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3 Popular influencers talk about social media pressure and coping with it

When social media influencer Murugi Munyi, popularly known as Yummy Mummy, revealed that she had spent Sh600,000 on a liposuction procedure to remove fat around her belly, there were mixed reactions among many Kenyans on social media.

Some could not believe that a person who works as an influencer full-time could afford such a procedure, while others criticised her for bowing to pressure to look a certain way online.

But Ms. Munyi has denied that her decision was influenced by social pressure, insisting that the surgery was something she did for herself.

“I have been thinking about having liposuction for a while. I have always been a chubby person and I have never thought that I am ugly just because of my weight. I love the way I look, but having children changes a person. Even though I decided to go to the gym and start eating healthy, it was not bearing results,” Murugi said.

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Kenyan vlogger Joan Munyi, popularly known as Yummy Mummy. PHOTO | COURTESY
Kenyan vlogger Joan Munyi, popularly known as Yummy Mummy. PHOTO | COURTESY

“I do not know if it’s because I gave birth through a CS procedure, but my lower stomach, no matter what kind of sit-ups I did, the belly was not reducing. So I asked myself why I was struggling and I have money, I can just go for a medical procedure and have the fat removed,” she said.

Now she says she is glad she did it. Looking at herself and not seeing a huge belly has positively impacted her.

Ms Munyi’s story is not unique. Content creation has become a huge money maker for young people, especially because Covid-19 has made people more tech-savvy.

This has attracted corporates to digital spaces to advertise goods and services. Despite the glitz and glamour that comes with it, there is also a dark side. Some of the people who operate in the digital space either fake a posh lifestyle or go to extremes to alter their physical appearance.

“A picture can be manipulated to look like someone is at a five-star hotel, but in reality, they are in Korogocho. I do not want women to leave my page feeling bad or ugly about themselves. I talk about my struggles with my body weight, real stuff.

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Vlogger Murugi Mungi. PHOTO: COURTESY

I think content creators should start being real, not wearing makeup all the time and looking fancy. I know someone out there thinks that Murugi has the best life, but they do not know that I am struggling with my problems behind the scenes,” Ms Munyi said.

“I view social media as a place. I don’t give it a good or bad tag. In life, there will always be people who love you, those who hate you, and those who will agree with you and those who won’t. Some people on social media hate you just because of your hairstyle or how your nose looks. I mainly focus on the positive impact I believe I am making.”

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Azzaid Nasenya. PHOTO: COURTESY

For Tik Tok star Azziad Nasenya the ugly side of being a content creator is cyberbullying.

“Right after I did the Utawezana challenge I was bullied for quite some time. Some people even said I had an ugly smile,” Ms. Nasenya said.

“It was a lot of stuff, which was the lowest moment in my life. At that moment I was contemplating deleting all my social media handles, but I thank God for my family who became my anchor,” she said.

“I have learned that bullies really do not have a problem with you; it is more of them projecting their fears on you. Most of them were saying that I was not dancing well.”

On her vlog in May, fashion and lifestyle blogger Sharon Mundia popularly known as This Is Ess, alerted her fans that she was taking a break from blogging.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about my career, the work that I do and I’ve just started to find myself questioning what I’m doing, why I’m doing it if it matters… and the thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve had such thoughts,” she said.

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“I just don’t really feel clear about my career’s direction. Whether my work has any meaning or impact, just all these kinds of existential type of questions, what I’m doing with my life and I think for a while there I had decided to focus purely on my job.”

Fashion and lifestyle blogger Sharon Mundia aka This Is Ess. PHOTO | COURTESY

She also expressed unhappiness with the direction her career is taking.

“I had a conversation that helped me realize that the biggest thing is that I’ve completely lost track of my ‘why’. I was very clear on that right after the one-year break that I took from content creation about 5 years ago and came back with such clarity. In fact, in the last week or so, I’ve been wondering if that’s what I need to do again.

“So maybe what I need is a few weeks to just sit with this and think through things. Because I’m not happy with where things are. I’m really not happy. I’ve struggled with sleep, food, and just on many other fronts. I want to do right by myself.”

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In an interview with Daily Nation, Mundia once said she was scared of coming second.

“I almost always turn everything into a competition. When I was younger, especially in high school, I may have stepped on many people’s toes,” Ms. Mundia, who used to host Living with Ess on NTV.

At the time, she said it was her good upbringing and doing her best in school that grounded her in an age where women, especially socialites, post nude pictures to get their fifteen minutes of fame.

“I am not fixated on being obsessively rich but on having a secure future. I set goals each year for my investments and blog,” she said.

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