Challenging the status quo

EVERY quarter of the year, YouTube Malaysia hosts a conference on Generation YouTube (#GenYTMY) as an initiative to showcase talented, up-and-coming local content creators from such fields as fashion and beauty, and comedy, as well as millennial vloggers.

In this chapter of the installment, #GenYTMY focuses on Malaysian female YouTubers who are challenging stereotypes and breaking new boundaries by doing what they do best.

Taking centre stage are Jenn Chia (SoImJenn), Leona Chin and Linora Low, who shared their inspirational experiences behind their unique journey on YouTube, the hardships they faced, as well as what’s driving them to continue breaking glass ceiling for young women to be at the forefront of self-expression.

Since 2009, the multi-talented Chia has been entertaining her legion of fans on YouTube with confessional, funny and uplifting videos in various formats – from music videos, skits, to vlogs.

Her channel on YouTube is like a gallery, displaying her work for others to enjoy, or as an archive for her to relive her fondest memories.

Her end tag, You be You, is an exact portrayal of her individuality and a reflection of her content that encourages her viewers to be true to who they are.

YouTube has opened up a world of endless possibilities for Chia, helping her to challenge others be the best versions of themselves through relatable and meaningful exchanges of ideas, and most importantly, she is able to discover creative parts of herself she never knew she had.

She said: “I chose YouTube because it’s freely available for everyone and it also allows me to connect with a whole world of people I otherwise wouldn’t meet!

“I realised by sharing a thought, an idea or a story, YouTube is able to connect me with others who either felt the same or have different worldviews that would enrich mine.”

For Chin, the lack of a female presence in the local motorsports scene spurred her to break the common stereotypes about women as professional racers.

However, her rise to success from humble beginnings would not have taken off if it weren’t for YouTube and the unequivocable support of her loving mother.

She said: “My mom was the kickstart I needed for my motorsports career. She is very supportive of my passion for racing, allowing me to attend motorsports events and to learn drifting.”

Then she added: “I learned how to drift from YouTube!”

Leona went from searching “how to drift” videos on YouTube as a mean of learning the basics of racing, to creating her own racing content. Her channel also documents her life’s journey from thrilling car escapades to fun vlogs of her travels around the world.

Meanwhile, fitness icon Low dedicated her YouTube channel to all things health and wellness. She sees YouTube as a playground for her to share the things she appreciates in life, hoping that they will benefit others.

She initially chose YouTube as an avenue to keep tabs on her personal fitness goals and progress, but little did she expect her actions would influence and inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.

In 2017, she set her sight on a goal.

“I decided to give YouTube a go as that would hold me accountable to a goal I wanted to achieve in 2017 which was my first bikini competition,” said Linora.

“YouTube is also a place where I can document the whole journey so that I can look back and see my progress while sharing my transformation experience to inspire and educate others.”

It’s apparent that YouTube has helped propel these passionate and young content creators into a new perspective as they take it to the stage to celebrate those who are willing to share their story with the collective zeitgeist.

As a matter of fact, a Google commissioned research conducted by Nielsen Total Media Fusion discovered that 50% of YouTube’s global audience is indeed female.

“Our female creators and others like them who challenge stereotypes are wonderful sources of inspiration across generations,” said Zeffri Yusof, head of communications and public affairs at Google Malaysia.

“With 47% year-on-year watch-time growth across all devices on YouTube Malaysia, we are super excited about opportunities for many more of our homegrown creators to thrive and experiment on the platform,” he added.