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Following Michelle Choi: 5 Things I’ve Learned As An Avid Viewer

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

For those who aren’t familiar, Michelle Choi is a South Korean-American Youtuber based in NYC known for clips of her cooking, meet-ups with friends and adorable dog, Dobby. She’s effortlessly chic, vibrant and shares her life experiences through entertaining vlogs. To put it simply, she’s my Matilda Djerf.

Here are five things I’ve learned from watching Michelle’s content, and why I think it’s so mass-appealing:

The Art Of Mundane Actions 

When I started watching Michelle’s videos as a high-schooler with terrible senioritis, her life was the epitome of my dream future. Her “Living Alone Diaries” captured the twenties so well that I would lay in bed hoping my twenties would also include an apartment in NYC, fashionable home decor and an envy-worthy wardrobe (I still want all of this). I think her content fails to bore me and millions of others because we all see a part of ourselves in her life: we also grab a coffee in hopes that it’ll make us more productive, rearrange furniture, make a cultural dish that reminds us of home and love to lay on the sofa watching Netflix. Watching someone else film what I do regularly, but far more aesthetically makes me, see my mundane life through a kinder perspective. 

Hobbies, Hobbies, Hobbies

Nobody told me how hard it is to have a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to bring you happiness, but I stress over how few I have, the “validity” of these hobbies and how to stay interested. I buy knitting needles but not the yarn, make a library card but don’t check out any books and buy dumbbells only to use the treadmill. Watching Michelle go to pottery class and salsa dance with her boyfriend is inspiring, given she’s a fellow introvert. She doesn’t discuss how good or bad she is at her hobbies or how they can have additional benefits like bringing in income. She shows contentment by simply doing what feels good and suits her needs. In short, hobbies are worth pursuing simply for the joy they bring. 

Admiring Female Friendships

Female friendships are one of the most special relationships: we define what’s cool amongst ourselves, share our favorite tiny tops, make each other drinks and show relentless loyalty with no other reason than just enjoying each other’s presence. 

Michelle has openly talked about the difficulties of friendships and reaching out to maintain that connection, which spoke so much to me. Making new friends sometimes feels like going on a first date. My stomach hurts from being nervous, I arrive at the dining hall ten minutes early and mentally make a note of topics we can hopefully bond over.

I love how Michelle makes an active choice to include a lot of female friendship-focused content in her videos and demonstrates that friendships require a lot of effort. Hot take: healthy friendships need just as much (if not more) effort from both parties as a romantic relationship does to be successful (this is your sign to text your friend and actually do something together). 

NAVIGATING DIFFICULT EMOTIONS

There’s nothing more annoying than scrolling on your phone when you’re procrastinating and seeing a “Day In My Life” video that somehow includes three grocery trips, a fat bank deposit, two workout classes and the thickest mouth-watering green smoothie known to man. Good for the girlies who have a 5 to 9 routine before their 9 to 5, but I really don’t need to see that when I don’t have either! 

While there’s no doubt that the glimpses of life Michelle shares are romantic and beautiful, she also makes sure to have important conversations about her emotions and productivity that I think anyone can relate to. We all know that progress isn’t linear, but that doesn’t mean backtracking and fluctuating emotions hurt any less. Michelle has spoken about struggling to pinpoint what emotions she feels towards herself and within her personal relationships and she does so without an overly optimistic tone. Instead, she simply acknowledges and accepts her feelings. Also, while I’m jealous of those that can articulate their emotions well enough to journal every day, I don’t think (?) Michelle journals and that just makes her more real to me. No “journaling changed my life” preaching here!

Mindful Consumption

Women of all ages seem to really love Michelle’s content, and I think that it’s partially because she shows the value of mindful consumption and prioritizes life experiences over materialistic objects. Yes, I’m aware she buys cute kitchenware once in a while, but she doesn’t flaunt the newest designer bag on social media in a way that screams, “I’m rich and what about it?”

Instead, Michelle takes us to her flower arrangement, salsa, hot yoga and ceramics classes. Can I, as a broke college student, afford a Prada bag? No (obviously). Can I, as a broke college student, book a hot yoga class? Again, no because I live in LA, but it’s far more accessible than a $3,000 bag. Her lifestyle is balanced, mindful and just luxurious enough to where I find her experiences new and refreshing, but not too unrealistic. I watch her eat at nice restaurants while I happily eat my dining hall fries, hoping that I, too, can one day have the same dining experience.

There’s no denying that social media is largely curated, planned and executed to show others the best side of ourselves. It’s important to keep this in mind when consuming any kind of content; Michelle’s 15-minute videos capture the highlights of her week and exclude moments that may not be as glamorous or too personal. But of the clips that she does share with us, I think there are moments that are relatable or worthy of reflection. Seeing a fellow Korean American live such a romanticized life in my teenage years was largely influential on the way I view myself, my culture, hobbies, friendships and what I truly want in my life, and maybe it will be for you too. 

Hannah is a second-year student at UCLA, majoring in Psychology. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, grabbing coffee, and painting her nails.