Youtuber "Miss Turkey" Talks Newfound Fame and Body Image Struggles
Twenty-two-year-old professional dancer Yanki Din created her first YouTube video featuring alter ego “Miss Turkey” (for gai jeh—literally, “Turkey Sister”) just two months ago. Known for her hyperactive sped-up rants and social commentaries, the YouTuber now has more than 80,000 subscribers.
Why “Miss Turkey?” Two months ago I decided to do something I’d wanted to for the past couple of years: Become a YouTuber. Many female YouTubers in Hong Kong film beauty and fashion videos, but I’ve always been a tomboy and am not interested in dressing up and looking pretty, so I created “Miss Turkey”—a blabbier version of Yanki. Her name was inspired by my gaming handle. My first video was a parody of the way attractive girls, or “goddesses” as they are known here, wear their makeup. Some people have told me I looked good in “goddess” makeup, but beauty isn’t about how you look—it’s about how you think and feel.
Have you always felt this way? Around two years ago, I developed eczema on my face. I then realized how much I cared about the way I looked and how affected I was by the mainstream definition of “pretty.” My Chinese medical practitioner said the condition of my skin was partly a reflection of my emotions, so I began paying more attention to my inner self. I also felt really insecure about my figure. Many girls here believe looking good means being stick-thin. I was one of them. About a year ago I started exercising excessively to the extent that I stopped menstruating. I suspected that I had a problem, and was subsequently inspired by the images of healthy, toned girls I saw on social media. I started eating more nutritious food, adding weights to my workouts and picked up Muay Thai. I stopped pursuing typical beauty ideals and stopped thinking about losing weight. I want to be a role model for other women in this respect, but hope to develop a more mature mindset because, as an influencer, people listen to what you say.
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What if your fame doesn’t last? I rose to popularity faster than expected, so I do worry about running out of ideas. I’ve had people accuse me of copying YouTubers like Miranda Sings. I did borrow their style of presentation, but the content is all mine. It’s like dancing: Everyone starts out by copying their instructors. Sometimes you just need to emulate other people’s style to find your own. At some point, viewers might get sick of Miss Turkey, so I try to stick to what people like about Miss Turkey: She tells it like it is. But even if Miss Turkey lasts only six months, I hope Yanki can benefit from the attention. I’ve always wanted to become a celebrity. Now, I’m living the dream. People come up to me for photos and autographs, calling me “Miss Turkey” or, even better, “Yanki.” Even older generations know who I am: I was at a herbal tea shop and an auntie there gave me a free tea egg because she recognized me. As a kid I wanted to be a singer but didn’t know how to get into the industry and was afraid to take part in competitions. Being a dancer, and now a YouTuber, has opened up more opportunities, including singing.
Any great advice for us? Do what you love. I wasn’t terrible at school, just not good enough for further education, so I stopped after sixth form. I took the first step to do what I love to do—dancing—and good things have kept coming. I realize that many people aren’t as fortunate as me, but you still need to make time to do what you love so you can recharge and have the energy to deal with what you hate doing.