When I need to take my mind away from studying for midterms, I always turn to YouTube. It has been a great platform to find influencers who help change my perspective on the world, or at least have vlogs to immerse myself in for 15 to 20 minutes to help me forget about my own life for a moment.
Would I rather be watching a YouTuber prepping a workout meal than studying for my exam? Of course. Everything in moderation.
As the Asian-American and Pacific-Islander (AAPI) community becomes more vocal on issues that have been traditionally kept silent, so emerge influencers on YouTube that add to the next generation of AAPI, tackling issues from mental health to body image. Beyond the heavy topics, these AAPI influencers are making a name and making money in a non-traditional way. They did not become a doctor, a lawyer or a scientist to have the positive impact on the community that they created using their platform.
As a member of the AAPI community looking into a “non-traditional” career path, seeing these YouTubers gives me internal motivation and drive to work toward my goal of becoming a prominent Asian-American journalist. Although my path may be different from theirs, I like to think I have the work ethic to match.
As the oldest daughter with the pressure of being successful and financially stable in my future career, watching these female YouTubers live their passion every day gives me hope that my own goals are valid.
Here are the three YouTubers to watch, in no particular order of preference:
She is Korean and Guamanian (Chamorro) with an infinite amount of energy that I wish I could possess on a daily basis. She has a main channel titled “missremiashton,” but I absolutely love watching her vlog channel “remlife.” She has an energy for life that shows in all her videos, whether she’s hanging out with her friends or her pup Daisy or spending time hustling with her beauty business she launched just this year. Recently, she has been making a lot of videos about healthy eating and her weight loss journey. What I admire about Remi is how she began to verbally acknowledge that she photoshops her photos on Instagram and that although she has lost the weight, she gained a mental weight of other issues that she was not expecting. She emphasized that a weight loss journey is for yourself and that it should be fun. I always watch her health videos when I need a boost and begin thinking negatively about my fitness goals or lose track of the idea that fitness should be a lifestyle, not a temporary subscription. I follow her vlog channel daily because of her lust for life, but I will continue to be a viewer as she begins to talk more candidly about her life, the steps she has taken and the set-backs she has experienced to get to where she is.
Videos to Watch: “honestly just 18 minutes of me eating,” “why i’m scared to open up,” “CHEAT DAY IN PARIS”
I get a lot of my style influence from this Korean-American. A lot of her early videos were about her style. She started her channel in a low place in her life while she was in college and needed an outlet. Since then, it has grown to be so much more than a fashion channel. Now, she talks about relationships and her experiences as a Korean-American. She is always quick to speak about the reality of her life. I get the most wanderlust when watching her travel vlogs. If I need to escape from reality and travel to another place in the world, at least temporarily, her videos are the first ones I go to. Jenn has a calming, eloquent voice when she speaks about what is on her mind at the current moment. A few weeks ago, she created a video called “My Teenage Thoughts” in which she went through diary entries she had written in her younger years and addressed them now as a successful adult. This video moved me and made me think about how harshly I judged myself and compared my self-worth to other people in high school. I am in a much better place in college now, and still learning, much like Jenn voiced in her video. As a creator, she has pushed herself to create aesthetically pleasing, unique content which is refreshing to see.
Videos to Watch: “Jenn Goes to Dubai,” “Huge Thrifting Haul,” “Growing Up Korean American | My Struggles”
I recently started watching this Hawaiian-born-and-raised YouTuber because of her videos documenting her financial goals. I had never watched someone on YouTube who is so transparent about their finances, especially a person from the AAPI community. Finances are not something that I was taught to share with others. It was a topic to be kept within one’s home, and having financial instability of any kind was a sign of failure, not a sign of progress to improve one’s condition. Aja really speaks candidly about her life as a YouTuber, and has a lot of “hacks” for dealing with stress, body image and the fronts she puts on as a YouTuber. She is also really clear about ads in her video, which I really appreciate, as YouTubers sometimes try to mask the fact that their videos are not ads when they are. Aja is unapologetically herself in how she speaks and carries herself, which is what I aspire to be. She questions her role as an “influencer” daily and promotes causes that she cares about on her platform, calling out celebrities who do not.
Videos to Watch: “A Good Dang Vlog | My Week with Lush,” “Let’s Talk About Cellulite | How to Deal With Insecurities,” “October 2018 Budget | My Short Term Financial Goals”
Kimberly Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.