Being yourself is important and I'm trying to make sure people get there-Shely Sophisticated
I decided to be a boss babe & never looked back - Shely Sophisticated
On her social media handle, she describes herself as a Phenomenal Woman and no other adjective would come close. Shelmith Mukami, also known as, Shely Sophisticated visited our Pulse offices to talk about body positivity, loving herself and how she ventured into content creation.
Who is Shelly?
I am Shelmith Mukami but my friends call me Shely. I am a digital content creator and a Plus-size enthusiast and model. I am also a marketing consultant for Wavu Tours and Travels.
Who do you think an influencer is?
Ohmagaad. I hate that word. Pause. I think someone who influences their audience to make a decision on something.
Tell us about your journey in the digital space.
I actually stumbled upon content creation; by being myself and so passionate about being body positive. Doing this, I didn't know I was encouraging women to be more comfortable and confident in their own skin. So they would reach out and tell me to continue creating more videos and content on body positivity and well, I saw that it could make money. (Laughs)
Tell us about your typical day.
I don't have a specific daily routine. I don't have an 8-5 job so everyday looks a bit different. Unless I have a shoot, I'll probably be in the house. Whether it's modelling or working on my content, I'm mostly about and out in shoots.
Now that you’ve mentioned content...
My content focuses on body positivity, travel, beauty lifestyle, fashion and food. I try to be very authentic with my content because I like carving out my own niche and making exciting for both me and my audience.
So, do you think Kenyan content creators are doing it right?
Yes, we are trying to. However, I wish the Kenyan audience would be more accepting and more supportive of Kenyan content creators. We are really trying and sort of aiming for next level South Africa kind of content creation.
Speaking of that, what story does your content tell?
I try to create content that is me. Authentic, unique and creative to me. I am an open book and everything that happens in my life, you will see it on social media. Haha. I don't have a private life. With the noise that we are making as plus size women, we are really trying to change the narrative and making it easy for people to just be themselves despite what society thinks.
Society has put us in a box and we are trying to make people feel comfortable and confident. I really want everyone to start embracing themselves. I think being yourself is important and I'm trying to make sure people get there.
And true to your words, you have..
I was a finalist at the Miss Kenya Plus World competition and what that did was it created a lot of buzz as well as opened up opportunities for many of us plus-size babes. It started a conversation that wasn't there before and it makes me happy to see that we're being included and not pushed aside. It's amazing to now see plus size women in Tv shows, adverts and in modelling shoots. I'm glad I get to keep doing this.
So what made you want to do this; what was your Aha moment?
Growing up, I was always bullied and looked down upon. One day I just decided ‘you know what mtanijua.’ I decided I wanted to be a boss babe, I have never looked back.
Of course I have days when I feel sad and not confident and feel like I don't look pretty. I push those thoughts aside and be there for myself and gas myself up. I want to be that for that 14 year old at home who feels the same and has no one to tell them that they are beautiful and can be confident and comfortable to be in their own skin. I didn’t have that growing up so when people tell me, ‘You encouraged me and you inspired me’, I feel happy knowing that I'm doing the right thing.
And what are the challenges you've faced in embracing yourself?
Where do I start? There are some brands that have not embraced the plus size woman. I also receive a lot of trolls and over time I have developed a thick skin. They would come at me daily.
At first, it used to get to me. I would post every negative comment I received. Some days when I would be in a bad mood, I would post and tag the troll. I eventually realized that I shouldn't waste my time giving attention to these cowards behind a keyboard. These days I will just block you uende ukiendaga. Blocka blocka blocka. (Laughs)
Give us one social media hack you think we should know
Heh. That question. Okay. I recently discovered that you can create a shortcut for phrases you commonly use when texting. So when you go back to a comment to reply, you can just put in the shortcut and the phrase is typed up for you. I think that's the only hack I know that most people don't know.
On balancing your online vs social life
My online and social life have been intertwined together and I'm so grateful for that. I think it makes it easy for me to do what I do because most of my friends who are content creators and those who are not understand that this is the life I chose.
Even when we go to restaurants, my friends would ask me if I want to take a picture before they bite their food. So they've accepted that part of me and I’m so grateful
Let’s go down memory lane to the Shely before all this.
Laughs. Wow. I was a basic shy girl with weird hair through university. Oh, and I used to be in a band. I will not sing today because I'm shy when it comes to singing. My Instagram page huko chini imeficha embarazzments.
I have a social media initiative that I started called Jipende Sis and it highlights body positivity. Take a photo, use the hashtag because you can only love yourself how you want to be loved. And in everything you do, jipende sis.
Thank you for having me. I had tons of fun and I really hope you invite me again.
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