Putting the You in YouTube

Senior Kendra Maldonado holds up a book, Self-Meditation, for her YouTube channel. She explains to her viewers that the book has helped her learn to be less stressed, and hopes it can do the same for them. “Being stressed is not good for your mental health,” Maldonado said. “My biggest motivator is to try and make [self-care] videos or trying to incorporate them into my channel.”

Having good mental health | Senior Kendra Maldonado holds up a book, Self-Meditation, for her YouTube channel. She explains to her viewers that the book has helped her learn to be less stressed, and hopes it can do the same for them. “Being stressed is not good for your mental health,” Maldonado said. “My biggest motivator is to try and make [self-care] videos or trying to incorporate them into my channel.”

She edits the clip repeatedly, wanting her YouTube video to be perfect for her viewers. An hour has already gone by and she is tempted to stop editing for the day, but she remembers why she is committed to her channel and what she wants to accomplish. Senior Kendra Maldonado continues this long process of dedication to her YouTube channel. Throughout the hardwork and long hours, she uses it as a symbol of community, self-discovery and expression.

Maldonado’s videos are centered around fashion and lifestyle, stemming from her love for both areas. She sees fashion as an artform and something she can connect with other people. Her lifestyle videos center around self-care and allow Maldonado to share tips about fashion and stress-management.

“Fashion, to me, is just another way to express [myself] or find a sense of community. You can choose to be a little more out of the box,” Maldonado said. “I got into making lifestyle videos because it allows me to make a wide range of videos. I can share my tips for anything, like fashion or how to destress.”

Beginning her YouTube channel, called Kendra Maldonado in May of 2020, she is on her way to achieving her goal of spreading positivity and building a connection with her viewers. She uses her iPhone 11 Pro, a tripod and a mix of natural lighting and a ring light to film her videos. She later edits them on iMovie and has currently uploaded 12 videos and has 92 subscribers.

“I was very nervous as to what my friends and other people would say. Then the more I started [making videos], finding more enjoyment and making content, it became a lot easier to film,” Maldonado said. “I’ve come in with this new mindset of not doing [YouTube] for others, but more of what I like.”

Making videos is Maldonado’s way of expressing herself. She found her passion by watching other YouTubers and feeling drawn to the different backgrounds and effects she can try when putting together her videos.

“I’ve always known I had a creative side and that I need to express myself,” Maldonado said. “YouTube has really helped me bring that passion out and allowed me to indulge in my creativity. Editing kind of allows me to be more creative as well as my filming style or video editing.”

In between August and December, Maldonado took a break from her YouTube channel after struggling to find motivation and ideas. She used this time to reflect on what she truly enjoys about being a creator and how she could remain dedicated. 

“I took time to do some self improvement. I started realizing that if you look at things pessimistically, you’re really not going to get anywhere except having boring and dreadful days,” Maldonado said. “I started realizing that if you look at things pessimistically, you’re really not going to get anywhere except having boring and dreadful days. Then, I felt more comfortable putting out content again and sharing with other people.” 

Throughout this time period, Maldonado also internalized her sources of inspiration and gained a better understanding of what appeals best to her. The support from her father allowed her to realize her passion and continue her journey as a YouTuber.

“The biggest push for me was my dad. I had told him I wanted to start making videos and before I even started, he bought me a ring light and a tripod,” Maldonado said. “He believed in me enough to start [the YouTube channel] so he really was my biggest motivator to kind of take that leap to do something I thought I would enjoy.”

With this newfound drive to grow her channel, Maldonado enforces a strict schedule to balance her time with school. She tries to film in between 12-3 p.m., varying between Saturday to Monday, and editing afterschool on the rest of the weekdays. Whenever she makes a video featuring items she has bought, Maldonado must make sure the dates are correct for delivery. In addition, she must keep track of the weather for good filming conditions.

“I really try and separate [school and YouTube] because I know I need dedication. I make sure I can put in my time into school because I do have a heavy workload,” Maldonado said. “I have to make sure I clear my schedule [and] prepare for [a late night’s] sleep on the days I’m editing because that’s when everything’s done already and I can really focus on YouTube.” 

As a senior, Maldonado has applied for two colleges, one majoring in psychology, and the other in interior design. She believes that these fields will help her grow her channel and professionalism. For now, Maldonado focuses on sharing content with others rather than growing her channel, but she still wants to pursue YouTube in the future.

“I want to keep going as long as I can. Everyone’s dream would be able to make a living off of it, but I’ve really so far been enjoying it as a hobby,” Maldonado said. “If it could be more that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s not a problem for me. So I hope to have the channel as long as I can keep it.”

Maldonado hopes to expand her YouTube content to advice and self-care videos. Her motivation for the channel is trying to reach as many people as she can, especially if they need help or have no one to turn to.

“My biggest motivator is to try and make videos [and] incorporate them into my channel. Recently, I realized that some people don’t always have a friend to go to,” Maldonado said. “I know a lot of kids are scared of high school. I definitely had my ups and downs and I feel right now I have some good methods that have really helped me look at [life] more positively.”

Aside from her goal of helping others with her channel, Maldonado also focuses on her own self-improvement. She has learned various lessons from her experience as a YouTuber, helping her feel more confident in herself and her content.  

“[YouTube] really taught me that motivation isn’t the only thing you can rely on when you need to do something. You really need a schedule and you really need to hold yourself accountable,” Maldonado said. “I need to be trusting in my own instincts and that not everything is as negative as I may make it seem.”

By Remy Wong, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Kendra Maldonado