WashU on YouTube: An Interview with Madi Mikay (’22)

It’s one thing to write about WashU and paint images of the campus,  people, and events with words. But what about visuals? What about sharing the life of a WashU student through the lens of a camera rather than the ink of a pen—I handwrite blogposts, too.

Well, you’re in luck!

I have two friends who host a YouTube channel dedicated to showing life as a student here at WashU. The first channel I share with you belongs to YouTube personality Madi Mikay—a rising sophomore from Tennessee. Madi is a sociology major and 3-year business owner—now specializing in vegan lip gloss sold on her website.

When thinking of her channel, the words genuine, relatable, and black come to mind. In our interview, her answers align and surpass that description, as Madi shares how she continues to be a multi-disciplined persona at Washington University.

I asked Madi what prompted her to start creating YouTube content, and she responds saying that “honestly she was encouraged to do so.” She realized that she has helpful advice for people and wants to share her thoughts on the internet. And why not? Madi’s channel originally came to be during her final year of high school; the WashU aspect of her channel began when she noticed that the existing YouTube content about WashU did not apply to any of her identities. Thus she wouldn’t be able to predict her experience as a student. She says that it honestly seemed like the black community at WashU was in non-existence until you visited campus. Her channel is designed to make visualizing diversity easier for future students who want to apply here and envision their attendance.

Her intended audience is not compromised solely of WashU students or applicants. Madi creates her channel for black adolescents and young adults. Her hope is for the channel to be relatable to any young, black adult and she is still working on fulfilling that goal. (Check out her video about the Black Art Exhibit that we visited one weekend: https://youtu.be/tYUFBZjQwnM)

What Madi enjoys most about hosting a channel is “having fun with it.” Her process is often just talking to herself, and it becomes funny to playback those videos. What she least enjoys is having to scrap a video during the editing process. Madi’s process is a compilation of creating, critiquing, and deleting the videos that she does not enjoy re-watching…

Mikay mentioned two things that she has come to learn while producing her own channel. The first lesson is that “it’s not easy, but it’s not hard.” It is often simply sitting in front of a camera talking to yourself. Experiencing this has made Mikay more sympathetic and understanding to other YouTubers’ channels. The other side of YouTube—creating—is much different from watching. The other lesson that she learned from running a business is that one cannot depend solely on the support from others if the dream/goal belongs to he/she/them. She states, “it is sad but just the reality of it. In the beginning you are depending on friends and family to boost you. The washu community is very supportive of its community’s endeavors.” But she learned that you have to let that expectation go and support yourself to make the most of your own confidence as the creator of your brand.

P.S. Madi looks forward and appreciates receiving feedback from people, so definitely reach out to her either through her site (it’s linked to her channel) or YouTube channel.

Look out for the next interview with Class of 2022’s other residential YouTube personality: Desirae Bartos!

Until next time:

Have a beautiful day!