top of page

We Deserve to Be Influencers Too

Updated: Jan 9

by Skye Patton

Social media is not just for connecting with internet mutuals, it is also capable of changing an ordinary life to one of fame and impact. This article introduces three college students discovering their own forms of online creativity while also trying to make it big on various social media platforms.

First up is a Boston creator with 191.3k followers on TikTok, Mina Hasan!

Who are you and what do you do?

“Hi, my name is Mina Hasan. On TikTok, @Recklessmina. I have platforms on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter! My content consists of experiences that are relatable to “brown girls,” typically girls that are desi, but my content also appeals to Middle Easterners, Arabs, North Africans, and many Muslims.

How does it feel being in this field especially with your background?

I really love being in this field and finally being the face that I wished to see in the media growing up. My work wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t an American-born Pakistani Muslim girl. My identity coincides with my content.

Do you think your identity has affected your work/ performance/ audience attraction and retention at all?

The white dominance in the media has definitely affected my work. I have to work twice as hard to get my content out to an audience when the social media algorithms are saturated with numerous white faces. Sometimes it feels like I have to dilute my personality, experiences, and my opinions in order to avoid getting hated on. I have never lied about my experiences, but I have definitely had to dilute them.

Have you noticed any pushback related to your background?

I have definitely noticed pushback/ hate because of my background. And it usually comes from people who are also from my background. For desi people, it’s rare and extremely uncommon to come across a brown girl who speaks her mind and stands up for herself, and that poses a threat to many people.

Final thoughts about diversity in the digital world and how you hope to make your mark in it?

Social media and media in general has come a looooong way from where it used to be. We have representation for almost everyone, but it’s not enough representation. Especially when it comes to South Asian and Muslim girls. I hope that my intersectional identity will help me make my mark so that other desi girls have a familiar face to look up to.

Thank you, Mina! Go check out her work down below.

TikTok: @Recklessmina

Instagram: @mina.hasan

Twitter: Recklessmina

Now let’s look at one of Charcoal’s own, Teesa Manandhar!

Who are you and what do you do?

Hi my name is Teesa Manadhar and I make videos on TikTok and Youtube and I also stream on Twitch! All my platforms are @teesamaya and I stream gaming and I also post lifestyle videos on TikTok and Youtube.

How does it feel being in this field?

I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do. For example, over the past few months I have been able to grow a community on Twitch. They love the content and they love me as a person, and that is something that is super surreal and very special. I want to capture this moment and make the most of it.

As a person of color, do you believe your work is different and unique based on your background?

I believe that my work is especially unique not only as a person of color but as a woman of color. I’m talking specifically about the gaming community on Twitch, it’s very saturated with white men and men in general, so being a woman of color in the gaming industry will make you stand out alone. I use a face cam for my streams, and as you are scrolling through all of the streams I stand out. It is part of my “brand,” I am a woman of color and that alone differentiates me from other creators.

The digital creative space is white dominated. Do you think that has affected your work/ performance/ audience attraction and retention at all?

Yes, I feel some discouragement when I’m on TikTok or on these other platforms and I see creators who put in minimal effort to create content and get a reaction versus me and other creators who put in hours and sacrifice so much for their content and they don’t get the same reaction even when the quality is of a higher caliber. It’s hard because I’m trying so hard but not getting anywhere so I question if it's worth it to keep going when other people have it so much easier, but you have got to remember your identity is what makes you stand out. White is not the standard and I am not the brown version of the white creator. I am the creator period.

Our representation is so important, back in the day we grew up with movies, now it’s with Twitch and TikTok and Youtube. There are not enough people of color on any platform so if I stop, there will be even less! If people don’t see themselves represented, they will not pursue it themselves. I continue so others will have someone to look up to.

Do you feel as though you can be your true and authentic self on your social media platforms?

I’m still trying to figure out who my true and authentic self is, but when you put yourself out there on social media that already adds a layer of complexity in figuring out who you are and who your internet persona is. I try to stay as true to myself as I can.

Final thoughts about diversity in the digital world and how you hope to make your mark in it?

Twitch had a leak where it revealed the top Twitch creators and their payouts, and it really opened people’s eyes to how white and male dominated gaming is on Twitch. These platforms have the power to push certain content that they think people will like and if they aren’t pushing POC creators content, then why is that? Because I know their content is good if not better than people who put out half-assed content. Overall, representation is important. Some of my first followers were younger girls who were brown and that makes me shocked and happy at the same time. These girls stayed here and are still sticking around to say hi for a reason. I want them to know that there are brown people in every single field they want to go in so don’t be afraid to dive into anything you want to do.

Check out Charcoal’s very own down below!

Twitch: teesamaya


Youtube: TeesaMaya

Instagram: @teesamaya

Last but not least we have BU’s very own Shabal Khadka!

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Shabal Khadka and I’m a junior studying information systems at Questrom. In my spare time, I enjoy creating comedic, skit-style youtube videos.

When did you begin your journey?

I started making videos initially as class projects during high school, when I noticed that my classmates and even random people would approach me and tell me how much they enjoyed the content that I created. I continued making these video projects and this eventually led me to learning crucial skills in video editing and filmography. Eventually, I branched out and began to write and create skits.

How does it feel being in this field?

While I don’t make videos on a regular basis, I get a sense of fulfillment whenever I complete a project. Every hour of time I spend producing my content allows me to learn more about my craft and where I could potentially take it. I would say that positive feedback from my viewers is another factor that inspires me to continue my work and make my mark.

Do you think your background has affected the work you create and how it performs online?

My background doesn’t quite play a part in the videos that I choose to create. I am who I am, rather, I choose to let my content speak for itself.

As a small Youtuber, I already feel dominated by practically every single creator with a bigger audience. I believe that background can certainly impact how many viewers one may receive as well as their demographics, although personally, I do not think my retention has been affected. I believe that trends and effort are the main drivers in success on most digital platforms, although I cannot deny the larger presence of white creators. If there is any impact, I can only choose to up the ante in my productions.

Do you feel as though you can be your true and authentic self on your social media platforms?