“I always used the hashtag #SweetSenegal in my pictures and my friends were like “why don’t you turn this into a blog!?”
Aida: Tell me a little bit about your background/upbringing?
Awa: I was born in Senegal and my parents moved here first and then my siblings and I joined them in 2004. In college, I studied Math & French (Aida: oohh you’re smart!). Throughout college, I was always interested in all things public relations – blogging, marketing, photography, etc. I went into the marketing field after college and was a Marketing Manager for a jewelry company after I graduated. I went to Senegal for a few years but eventually came back to the States because I missed my family too much!
Aida: What are your passions in life?
Awa: Right now, I am still trying to figure it out haha! I love making other people laugh/happy & spreading joy. It’s funny because before, I wanted to be rich (like most of us) but now, it’s more so about giving back; A recent example is the “Distribution de Ndogous et Packets Pour Le Korite” initiative I participated in during my latest trip to Senegal. It really humbled me to see the smiles on people’s faces in the hospitals we were distributing ndogou at and I want to use my YouTube platform to continue to spread the love and expand my reach!
Aida: How did you get the inspiration for your YouTube channel?
Awa: When I was in Senegal for 2 years after college, I was shy but interested in photography. In my social media posts, I always used the hashtag #SweetSenegal in my pictures and my friends were like “why don’t you turn this into a blog!?” My whole thing was I didn’t want it to be about me! Fast forward to when I came back to New York, there was a funny story where I filmed myself washing my hair and my friends encouraged me to post it to YouTube! The reaction I got from people was very positive and that was the beginning of my YouTube channel now! Again, it’s always about spreading joy and making others smile/laugh – that’s why I do what I do.
Aida: What is your life motto?
Awa: To be honest, I am still trying to figure it out! I have always been a logical person (hence why I pursued Math in University). But the older I got, the more I realized that life isn’t always as straightforward as 2+2=4. These days, I am going with a “go with the flow” mentality and trying to live my life through my passions! I’ll share a personal story around this. I recently quit my job in search of what my true passions are. In the Senegalese culture, a job is often times associated with security, not enjoyment. So it was a big step in my life and I am the kind of person that takes into account my parents’ feedback/opinions. But for the first time in my life, I thought about myself and what I wanted – not necessarily what would make others happy.
Aida: What did you think about the first story, ADAMA, if you read it?
Awa: When I read the story, it spoke to me. Tying it back to when I started my YouTube channel, it made me think about all the potential backlash of being in the public eye while being married – what would my family/friends think about it? But I knew that it was just another obstacle to overcome and given that it’s 2019, we shouldn’t even have to think about that. It’s a different way of living now and we shouldn’t be inhibited by such things. So I think the story is relatable and many women can see themselves in it.
Talking with Awa was such a pleasure – her energy radiated from within! It’s funny how similar our lives are and by “our” I mean countless Senegalese girls going through similar paths. In a world where we have multiple identities and must merge different lives into one seamless one, it can be wildly comforting to know someone else is walking alongside you on the journey. A big thanks to Awa for her time!!! Check out her YouTube channel for funny and informative videos – don’t forget to subscribe. 🙂