On Being a Student and Content Creator with Moya Mawhinney


Moya is a Art History and English Literature student at Trinity College and a creator on YouTube and Instagram focusing on lifestyle and sustainability content.

Where are you from? And where are you located now? 

I’m from Belfast, Ireland, although, many people haven’t really been here. I just signed a lease on a new apartment in Dublin, and I am moving back this weekend!

Where do you attend school and what do you study?  

I go to Trinity College in Dublin, and I’m going into final year. You’ll have seen it in Normal People! I study Art History and English Literature through a dual honors program, and I’ll be focusing on Art History for my final year.

Can you tell me about how you got started with YouTube and Instagram? What inspired you to start? 

I’ve been watching YouTube since I was 11. When I was in high school, I wanted to start a YouTube channel because I loved making videos. I would make yearly round up videos. At that age though, you think everyone is going to hate you and it will be embarrassing. I wanted to start last summer mostly as a means of remembering my time at uni, but I finally started when I was in New York and properly got into it since the start of quarantine. I love the creative aspect, and I also love the community. I wish I had started sooner, and I say “just do it” to everyone who’s interested in starting a channel.

Your videos focus on sustainability, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. Where did those interests come from? How did you decide them to be the focus? 

A good thing having started YouTube later is that I refined my interests. I started at a point where I already know what I like rather than growing into it. A lot of the content that I do watch is lifestyle focused. With the rise of Ashley, @bestdressed, sustainability has also been successfully integrated into popular content.

My mom has always been a sustainable person and always shopped at charity stores and thrift stores. So, it’s been a part of my life as well. I also love fashion and watch a lot of hauls and follow proper fashion influencers. But, the more you look into fast fashion, you see the problems. I feel weird calling myself a sustainability influencer because I know I’m not perfect and don’t think I ever will be. I will probably buy the occasional item from a brand and will continue to travel because I love it. Shopping more sustainably is just one thing that I know that I can change in my life. It is nice and interesting to do my little part in sharing sustainability especially since it’s been a big part of my life, with my mom.

Can you share your advice on starting a YT channel and Instagram?

I got into Instagram before I got into YouTube. I’ve always been that friend that people said has a nice Instagram. Before I went to New York, I decided to give a curated Instagram a try. I don’t like saying I wanted to try to become an influencer, but I thought I could probably do this and start doing content creation as a job. I’ve found that it is definitely harder to get picked up on Instagram, and I think it’s because my selling point is really my personality. I like how intimate and real I am on YouTube and that’s really hard to share on Instagram with a picture-perfect feed. You also don’t talk as much to your followers. The nice thing about YouTube is that people are subscribing for me not just for an aesthetic.

In terms of advice, apart from starting now. I didn’t realize how hard it is to do YouTube. Not just the editing aspect, but it’s very hard to switch off when your job is being you. You’re constantly thinking about what you could be doing and constantly connecting with your subscribers.


Where do you find your inspiration for new content?

For YouTube, most of it comes from my day-to-day life. Vlogging and taking time to make short moments of my everyday life nice and sharing them. I actually find it hard to film sit-down videos.

My content is pretty varied, especially on YouTube. I think it comes from having small interests in random things rather than having one main focus. I love painting, and it’s so nice to do painting videos. I’ve also gotten into sewing with my mom, and thrift flip videos have been so fun.

For Instagram, other creators. I wish I was a bit more forward thinking, but I do get a lot of inspiration just from following other people.


You’re also a full-time student! How do you balance everything? What things do you do for self-care and stress management? 

Luckily, all of YouTube has really grown over quarantine. Even though I was in online school, I had a lot of time to put into it. And when I was in school, it was mainly vlogging, so I was able to just insert it into my everyday life.

Hopefully, over summer, I can get into the groove of doing YouTube and Instagram. So that by the time I start college again in the fall, it nicely slots into my life. My main priority will still be that I do well in college. If I can’t put out a video each week, I won’t beat myself up about it. It’s also my last year, so I want to spend time with my friends.

In terms of self-care, I have to completely switch-off. I’m usually always on my phone, but when I am really stressed out, I will put it away. Stick it in my wardrobe and turn off notifications. I put on a movie or television, or even a book. Something that I can focus on. I feel like there are always so many thoughts running through my head, and in our generation, you have to be doing three things at once. Being on your phone, watching something, and taking notes at the same time. So, it’s really nice to have just one thing to do.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are you excited for? 

If you’d asked me this 3 months ago, the answer would have been completely different. I would have never thought that I could make a career out of social media. I also wouldn’t mind studying and getting a masters, but I probably will do social media as a career for a few years, which is so exciting! The thought of it is so weird because I’ve been such a loyal follower for so long. Now that I am in a position to create content for other people, it is so exciting. I don’t think I will do it for life. I guess I am pretty traditional, and no offense to anyone who works in social media.

As we were talking about art history, it has been on my mind. It will be interesting to see how these worlds collide and intermingle.

I do want to be abroad. Ideally, New York, but also London or Paris! Live in a city for a bit and see what happens!

What does being powerful mean to you?

I did have to think about this for a bit, but I think owning every part of yourself. Owning the things that you used to be anxious or negative about. But also owning your dreams and your goals. The area where I grew up in, Belfast, and generally British and Irish people, are quite humble. The way we present ourselves is not self-deprecating, but we never really show off our full potential. So, to be proud of your dreams and goals is powerful because once you own it, then you have put it out in the universe, and you have to do it now.

What is something that brings you power when you need it? 

I’ve been journaling for years, since I was 8 years old. Through high school, it was about my day-to-day, friendship drama, boys I fancy, but, now, journaling has become such an important part of my self-care and building my self-confidence. I will write down letters to my future self, and I’ve recently gotten into scripting and the Law of Attraction. You write down your dreams and goals in the present tense. You write them all down as if you already have achieved them. Reading back on those pages makes me feel powerful because I feel in control with what I want in life and my emotions. It’s nice to put it all down on paper and then figure it out.


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