Enya Umanzor became social media famous on Vine–that’s how I discovered her. Once Vine shut down, she shifted her focus to YouTube. Umanzor says she started creating videos for “fun and to entertain people” and not so much for the fame. But at only 19 years of age, she has over 800 thousand subscribers on her channel, enjajaja.
I chatted with Umanzor about the downfalls of being a social influencer, the struggle to stay relevant and how she navigates YouTube’s algorithm.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Michelle Ruano: Can you describe your channel?
Enya Umanzor: I always describe [my channel] as a buffet: You can walk in, and most likely you’ll find something you’re in the mood for.
I do a mix of makeup rants, comedy, I have some more serious videos, and I have some vlogs. I have just about anything you expect to be on YouTube.
MR: I’ve been reading about how burned out YouTubers are getting by trying to keep up with YouTube’s algorithm. Are you experiencing that issue?
EU: I can’t say that I’m burnt out because of the algorithm. For me, it’s a different case because life, in general, has kind of burnt me out a little bit. It hurts sometimes when you put more effort and care into a video and it just doesn’t do as well as you would want it to because of the algorithm.
I don’t fully blame the algorithm because I also think you do need to know your audience. For instance, sometimes I feel like I’m not posting enough and that’s why my algorithm will shift and drop. There’s no real way of knowing, but I think it works on how consistent and how long your videos are.
So for instance, right now Shane Dawson is very consistent. His videos are super long, and I think the algorithm works in his favor.
MR: Are there other issues you see influencers facing with YouTube?
EU: One thing I do think will kind of affect how hard it is to keep a job like this or at least to pursue this job is YouTube changing the viewing requirement. For instance, you have to have 400 hours of viewing, I believe, instead of 10,000 channel views to be monetized.
With so many creators seeking this as a job, I believe YouTube decided to make it a little harder because paying so many people for this job kind of becomes difficult.
MR: Do you ever struggle with creating content because of how competitive YouTube is?
EU: I think so, only in the aspect of finding yourself questioning if you should do things differently because you’ll have people who started at the same time or after you, yet they are surpassing you. It does make you sit back and think like, oh man, should I have done [the video] like that and should I act like this? It’s easy to think about that and to have that be a factor in you becoming competitive with everybody around you.
But I try not to fall into it because once you do, it becomes a competition. You find yourself not satisfied with anything you’re doing.
MR: Consumers only see the glamorous side of being an influencer, but what is it really like?
EU: The whole community itself kind of reminds me of high school, if that makes sense. There are the popular kids and the art kids, and that can be difficult because you can find yourself envying the popular kid and wanting to become that, but you kind of just have to settle down and figure yourself out. One of the cons: there’s no guidebook to [become an influencer]. It’s something you kind of have to figure out yourself.
And there are so many questions you will have and won’t be answered, and you’ll forever feel like this is something that’s going to slip through your fingers if you don’t watch it carefully.
MR: What are some tips you can give to any future or upcoming influencers?
EU: I definitely think if you’re starting a YouTube channel and you’re going into it as a career, it should be something you want and love to do. You should have a love for entertainment, whether that be just beauty or comedy or starting a news channel. It should definitely be something you love to do and you’re interested in, almost like a hobby that you just want to pursue further because if it’s not something you really love, I think it shows.
And for a lot of viewers, that rubs them the wrong way and you get very polarized views, almost like Jake Paul. So I’m not sure if that’s something most people want to carry.