A few days left before we end women’s month. A great way to end it is by featuring a Filipina who has success on her shoulder in her chosen career.
Meet Helen Payawal (AKA Helen On Fleek), she is a YouTube sensation that speaks freely about her body and shows that there is nothing wrong with being fat. She teaches plus size women to embrace who they are by showing them how to shop, how to flaunt and how to love themselves. Through a Skype interview with Helen, she shared how she is building her career as a YouTube vlogger.
Can you share to us how you started doing YouTube videos?
Well, nag-start lahat dahil super hilig ko manood ng YouTube videos and then na-convince ako one day na gusto ko rin gumawa ng YouTube channel. ‘Yung mga officemates ko gusto magpaturo magmake-up. Sabi ko, gagawa na lang ako ng videos tapos ipo-post ko sa YouTube and ise-send ko sa kanila yung link. Dahil gumawa na rin ako ng videos, shinare ko na rin sa Facebook, dahil may aspiration rin naman ako na gumawa ng channel. Nakita ko na maraming nagco-comment na “sige pa, gawa ka pa.” Nag-enjoy naman ako, naging outlet ko siya nung stressed ako sa aking day job.
This 2019, four years na ako as a YouTube vlogger. Siguro nagkaroon ako ng major traction after a year. Nag-viral ‘yong mga extreme make up videos ko. Pero hindi ko pa na-consider yung sarili ko na super successful noon, hindi naman ganoon karami ang followers ko, kahit today. The year 2016 is when I went to do this full time. Hindi siya full time [as in] “full time”, kasi nag-freelance [make-up artist] muna ako. Pero mga August 2018, halos hindi na tumatanggap ng mga make up work.
Why did you choose body positivity as your main message to your viewers?
Hindi ko talaga siya na-plan na ‘yon ang mapupuntahan ng channel ko. Iyong confidence ko nanggaling sa insecurity ko. Ayoko na ulit maramdaman iyong feeling na dahil insecure ako sa itsura ko, ang daming affected relationships.
Noong una hindi ako showy sa body ko. May mga vlogs ako na sobrang liit ng katawan ko, if you watch my previous vlogs nagiiba-iba ‘yung katawan ko. The first two years, it was really a struggle. Pero may nag-viral ako na videos, ‘yung Jeep Make-Up Tutorial video at MRT Make-Up Tutorial, kita yung buong katawan ko. May mga nag-comment na, “Ang confident naman niya”. Na-realize ko na na OMG ito na pala ang pwede kong maging focus.
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the magpupungko tidal pools meet the beach 🌊 totoo nga yung sabi nila na pag nagpunta ka ng siargao, gugustuhin mo nang tumira doon! bitin ang 4 days! naiyak pa ko ng very light pag take off ng plane kasi sobrang mamimiss ko talagaaa 😭🙈 ang arte lang lol pero true! i keep on thanking the Lord for giving our country a paradise like Siargao – and i hope we take good care of it! 🌞🌞
Tapos nung makita kong maraming nanonood ng plus size haul din, naisip ko baka ito na ‘yung line ko for my audience. It seems like maliit na bagay, pero importante siya kapag you grew up na may nagli-limit sa iyo at nagsasabi na bawal mong gawin ang ibang bagay.
I also produced a video with Youtube Next Up, na parang style guide for plump girls, plus sized girls, but then after ng video na ‘yun may mga advice ako. Hindi ka lang nage-entertain through your videos, you also change their mind-set. It’s more than a make up a product. By then, nagstart na ako mag-focus sa body positivity.
What is your definition of success?
Syempre, hindi ako magpapaka-plastic, financial success. You’re comfortable with the finances that are coming in. Bukod sa finances, I feel very fulfilled with what I’m doing. ‘Yong alam mo ‘pag natulog ka sa gabi, may peace of mind ka. Dahil narelease mo itong video na ito. Success is when you get to inspire other people with what you’re doing. And hindi ka nabu-burn out. For me, I work because I help people with their self-confidence.
What actions and practices have you done in the past that you believe brought you to your budding success right now?
Kung anong meron ako ngayon ay dahil nagfocus ako sa audience. I found my niche. My numbers may not be big, but very close kami ng audience ko. Yung nilalabas kong mga content ay nakaka-relate ako. Nag-focus ako sa body positivity. Nag-focus ako sa audience ko. I keep it authentic. Just be yourself. The audience are very smart.
What is the biggest challenge that you faced as a YouTuber when you started out?
Sobrang dami. Behind what you see on Instagram, Facebook post and my YouTube videos, sobrang daming nangyayari. When I left my work noong 2016, nag-start ako sa make up school. Rumaraket ako. Nag-start ako with my business, my clothing line.
The biggest one is dapat hindi naman nagiging competition ang YouTube and it should be more of a community, but it really takes a toll on you, mas napansin ko ‘yon when I started doing this full time. Your number of followers are being questioned. Sometimes, binigay mo ‘yong buong puso mo pero kulang pa rin. Yung pressure. Minsan, hindi ko napipigilan yung sarili ko na i-question yung abilities ko, yung content na pino-produce ko for my audience, na tama pa ba? May mga times na hindi ako nakakapag-upload for a month. Kasi may time na iiyak na lang ako every night. Ganoong level, girl! Pero buti na lang supportive ang friends ko, supportive yung mga tao sa paligid ko. Supportive ang family ko, stage family.
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Pero okay naman ang relationship ko with other YouTubers. Sa vlogs ko hindi lang ako masyadong nakikipag-collaborate with others. When we see each other sa events, I don’t vlog it because I want to enjoy the moment and cherish the friendship. If magkakaroon ng collaboration, I want to gain their trust first and then we can plot the future collaborations.
What is one key lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I don’t pressure myself anymore with my number. I stopped questioning myself. I learned how to focus on my audience. I give my all. I believe that we’ll have our season
Can you talk about one woman who has made an impact in your life?
Well, as cliché as it sounds, it’s always my mother. She’s the strongest woman na nakilala ko sa buhay ko. Sa lahat ng mga napagdaanan niya, by the end of the day, kaya parin niyang ngumiti. Feeling ko doon nanggaling yung pagiging happy girl ko. She’s really the woman that inspired me so much.
Who is one female YouTuber that you personally admire and why?
Marami akong natutunan sa kanya when it comes to make up. Kasi natuto lang din ako mag-makeup through YouTube. And it’s Nikkie of Nikkie Tutorials, magaling talaga siyang make-up beauty guru. She’s Dutch. Kaya ko siya pinanood kasi big girl din siya, pareho kami ng shape ng face and shape ng eyes. Na-enhance talaga ‘yung skills ko just because of watching her.
What advice can you share to aspiring Filipina YouTubers?
Just be yourself. There’s no formula in being a Filipina YouTuber. It’s your personality that makes your viewers stay and ‘yun din yung nagdo-draw ng audience to your channel.
Mag-vlog ka kasi you want to share your passion and eventually people will start recognizing you.
You can watch her latest YouTube video here:
Featured image from @helenonfleek
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