The 'Shawty kwani ni wewe?' Meme going viral was never part of the plan, but that spontaneous moment was the breakthrough content creator, and socialite Michelle Muchai caught a buzz off of pre-pandemic. Since then, she has survived the covid blues, scored an endorsement, graduated, and continues to marvel through her early 20's.
If you casually scroll through social site Instagram, the number of 'It girls' is astounding. So what makes one stand out or have their real shot outside of the cliché consistency in posts, quality content, and authenticity connotations that get thrown around ever so often?
According to the Instagram and YouTube sensation, "It was just a regular, fun moment" when she uploaded her "Shawty kwani ni wewe?" skit that has easily arched itself into social media.
Many content creators practice, rehearse, upload, and re-upload content in a trial and error process in the meme era as they yearn for that one perfect moment that will edge them out of countless others. For Michelle, it was just a regular day before going out, and her phone camera was on when she uploaded her video and had no expectations or thought of herself as an "influencer" per se. It was as organic as can be. So what's the secret to having a moment where online users can have you as a "meme" in almost every Twitter, Tik Tok, or Instagram exchange?
"I believe in being my true self and projecting me to my followers, because, that is the part of me they relate to, so seeing they enjoy the raw version of me especially on my reels, IGTV, YouTube inspires me a lot." Michelle discloses to Pulse her raw content. Her Instagram following grew tenfold from 10,000 to 22,000 since the viral buzz caught on and will only keep increasing.
Flocking to her channels to enjoy her blunt, playful, and intelligent persona - this cocktail of characteristics is a concoction she stirs so well to serve her viewers' thirst for travel, lifestyle, and popular tweets. She mostly tweets about affirmations of money and success, which became a safe haven for her followers as her brand has manifested into one that empowers women to be unapologetic of their desires for material pleasures.
Besides her personal YouTube channel buzzing Twitter thus far, she has been tapped for video collaborations among the likes of East Meets West, a group of YouTubers that cater to age groups below 25 years old. The group found success in their own right, scoring multiple endorsements with huge brands such as Samsung, Big Square, just to name a few. Michelle is slightly under the 25 mark and has gotten her Beefeater Gin sponsorship under her card. She recently graduated in Media Studies from Strathmore University and independently runs a side hustle all born to fruition amidst the pandemic.
Where there is light, there is darkness; however, hence where there is triumph, likewise, there is a drawback. Of her challenges on her path, she states, "Well, as a travel vlogger as well, especially because of the current Nairobi lockdown and new regulations, some campaigns have been postponed indefinitely, things like this are very frustrating." She chuckles with her glaring personality beaming.
She also has to put up with cyber-bullying, industry misogyny, and things of that nature to produce, despite the multi-tasking pressures of being a young woman, an adult, a student, and an online creative simultaneously. Despite the dark clouds, she finds grace in little things like her parental support. She, however, knows about being a socialite with thick skin, especially when KOT is involved.
"Oh, my parents have been crazy supportive. My mom especially is my biggest fan giving me motivation and even ideas. Funny thing is I had initially blocked her from my socials, you know, when I was young because I did not know if she would love and appreciate my content anyway fast forward and she is the one who asks 'mbona hujatupostia leo? We want to see something from you!"
Her parents' belief in her has fuelled her to keep pushing, that they actually don't mind being part of her greatness, and find themselves featured in her content posted online. This fabric of her content gives her so many hits and motivates her to do more.
As a communications (Journalism & Public Relations) scholar, she has plans to dominate the media world with her creative ideas and plans to uplift women. She is also a part of Kenya's renaissance that content creation is an actual career path, not just a hobby or passion project. She is earning money through it but would love to address some issues not many see behind the scenes.
"Haha, let's start from obviously, we all don't get the same pay. So, for some the pay is a sustainable source of income and for others it's not. Definitely varies with the responsibilities one has. I also stand that content creators do amazing and hard work and should be paid what they deserve." She speaks vehemently, no longer grinning as she usually does.
As she acknowledges there are still screws to get thrown into the works, she would love to see women get more respect in the game and be taken more seriously.
"Women have fought for years and years on these topics and every day we are shown we will fight longer. We won't stop though, one day we will definitely get there and stop speaking on things that should definitely be common sense and basic humanity. Can't wait."