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EXCLUSIVE: You need Mai Pham on your radar (if she isn't already, ofc!)

Mai Pham is new-school YouTube royalty. What started as a volleyball lover's channel at 13 years old, Mai (now 18) boasts a social media following of over 2.2 million. A lover of exploring the world, she's even able to call herself a world travel lover, after leaving home at age 15 to explore.

So, basically, she's had an *awesome* life so far, and it shows in her videos. Because here's the thing about Mai: She loves sharing her life, her fun and most importantly, her advice, with her followers.

GL sat down for an exclusive interview with Mai Pham, so she hasn't been on your radar, she's about to be, bb.

ALL THINGS YOUTUBE

GL: What inspired you to start your YouTube channel?

MP:  I started watching Bethany Mota and all those people when I was younger, and ever since then, that's been what I've been doing all the way up to high school. I guess my little niche is my volleyball vlogs. I thought I'd bring a camera around because I love watching volleyball YouTubers. It was super fun and now I've been doing YouTube for 11 years!

GL: You must have seen a ton of changes to the platform. What have been the biggest changes and how do you react to them?

MP: When I was younger, YouTube wasn't a career at all, it was just something for fun. So I feel like there's been a lot of changes with the way content is made. It's kinda crazy how it's actually a real job for me. I think it's good because it gives people—especially young people—someone to look up to. You can see their imperfections, that they're not perfect and they are real people instead of looking up to such huge celebrities, you can see normal people live their lives and look up to them instead.

GL: And what has been the number one, biggest highlight of your YouTube career so far? 

MP: I wouldn't say that there's something in particular, but just being able to travel the world and live anywhere that I'd like is insane to me because that's also my dream. So having the free time to create my own schedule is amazing.

GL: I’m sure that there are some drawbacks to putting your whole life online. Have you experienced any negative sides of that?

MP: I feel like there’s always gonna be ups and downs of putting your whole life out there, because everyone can just judge you from what they see online. I feel lucky to have my fanbase—it's just that we have this connection where it’s not like you’re watching somebody and you're glamorizing their life and you’re wishing you were them. Sometimes when you’re online you feel bad about yourself and you are comparing yourself to other people and that’s the complete opposite of what I want to do. I try very hard to have a connection with my viewers and I try to talk to them.

LIVING THAT INDEPENDENT LIFE

GL: You’ve been really independent in your life and have gotten to travel at a young age. What advice would you have for teens who really want that independence? What's the secret to that independent life?

MP: I would say it starts switch the little things, such as going out to a cafe by yourself or going shopping by yourself or going on a drive by yourself to make you realize that you don’t need anyone else to rely on. And you know at the end of the day, all you have in this world—like the most important thing—is your own self, your own body. So you should be okay and comfortable with being by yourself. It will make you realize who you are as a person and what you like as a person and just all those things that go into that.

GL: What’s your dream place that you want to go to that you haven’t gone to yet?

MP: Overall now, either South Africa, just because of all the nature and all the animals, it would be so surreal to be able to experience that. Or, Antarctica, just because it would just be so cool to see something that not a lot of people have seen before.

GL: What is coming up for you this year that you’re excited about?

MP: Oh my gosh so many new things! I feel like 2021 is going to be a crazy year for me, but I have a clothing line coming out which I’m really excited about, I’m working on that really heavily right now. Also, music, I’ve been working on that as well. It might be a little while till I release that. There’s so many little projects that I’m working on that I can’t wait to share with people!

Image Credit: @nikiivictoria. Parts of this interview were edited and condensed for clarity.

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by Katherine Hammer and Erin Sargent | 4/6/2021
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