
Then, honestly, I feel like we’re still painting what that vision is going to look like, but then I really want to like– I don’t know. I feel like there’s just so many amazing stories that happen, either with like the short form of the podcast. I would love to even open up more in the long-form style of content and just really elevate our brand a few more notches above where it is right now. Connect with more people, build a bigger audience. I feel like that’s the main thing. Is there anything else that you see?
Puja: I feel like I definitely want to tap into our potential as content creators because we did that full year of posting, posting, posting. Now it’s like, “Okay, now what does that look like in this phase of life?” Then everything Reza said about the podcast and stuff, and then it’s honestly a really good time before the new year starts for us to brainstorm and think about what are those other really big, big, big dreams. We like to dream big. Is it like going into acting or is it like going into these certain events that we have to be invited to? I just feel like we need to think about where we see ourselves in five, ten years, maybe less even. I don’t know, what else can we put to our name besides just being content creators, because we love what we do.
Reza: To her point, I’ve really seen the potential of what we can do as content creators. I feel like in this last year and a half since we had our son, we’ve been operating at 20% because being parents, and being full-time parents, it doesn’t give you that time to really go all in on that. I feel like I just want to see what it looks like when you guys are able to truly go 100% making content and going on that journey. Then once we’ve been on that journey for like six months to a year and more, what doors open at that point? Because I feel like we did that in 2021, the doors open for us to leave our jobs, the doors open for us to move and buy a house and move across the country now. Now it’s like if we do another big push and really dive in, what other doors are going to open next?
Tubefilter: Absolutely. Very cool. I feel like you’re stable, no more terrifying decisions to leave your jobs.
Puja: I know, I know. That’s the goal. I feel like we’re hoping for just more just stability, and now being in Los Angeles, we’re meeting more people, but we’re away from a lot of the noise with a bunch of family and friends back home. Now we can really just focus on our family and focus it on our careers. Let’s see where it takes us.
Tubefilter: Anything else that you guys would want people to know about you or anything else you’d want to talk about?
Puja: Anything you want to manifest?
Reza: Yes. I think our goal is to really romanticize everyday real-life moments that happen within families, within marriages. Our ultimate goal is to just spread awareness, to spread laughter, humor, to connect, to build community. Reza and Puja can do that in full throttle in this next year. Ultimately, I think with our impact of just spreading videos and messages, I think it’s going to just do a little bit more into making the world a happier place.
Reza: I know. I imagine the eventual potential, because it’s not going to happen overnight, but I imagine if we can do a podcast that’s centered around wellness and family and growing individually, what would it look like after 500 episodes? We’ve been doing this for years and there’s such an engaged community. The impact of that is something that’s so beautiful, and I’d love to make that a reality.