Former ‘Teen Republik’ TV presenter turned YouTuber Maureen Muhia talks vlogging, media journey, and more.
How long have you been vlogging?
It’s been a more than a decade now. I started my self-titled YouTube channel in 2009 while in campus.
A Malawian friend found out that girls on YouTube would be sent free hair and suggested that we start our channels and get the free wigs and weaves. However, it did not work that way.
You share on social media a lot about your family. How did you arrive at this decision?
It may be hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I seek solace in my family and therefore, it was natural that I include them.
They have seen me at my absolute worst and consistently propped me up when I was ready to give up.
I believe that the best is yet to come, and there is nobody I would rather have with me on this YouTube journey than them.
Your funny videos light up the Internet. What do you hope to achieve with your videos?
I honestly never thought I would be viewed as a funny person. My family members are all extremely animated.
We communicate the same way on and off camera, and have done so for all my life.
It was sort of odd for me to find out that these regular interactions are considered funny.
I never make a video hoping to “achieve” anything. I make them because of what I am feeling at that particular moment.
What did you study in campus and has it impacted the kind of work you do?
Absolutely. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication: Radio and TV from Southwest Minnesota State University in May 2012. It has enabled me to be a one-woman show.
I produce, direct, shoot and edit all my videos. It’s truly amazing and freeing to be my own one-stop-shop.
Which highlights and challenges have you experienced in your vlogging?
Everything is both a highlight and a challenge. Simply because I started this journey with myself in mind, I wanted to be good every time I got in front of the camera; I honestly battle with people trying to tell me what they think my YouTube platform should be.
That’s the challenge, but on the opposite side of the spectrum is the fact that there are all the other thousands of people relating to me, encouraging me and embracing me, and every one of these people is my highlight.
You previously shared about finding yourself after losing a job. Drawing from your experience, what advice would you give Kenyans?
Being the storyteller that I am, let me answer your question with an old story about two boys who had an alcoholic father.
They grew into young men, but one became an alcoholic; what choice do I have, he said. My father is an alcoholic.
The other son never touched alcohol. How could I, he said. Look what it did to my father.
From this, there are three lessons: we can learn from other people’s experiences rather than wait to experience it ourselves.
We all have a choice; a choice to get engulfed by the situation or react to it and that we are all role models. You decide where to go from where you are now.
What have you learnt so far about business?
There is no manual to follow. Everyone thinks there’s a certain road to success when in fact you just have to come with your own materials to first build the road, then bring materials to build whatever you’ll be using on the road.
There’s no actual formula and I think it’s quite harmful to think that there’s a certain way to do things, and if you do them that way then you’ll succeed.
Some have failed in the same situation that others have excelled in.
Your life’s motto is?
This too shall pass. I have a story that goes with this motto, but I’ll save it for another time.