Google Malaysia head of communications and public affairs Zeffri Yusof (second from right), host Sabrina Wong (right) and the four YouTubers (from left) Harvinth, Luna, Sean and Zack at the YouTube #GenYTMY event at Google office in Kuala Lumpur recently. Pix by Nik Hariff Hassan

Meet the influencers


TYPE a word or search a topic, and you’ll find a video about it in YouTube. But one type of content that stands out the most on the video platform is vlog or video blog.

Vlogging is fast becoming popular in Malaysia as it is in other parts of the world, particularly among online influencers.

You can see YouTubers vlogging from their bedrooms while sharing ideas and stories to taking their cameras with them and documenting their activities.

You may wonder how and why they do this. Do they have so much free time? Do they even get paid when posting a video on YouTube?

Local influencers Harvinth Kesu (or known as Harvinth Skin), Nurnatasha Mohd Shahrizan (Luna Tasha), Sean Lee Jia Ern (SeanLJE) and Zack Merican share how vlogs have made them more accessible to fans, providing people with glimpses into their daily lives.

Their vlogs can be viewed at Harvinth Skin (www.youtube.com/skintv), Luna Tasha (www.youtube.com/user/karmachic7), Sean LJE (www.youtube.com/user/seanlje), and Zack Merican (www.youtube.com/user/ZackMerican).


INSPIRED TO CREATE
Money is not the reason why these YouTubers started vlogging.

When 24-year-old Harvinth first started, he says it was only as a hobby.

“I like to entertain and make people laugh. Most of my contents are humorous.

“It did not occur to me that people actually like my contents and they started adding me in on social media,” says Harvinth.

He sees vlogging as a way to channel his passion for entertaining while pushing the boundaries of YouTube entertainment.

The comedian believes that to rise above the usual crop of content, producing videos that are memorable and different is key.

Meanwhile, Zack, 25, saw YouTube as a platform to express his art freely.

“I went to a lot of auditions and got rejected up to a point that I decided not to pursue art as a career.

“But like YouTube’s tagline Broadcast Yourself, I realised that I am free to create content,” he says.

That’s when I started recording with a phone, to showcase my music and other stuff as well,” says Zack, who now has over 67,000 subscribers.

He has also produced different types of videos, with skits, in-car conversations with other YouTubers, and cover songs as well as original pieces.

For Luna, her channel initially began as an outlet to express herself and have fun with friends.

Growing up as a shy kid, she noticed that whenever the camera was focused on her, her shyness disappeared. She started to apply her new-found confidence into creating YouTube videos.

Luna shares her day-to-day activities with fans through vlogs which range from travelling escapades to make-up routines, in addition to the occasional challenge videos featuring special guests.

Initially done to practise his video editing, directing and acting skills, Sean’s channel now shares his personal views, thoughts and lessons.

Having nearly 30,000 subscribers on his channel today, Sean aims to educate viewers regardless of the subject as long as there is a lesson to be learnt and hopes that they will take away something meaningful from his videos.


PATH TO STARDOM
Starting at the age of 8, Luna always had people criticising her content.

She says the comments really affected her, making her feel insecure.

Now 17, Luna finds it challenging juggling school and creating content. Luckily, she has very cool parents who are very supportive of her journey.

“My family is definitely my pillar of strength as they are the ones who pushed me into creating more content.

“There’s no running from people who do not like what we do. Getting haters is part of the parcel but I just have to push through it,” says Luna, who has almost 50,000 subscribers on her channel.

However, Harvinth, Zack and Sean did not have the same experience as Luna.

Sean, 24, says his parents did not always approve of the things he did.

“As with most Asian parents, they want their kids to have professional jobs such as a doctor or engineer.

“But I told them that this is what I like, and asked them to have faith in me. Now that YouTube has led me to so many places, my parents are not worried anymore. Even their circle of friends is increasing,” says Sean.

For Harvinth and Zack, the process of coming up with ideas, filming, editing and then seeing the response from viewers is enough to keep them going.

“Making a viral video is a challenge but being able to consistently produce videos with impact is the real challenge,” says Harvinth.


OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD
YouTube has enabled Sean to achieve things he probably could not do easily before.

Consistent postings and collaborations with other creators have also pushed him into the limelight and helped him secure his big break in the local film industry.

“I was offered to act in various dramas, alongside famous celebrities, and I am going to start shooting a new drama soon,” he says.

Harvinth also scored various jobs including emceeing, hosting a talk show and doing stand-up comedy.

He says it is important to have a strong presence across all social media channels to spread content and draw new viewers.

“I believe that by pushing boundaries with my brand of comedy, I can change the mindsets of the Malaysian public and, hopefully, leave a mark within the YouTube community,” he says.

For Zack, YouTube has become his work profile. He knows that opportunities may come knocking as long as he keeps creating interesting content and promoting them well.

Besides opportunities, YouTube has also given him recognition, not just from fans but also brands that are eager to feature him in their marketing materials.

Zack has just finished a contract as a radio deejay. He is also co-hosting Borak Kopitiam, TV3’s newest talk show which targets young audiences on weekends.

With YouTube’s vast reach, Luna was noticed by the local entertainment industry and successfully secured a gig in a local television show.

With the help from friends, she was able to turn YouTube into a means of sharing her life behind the scenes and connect with fans from across various social media platforms.

Her advice to aspiring YouTubers? “Don’t let anything hold you back. If you like what you are doing, keep on creating content. You never know where it might take you.”

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