Prajakta Koli: Was overwhelmed on meeting Michelle Obama
Social media star Prajakta Koli aka MostlySane on joining hands with the former US First Lady to bat for girls' education.
Prajakta Koli has figured out the easiest way to have difficult conversations — infuse them with a dose of humour. An Internet sensation since 2015 courtesy her humorous videos on life and its many challenges, the youngster has used her role as a social media influencer to effect social change, and has shone a spotlight on issues of xenophobia, hate speech and more. In her role as the Indian ambassador for YouTube's global initiative, Creators For Change, Koli recently met former First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her work to spread education for the girl child.
mid-day met the 26-year-old who hopes to change the world, one video at a time.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
You met former First Lady Michelle Obama for your initiative. Did you ever imagine that you would be collaborating with world dignitaries to effect change this early?
I have been a Liza Koshy [YouTube star] fan, and who doesn't love Michelle Obama! I had always dreamt of meeting these amazing change-makers. When I first met them, I was overwhelmed and unable to process matters. I had tea with Michelle Obama, and we spoke about everything we're passionate about. It was one of the most beautiful times of my life.
Can you retrace your collaboration with Creators For Change?
I collaborated with them in 2017 with my first song, Shameless. It was my [attempt] to tackle body shaming. I got tremendous support from my fellow creators; they featured in the music video too. Since then, I have worked closely with YouTube and Creators For Change on diverse issues like hate speech, xenophobia and Internet safety.
This time around, you're focussing on the subject of education for girls and have zeroed in on a Lucknow school.
For the project, we had three creators interacting with girls from three different parts of the world. I was involved in knowing the stories of the students at the Prerna Girls' School in Lucknow, and the Prerna Foundation's work. The school has a unique way [to encourage] education of girls. They use critical dialogue as an important tool to promote education among their students. They sit down and vocally interpret issues and everyday struggles and obstacles faced by the girls. A lot of them have trouble convincing their families to even let them go to school. But this is where critical dialogue plays an important role. We wanted to have them on board and learn more from them. These girls are fearless and focused on their future. It was refreshing to hear them talk about how they have used circumstances as a shield to move forward with education.
What was your biggest takeaway from this experience?
To look at present circumstance differently. You cannot let it pull you down; instead, you should use it to bolt ahead in life.
What do you feel is your responsibility as a creator for change?
My biggest responsibility is making conversation. I use my platform to speak up about things that need attention, knowing that everything I speak about has an impact. Listening to my audience is also an important factor.
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