NYUnique: AINURA KUDAIBERGEN: From Curiosity to 172K Subscribers
“From Astana to London, Tel-Aviv to Vienna and now New York”
Lei: Tell me about yourself.
Ainura: I was born in Kazakhstan but raised internationally. Moving from Astana to London, Tel-Aviv to Vienna and now New York, I have experienced a fascinating kaleidoscope of unique experiences that have shaped my global perspective and inclusive worldview. My social media presence began with YouTube, through which I reached thousands of viewers across the globe with my fashion, lifestyle and motivational videos. I am now studying Media, Culture and Communication at NYU and am compelled to continue expanding my creative vision for a greater cause.
Lei: Congratulations on reaching 172k followers on your YouTube channel. That is so exciting! Can you define your YouTube channel in one sentence?
Ainura: Thank you! It’s where I am able to express myself, share my ideas and inspire the young generation to believe in themselves and never give up.
Lei: What made you start your YouTube channel?
Ainura: Curiosity! I have tried everything ranging from sports to dance to art, but I couldn’t connect with any of those activities. I was always interested in experimenting with different cameras and filming techniques. I love how on YouTube there are no limits to creativity. You can become your own director, cinematographer, editor and have the freedom to produce anything you want, knowing that there will always be an audience to support you.
Lei: I heard that NYU is the one and only college you applied for. That must have taken a lot of courage. Why did you choose NYU?
Ainura: Standing at the crossroad of education can be challenging for my generation but for me my vision is very clear. My presence in global social media compelled me to search for a university that supports my interests, and I was deeply convinced that NYU, my first and only choice, located in the world’s melting pot of cultures and dynamic student life, holds the promise of a meaningful future. It’s my first year studying here. The moment I stepped on campus, I felt a sense of belonging because NYU unites people of so many different backgrounds and embrace the uniqueness of all of us.
Lei: Do you share your insecurities with your followers and subscribers? Are you seeking self-validation through social media?
Ainura: There are certain boundaries that I have set for myself when it comes to the world of social media and my life off-screen. It’s easy to get lost between the two, so I try to maintain the balance. I open up and use my experience to raise awareness in regard to certain topics, but I do so in a way that keeps a distance between what I want and do not want to share.
Lei: People tend to represent the extreme version of themselves and promote super positive and healthy lifestyle on social media, but sometimes it's just a delusion they create. How do you stay genuine?
Ainura: I agree. A lot of the content that we see online is filtered out. The moments that are captured and shared publicly are often the ‘happy’ ones, and anything that doesn’t fit is hidden or left out on purpose. Knowing that so many teens look up to me, I do my best to stay authentic and true to myself.
Lei: What are some dos and don'ts for the starters out there?
Ainura: Be yourself; follow what you are passionate about; be consistent; put your full energy into your dream, and know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it come true.
Lei: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Will you keep this as your profession in the future?
Ainura: Hmm, it’s hard to tell! Utilizing this platform has opened many doors of opportunity for me to interact with people who are committed to social change and to work with organizations that I admire, which I am forever grateful for. In the future, I hope to pursue something I am passionate about and make a meaningful impact on the world and society as a whole.
Directed and Interviewed by: Lei Jin
Photographed by: Denise Tien
Interviewee: Ainura Kudaibergen