Youtuber Mai Pham Talks Mental Health, Social Justice & Honest Conversations

Mai Pham | Photo by Nikii Victoria

When it comes to social media influencers, there is a huge trend toward embracing the way we are all so multi-faceted as human beings. Gone are the days when celebrities and notable figures were known for just one thing. With an entire generation being raised connecting with their peers online, Gen Z Youtubers are the role models youth are increasingly looking toward, whether it be for beauty tips, social issues, relationships or anything in between.

One of our fave Gen Z-ers on Youtube is Mai Pham, who encompasses all of the above and underscores why the social media platform has become so popular for following everyday people. Mai was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. She began her YouTube channel at 13-years-old, by uploading a video of the contents of her high school volleyball bag. She continued taking her followers through her lifestyle and various beauty transformation. After building a strong platform, she moved out of her parent’s house at 15-years-old to follow her passion for traveling around the world.

Now at 18, she has created an amazing platform with over 2.2M+ followers and 116M+ views across all social media platforms! At a very young age, Mai’s parents inspired her love for seeing the world and being independent. She is extremely passionate about meeting people from different places and experiencing new cultures. She has many exciting partnerships including her recent collaborations with Bumble, The Picnic Collective, Reebok, Belief, EyeBuyDirect, and many more! Mai is currently gearing up to release her self-designed clothing brand of streetstyle pieces, which was inspired by Travis Scott’s Potential Cacti. 

Mai constantly strives to keep her channel honest and personal by opening up about mental health struggles and breakups, while also sharing crash courses on skateboarding, camping adventures, and bucket lists. She encourages her followers to be self-aware and constantly work on improving and become more positive. 

We spoke with the social media star about travel, social justice, mental health, and embarking on new adventures.

Tell us about growing up in Alberta, and how you first became interested in making Youtube videos? 

I grew up in a small town and there was never really much to do besides from the usual running around Walmart, and hanging out in hockey rink parking lots. When I was bored, I just sat in my room and starting to make videos on my webcam. I did some singing covers and also just played with toys on camera and did unboxings, mimicking the YouTubers I was watching at the time! 

You moved out of home at 15 and have been traveling the world making content and sharing it with your followers. What do you love most about travel?

I love how much you get to learn about yourself and different cultures when you travel. Solo traveling really helped me grow as a person and become more comfortable by myself, and figure out that I can rely on myself. Relying on myself is really important for my future, since you are the creator of your own destiny!

Along with your daily life videos, glow-up videos and travel, you are also passionate about mental health. Why is this topic important to you? 

Growing up I didn’t have anyone to talk to, and so I used YouTube as an outlet whenever I was feeling down. Now that I have the opportunity to be that outlet for other people, I am passionate about speaking up on mental health. I experienced it myself so I know how hard it can be to deal with feeling like you’re alone and feeling like you have no one there for you, but openly talking about it on YouTube can make people feel like it’s okay and to show them if I can get through it they can too.

Mai Pham | Photo by Nikii Victoria

Right now there are so many people still isolated at home due to COVID-19, which is impacting their mental health. How has this new reality impacted the type of content you are currently making? 

I used to travel a lot and travel vlogs were always a highlight for my channel, but since covid I haven’t been able to do that. I’ve been doing a lot more day in my life videos to show all the little things that I go through and experience. I just feel like sometimes it’s hard to be motivated and in a routine so I hope that people that watch my videos can feel a little bit of motivation to get up and start their day, just like I do in my videos.

You’ve shared a lot of info in your Instagram stories in support of Black Lives Matter. Do you think it is important for influencers to use their platform to shine a light on social justice issues? 

I feel that social media has such an impact these days and people look up to people with a platform. If you have a platform to share and bring awareness to the subject, I absolutely believe you should. You never know who is watching your content, so it can have a bigger impact than you realize.

Mai Pham | Photo by Nikii Victoria

Right now there is a lot of awareness around the increase in violence toward the Asian-American community. What kind of conversations are you seeing right now among other influencers? 

It’s so sad to see the violence in the news, especially against my community. I’m glad to see the conversations speaking out against these hate crimes, but we definitely have a long way to go to fix these problems. Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own town, and we have to keep talking about racist violence so it doesn’t continue.

Traveling to new places, meeting new people and immersing yourself in a new culture is such a great way to break down barriers. How would you encourage people to do the same when it comes to tackling prejudice and fear about others? 

I really recommend going to places outside your comfort zone! The best way to expand your mind and meet new types of people is to just go. There are so many beautiful places to explore, and when you’re in a new place you learn so much more than you’d expect. We have so much in common with different cultures, there’s no need to be scared. It definitely helps you overcome your own prejudices, the more you get to know other people’s perspectives and see what their life is like. 

Mai Pham | Photo by Nikii Victoria

Can you tell us about the upcoming release of your new clothing line and what fans can expect to see? 

I’ve been working on my clothing line for months now! I was inspired by a lot of street wear clothing. I want my pieces to be something any gender could wear and want it to be able to be a basic in your closet. I know with everything going on, people can’t go out as much. I wanted to make sure to create something that could be comfortable for hanging out indoors, but also really trendy and photo-worthy. I put a lot of my personality into this line, and am so excited to share it soon.

Who your female heroes are and the women who have made a huge impact in your life?

Miss Remi Ashten! I’ve been watching her videos for forever, and she really inspired me when I was starting out. I really try to surround myself with positive female role models. My supportive friend group is always here for me, and I love growing and learning together with them. My friends always inspire me to keep being creative and to stay positive.

What message do you have to other young women about chasing their dreams?  

I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a little kid and I would just tell girls to believe in yourself. If you don’t, how can you expect others to believe in you? I feel that anything is achievable if you keep working towards it.

Be sure to follow along with what Mai Pham is doing by subscribing to her Youtube Channel.

Mai Pham | Photo by Nikii Victoria