Theodora Lee and Aisha Baker are among the bloggers nominated for a 2016 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award in the new category Best Blogger (Africa). We had a chat with the star bloggers about their journeys, audiences, nominations and more.
Live SA: Please tell us a bit about your journey and what got you into blogging.
Theodora: I love telling stories. Creating and recording things has always been my favourite pastime. It started with a paper and pen, and when I was old enough to hold a camera without dropping it, I began making films. Instead of ad or film school, I opted for a degree in drama at Stellenbosch, hoping the world of performance would help me become a better storyteller. Not a lot of people know this, but I blogged throughout university, reviewing plays and writing about my crazy student experiences. It had a fair amount of readers and gave me the confidence to pursue YouTube later on. When I finished studying, I felt geared and ready to set up a YouTube channel. At that stage, I’d spent a fair amount of time already in front of my brother’s camera helping him with his videos. So it felt like a natural progression… and here I am.
Live SA: How do feel about your nomination? Was it something you expected?
Theodora: I feel super excited because I’ve always wanted to get slimed. [On a serious note], it’s awesome. It was completely unexpected. The awards happen all the way in Los Angeles and are for celebrities and rock stars, so it’s incredible to have them opening up a category for African Bloggers.
Live SA: How do you stay grounded with the global acclaim you’ve been receiving?
Theodora: My YouTube channel is about real life issues and being true to yourself, so it would defeat the point if I turned into something that I’m not. I also have a great support system of friends and family who keep me (semi) sane.
Live SA: You have 200K followers. What do you think has been the key to your success?
Theodora: I think it’s down to loving what I do and being relentless at it. [Also] knowing that it isn’t all going to be views and success; that sometimes it’s going to be hard work, but if I keep at it and keep doing it for the right reasons, I’ll be happy in my career.
Live SA: What’s next for you?
Theodora: Oh how I wish I could tell you. But trust me, something really exciting is in the mix. Remember what I said earlier about storytelling?
Live SA: What inspires you to do the work you do?
Theodora: Seeing how my channel has grown and how my viewers interact with the content inspires me to keep doing what I do. I’m also inspired by life in general, people who are kind and hard-working, good books and music, creativity and culture and the mountains that surround Cape Town. I could go on and on.
Live SA: Aisha, congrats on your 2016 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards nomination, was it expected?
Aisha: Not at all. It was such a surprise.
Live SA: Tell us about your blog BakedTheBlog.
Aisha: BakedTheBlog started as a passion project when I was a student at UCT. I heard about blogs from a website called Lookbook and noticed no South Africans had fashion or beauty-related blogs. I decided to start one to write about and share my favourite things in fashion and beauty. I had always dreamed of being a fashion designer or working for a magazine, so this blog really went from my passion to my day job because of how much I loved spending time working on it.
Live SA: You recently came back from Dubai where you’d travelled to support the Blitzbokke. How was that experience?
Aisha: Dubai was sensational. I was really honoured to be invited along with some South African sporting legends and cool cats in the music and celebrity scene. I had the pleasure of spending a week with so many incredible people who have inspired me as entertainers in South Africa. Dubai is a beautiful vibrant place so it was great to be able to explore the city once again.
Live SA: How do you stay grounded despite your 50 000 Instagram followers?
Aisha: I have a really supportive family and friends who don’t allow my ego to get affected by the amount of followers I have or success I have. Both my parents are successful entrepreneurs so I have been bred to be a success as well. For me, I never think about how many followers I have as much as I think about how much I want to inspire women of my generation to pursue their dreams.
Live SA: What has it taken for you come this far?
Aisha: It’s taken a lot of dedication, patience and trust in myself and my process. I have always wanted to be the person I am now, so I just had to be patient enough to get here. I also work with the most amazing person, Tegan Smith. She is both my photographer and works very closely with me on developing BakedTheBlog. Without her, I don’t think I would have ever come this far or reached the milestones I have reached.
Live SA: What else can we expect from you this year?
Aisha: I am currently in talks to do a TV show based on my video-blogging ideas. It should be a great multimedia approach to the BakedTheBlog brand. I’m also working on a shoe and clothing collaboration, which are both still in the early design phase.
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards premieres across Africa on Nickelodeon (DStv channel 305) and Nicktoons (DStv channel 308) at 16:30 CAT on Wednesday 16 March 2016.