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As I See It: Introducing Maiyah Kenz

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For many of you, Maiyah Kenz will now be a familiar face. As our resident content creator, she is responsible for creating a wide range of entertaining, informative and inspiring videos for our social media platforms, as well as our YouTube channel. Here’s how she sees it.

I really couldn’t settle on one thing as a kid

Sometimes I was a singer and I would put on shows for my family with my brothers acting as the bouncers (they’d make sure my parents paid the 2p admission fee). Sometimes I was a writer and I would fill out whole notepads with “novels”. And sometimes I was a news presenter doing what a news presenter does (you know, present the news). There’s probably a connection between that and what I do now.

I would set up my dad’s camcorder and put on my mother’s clothes and hold up a few sheets of blank paper that I would tap against the table like they did on TV. I’d get my younger brother to act as a guest. He’d be wearing my father’s leather jacket and I would interview him about endangered animals. I was obsessed with animals and I went through a massive phase of wanting to be a presenter on The Really Wild Show.

No-one really knows what they’re doing

Everyone blags until they know what they’re talking about. I used to think I had nothing to bring to the table because I was young and straight out of uni. But then, sitting in my first meeting, I realised that all people were doing was giving their opinion. It wasn’t some mystical thing that I didn’t have. So I shared my thoughts and they were respected. My advice? As corny as it is, believe in yourself.

Aspire to love what you do

When I was at uni, some of the jobs I took on I hated. It was a good learning curve though. The experience made me realise that if I was going to be doing something every day, I needed to enjoy it.

I was really lucky because in my first job out of uni, I was able to experiment with different areas of work related to my business and marketing degree. The funny thing is that I didn’t pursue any of them.

Instead, I got a chance to use some of the skills I had picked up as a hobby and at my first proper job and lead myself down a path towards content creation. I haven’t looked back since. I love what I do. I love creating content and I love getting lost in hours of editing. I know I’m really lucky to enjoy my job.

One surprising thing leads to another and then another…

I suppose I’ve always loved creating content, from pretending to be a news presenter at home to working on little video projects throughout school and university.

I only ever really took it seriously when I decided to create my own YouTube channel. I had recently fallen in love with weight training and would get a lot of questions from women asking for advice. My content seemed to have struck a chord.

So I started shooting videos with my smartphone and editing via iMovie. All I initially wanted to do was share helpful information. But then I really started to enjoy the process. So I bought a proper camera and spent all my time learning how to get better. I then got a chance to create videos at my-straight-out-of-uni job, which helped develop my skills even more.

Fast-forward to 2021 and now my job entirely revolves around me creating video content and presenting – all from a self taught hobby and not my £30,000 plus degree (which still a sore subject if you must know).

I still pinch myself. 

My family have no clue what I do

Even if you say the words content creator, it’s still unheard of for some people. I guess you have to look at it this way: even now, in 2021, it’s very much a new kind of occupation. While other content creators might create animations, shoot photographs or blog, I specialise in making video content. And I do it all, from producing and writing to presenting and editing.

I love it most when I know my content connects with another person

When I see comments from people saying that they have learnt something new or that a video has made them laugh, it lights me up. I love editing vlogs and getting lost in making it the best it can be. So, yeah, I definitely find it rewarding when all those hours brighten someone’s day. 

Writing scripts is the most challenging part of my job

I suffer from dyslexia. I can often have an idea and know how I want it to look but then still struggle to get it down on paper. I find it challenging sometimes to articulate myself or focus on long pieces of text, too.

Luckily, our brilliant Head of Content, – who is the reason you are reading this now with no spelling errors (thanks Nindy!) – is always on hand to help me say what it is I want to say more clearly. I also find that reading widely helps.

The best thing about working for Viddyoze is the creative freedom

No idea is too extreme or bizarre. For example, in one of my more recent vlogs, I recorded myself visiting KFC to try out the vegan burger. It might sound random, but you’ve got to watch it to understand. My point is this – creativity is encouraged. And I love that. 

I have only been able to go into the office once

That’s one of the ‘small’ ways that Covid-19 has affected my role since starting (slight caveat, I was also based in Bali when Viddyoze hired me). It means I’ve yet to meet most of my colleagues face-to-face – which I can’t wait to do.

Naturally, the pandemic has had a direct impact on the kind of content I’ve been able to make – and a lot of it has centred on and around being at home during another major lockdown. But with the majority of the world’s population sharing this very experience, my Groundhog Day experiences are hopefully relatable. 

Good video content is the kind that has you hooked from the get-go

This can be because it’s funny, dramatic, helpful or informative. And it really isn’t that hard to do. You don’t need any fancy gear – just good screen presence, great camera chops and quality editing skills. When all three match up, it can be magic.

We are moving away from big production style content to a more ‘homemade’ style

I think this is due, in part, to a rise in self-taught content creators like myself. You can also attribute it to influencers and the kind of content they’ve been creating. The more people watch, consume and share this kind of content, the more it becomes part of the wider cultural aesthetic of the time and the more it begins to reshape it.

Quick-fire for Maiyah Kenz

  • Go-to emoji: 🙏 I lived in Bali for a year where it’s customary to make this gesture to say thank you (it’s also a greeting). I just got so used to using it that I can’t send a thank you message without it
  • Go-to social media platform: It used to be Instagram but I’m slowly moving to Pinterest. I think it’s healthier for my mental health. I have a Pinterest board for everything
  • Tea or coffee: Matcha latte all day every day. So, I guess that mean’s tea, although I do love coffee. I have to limit my intake though – or I end up bouncing off the walls
  • Favourite food: Pizza, pizza and pizza … with a side of pizza
  • Favourite movie: This is really hard because I love watching films. But, if pressed, I’d have to say the Star Wars movies. I’m a die-hard fan. I loved The Force Awakens because as a little girl I wanted to be a Jedi – but there were no female Jedis to look up to (Leila didn’t count because she wasn’t yet a Jedi in the original trilogy). So, it was a real moment for young Maiyah when adult Maiyah got to see Rey become a Jedi
  • Favourite album: I’m not really a music person. I like whatever sounds good to me or if I can dance to it. So it’s hard to pick a whole album. How about this: a song I absolutely love is Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
  • Favourite book: Lost Connections by Johann Hari. It’s an amazing look at the effect that the modern world is having on our mental health. I’d also have to say Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir. It’s basically about how the author and her family were political prisoners for 20 years in the deserts of Morocco
  • Favourite work of art: For me it’s the architecture of the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, designed by Antoni Gaudí. It blows me away
  • Favourite quote: “No rain, no flowers.” I have it tattooed on my neck
  • Who do you admire: Angelina Jolie and my gran, who is the real OG. Angelina because she’s an amazing actor and activist. And my gran for her strength, resilience and her zero filter character which she has passed on to me (and for the unwavering support she has always given me)
  • We’re at a party. Your trick is: When I’ve had a drink I like to show off my ‘strength’ (that’s all I’ll say about that). Otherwise, it’s my insane ability to never shut up. That’s a party trick, right?