Meet the Youtube Influencer Who Is Balancing College and a Thriving Brand at the Same Time
By Kia Robinson
Building your own brand can be quite the challenge but YouTube vlogger, Nia Imani, 20, seems to have grasped the hang of things at a very early age. Hailing from Lithonia, Ga., Nia Imani has amassed over 87k followers on her YouTube channel where she mainly focuses on successful haircare regimens and occasionally shares her college experiences. She is a current student at Hampton University studying strategic communications and cinema studies with hopes of one day being able to write, direct and produce her own productions.
What started out as a minor hobby has ultimately turned into the opportunity for Nia Imani to share her natural hair journey and her experiences as she matriculates through college. We can only imagine that running such a popular brand and being a full-time student is a lot of work but we wanted to know more. The Life Currency spoke with Nia Imani about her journey to becoming a YouTube influencer and where she plans to go from here.
When did you start your YouTube channel and why?
I started my YouTube channel in middle school around 2009. My cousins and I use to make silly videos of us just having fun, playing around, and rapping. It wasn’t anything serious at all. But when I would go to school, people would ask, “Hey, how do you do your hair?” and I would say, “Well I can’t really show you here.” At the time my parents had just brought me a camera because I was trying to grow my photography skills. So I started using the camera to record tutorials about my hair and how I take care of it. From there, the videos started getting more attention than I intended them to. I wasn’t that invested in it at the time and I would upload videos every now and then while I was in high school. The summer before I enrolled at Hampton University I really became consistent. I would vlog my hair tutorials and later I began vlogging my Hampton University experience. That’s when my followers really started to increase and I said, “Okay Nia. This is really growing.” I went from 7K, to 20K, to 50K and that’s when I realized I was really on to something. People would reach out to me and try to meet up with me just to talk hair and sometimes I go to the mall and people will stop me and say, “I recognize you.” It’s not even local anymore.
How do you find time balancing being a full-time student and a very popular YouTube influencer?
As with anything, you make time for what you want to do. If I know I have an assignment due, I make sure I get that out the way first. Work always comes first before touching anything related to YouTube. Ultimately I’m at Hampton University to get a degree and I’m not majoring in YouTube.
What’s your favorite part about sharing your tutorials and college stories?
The feedback. Knowing that my videos are helpful to someone is a great feeling. If I can inspire someone to go natural or transfer to Hampton or even just go to school, that’s what keeps me going. That’s my motivation: knowing that I can impact the lives of others just by sharing my stories and my experiences.
Who’s your favorite YouTube personality or vlogger?
I really like Naptural85, I watch all her videos. I also like Jayla Koriyan, Kathryn Bedell – she’s really relatable. I see a lot of myself in her.
What’s next for your brand?
This summer I plan to focus on a lot of my personal goals. I want to immerse myself, even more, into the natural hair space. I work with a lot of companies and they’re great companies but I could probably do the same thing and produce the same results. This summer I plan on creating my own natural products from home. I want to create natural organic products that are good to me and healthy for me and my body.
What advice would you give someone who’s interested in starting a YouTube channel or blog?
Just go for it. Don’t keep saying you want to do something and not really do it. You can say it all day long meanwhile someone else out there is actually putting in the work. Just make it happen and claim all the things you want. Don’t compare yourself to other people and remain in your own lane. People always crash when they’re focusing on someone else’s lane. Most importantly, remain consistent. Consistency is key. If you produce content and then suddenly stop, your audience is going to be looking for you and ultimately lose interest.
What has been your biggest lesson since your YouTube channel has gained so much popularity?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is self-love. It sounds crazy but you have to be confident in all that you do when putting yourself out on these large platforms. Sometimes people on the internet can be mean but it helps you grow a thicker skin. You end up appreciating yourself for who you are and all that you are. It will certainly build more character and make you stronger. It has definitely helped improve my confidence all around.
As for working specifically, the biggest lesson I’ve learned about blogging would be being mindful about the companies I choose to work with. You definitely have to be mindful of who you’re going to work with. Do they match your morals and what you stand for? Don’t compromise yourself on this platform and try to be something you’re not. If a natural hair care company reaches out to me about a collaboration and their products have sulfate in them, I wouldn’t work with them. I personally don’t use sulfate on my hair anymore. I wouldn’t take that endorsement just because it’s extra money because I don’t agree with what they have in their products. I just try to avoid working with companies that don’t align with what I stand for. I have to do my history about the brand before agreeing to work with a company. That’s with everything in life. Always know what you’re getting yourself into.
Kia is a recent college graduate that's simply trying to grasp the concept of "adulting". She enjoys hugs, quotes, a good book, and all things motivational. Her favorite book is The Alchemist and she can watch Girlfriends all day long.