A case of digital therapy
IT’S hard to picture mindfulness as the core reason back-boning my use of social media. Oftentimes, the thought of staying updated and connected admittedly incurs more anxiety than feelings of gratification. But beauty vlogger, social media influencer and digital content producer Mina Rosli is here to prove otherwise with a solid case.
The brainchild behind Mina Ross, the beauty-themed YouTube channel with 16,575 subscribers to date, believes that the Internet can be one of life’s best tools to alchemise self-growth and assertion. It boils down to using it the right way.
Mina asserts radically, “The key is to know the true reasons why the Internet and social media are useable to you.”
The 23-year-old Klang native, whose full name is Siti Nur Aminah Rosli, first found solace in the Internet at the peak of her clinical depression, a condition she is unapologetically open and honest about.
“It’s weird that my depression was what made me pursue what I do. I know it seems counterintuitive, but that’s how it was,” Mina said.
“I guess it worked as a factor because somehow, I managed to frame my thinking into seeing it as a weapon to rebuild myself, after all the despair. The Internet is a limitless space.”
Smacked right at the start of her 20s, the ‘rock bottom’ Mina had prompted her to start documenting her life publicly via photography and social media.
Mina, a Taylor’s University graduate, says, “I actually never saw myself going into social media work at all. I started playing around with it sometime in 2014, as I was reaching the end of my diploma course. And I have always been into photography, but not publicly.”
Around the same time the epiphany came, she started travelling, after tirelessly working odd jobs and saving up extra allowances to fund the journey.
A two-week break in the UK followed by an unexpected few months of exploring American soil had not only allowed her to improve her mind faculty, it also gave her time to train and develop her photography skills.
“I decided to photograph moments in my journey and upload them on my social media pages. I was surprised by how much people actually like what they see,” she said.
Mina’s foray into beauty and makeup came shortly afterwards.
“Growing up, my mom was strict and wouldn’t allow me to wear any makeup. So finally having the opportunity to explore it, I went all out,” Mina explained.
“The intense need to explore it further came around the same time as I started existing on social media. I was happy to share the journey and talk about it.”
And explore beauty Mina did, noting the satisfying awareness that came with knowing which makeup techniques worked on her and accepting what didn’t.
Given her depression, Mina was particularly privy to the importance of setting a positive, empowering tone about beauty, not only for herself but also for her growing pool of followers.
From there, it became easier to keep building her self-certainty — and her brand presence.
DEFYING THE STEREOTYPE
Not long after, online requests for makeup tutorials came rolling, prompting Mina to start vlogging and posting visual how-tos on YouTube.
It was an intensely buzzed about affair from the get go, leading her Instagram followers to multiple tenfold. Today, her following sums up to a whopping 41.9k devotees.
Expressing her aptitude as a creator, the young woman muses, “I love producing videos. I enjoy production work, and making content. There’s always something to create.”
“And If I’m not producing or editing, I’m experimenting something on my face. I realise the underlying thirst for creativity is similar in these two things, which is why doing both at the same time is wonderful to me. I’m a happier person because of this,” Mina adds.
The quieter yet more significant highlight of dealing with her depression with technology is her increasing focus on her natural role as content producer.
A year into vlogging for Mina Ross, Mina was approached by Media Prima’s digital division Studio 8 to produce content for their online funnels, in particular their in-house YouTube channel called Hatch.
What started out as an internship course necessitating monthly video contributions had later transformed into a full-time producing gig.
Such ‘online-to-offline’ growth model, if you will, is honestly unheard of with most of the social media influencers out there.
Recalling her extended journey into hosting, Mina says, “I was thrown into the deep end. And silly me, I didn’t check the fine print of my contract, which precluded the fact that I have to attend Media Prima’s award shows and events.”
“My first official hosting gig was Anugerah Skrin 2016. I was so shaky, my anxiety just flared up, all the way! But looking back, I learned so much about hosting. It actually teaches me to take control of my nerves.”
When she is not busy fine-tuning her hosting prowess, Mina spends her days in the studio planning content calendars, writing scripts, and ideating proposals.
The budding producer also takes note of editing tips and takeaways for Mina Ross; from Final Cut Pro, she has graduated to the more complex Premier Pro preferred by her colleagues.
With everything that’s happening on her plate, how does Mina manage emotionally?
“Keeping the balance between my day job and my influencer duties is actually really tough. But I tell myself to focus on achieving, which I like to do,” Mina said.
Noting how important it is for her to keep abreast of every daily activity, she adds, “While I use iPhone notes and the Google Calendar alarm reminders, I also write a lot in my physical planner. It allows me to track my emotions and stay mindful.”
Part of dealing with depression is admitting that episodes of it will always surface from time to time. A routine that thus helps Mina manage is what she labels as ‘social media cleanse’, a period during which she would retreat from technological routines and unnecessary contacts.
“Whenever I see myself refreshing my Facebook feed five times in one short sitting, I know it’s time to disconnect,” Mina exclaimed.
Noting on her bravery in openly expressing her cause and climb, Mina unabashedly coloured her response with an astute belief in reliable support.
“I want girls out there to know that if you have a mental illness, it’s okay to acknowledge and admit it, and know that it’s not your fault,” Mina says.
“For those suffering in silence, you definitely have to learn how to shape your life, on your own terms. Do not let your condition dictate who you are and how you live. Using the digital world creatively helps you to know your pain better, and pushes you to move on.”
Using the digital world creatively helps you to know your pain better, and pushes you to move on.