By Fern Paulussen
I’m thrilled to be able to name Leah Eynon as the first ever PLAYer of the month. Leah is one of those amazingly talented, yet down-to-earth women that you find yourself looking at and thinking, Just how does she do it?
Leah has been uploading videos to her YouTube channel, Tinana DIY, for over four years, and has shared a huge range of content in that time including (but not limited to) vlogs, tutorials, hauls, challenges, and recipes.
One of the most inspiring things about Leah is the way she fits YouTube into her very full and busy life so successfully. And that somehow, despite working long hours at two separate jobs, her dedication and enthusiasm never seem to waver. So how does she do it? Read on to find out…
No Time for YouTube? Think Again!
(An Interview with Leah Eynon)
When and why did you start your channel?
I started my channel in 2013. At first it was a platform for me and my friend Hinenui to share our health journey with others. I hadn’t seen many Māori Youtubers, and as we both loved YouTube it became apparent that we wanted to give it a go! It then sorta ended up becoming a bit more entertaining when we would do challenges, vlogs, makeup mishaps etc.
In 2015 I took over the channel and it became a solo project.
What, if anything, was your vision for Tinana DIY when you first started YouTube? Have you stuck to that vision, or changed things up?
From what I can remember, we wanted to be a bit different to other NZ YouTubers. For example ‘The Chubby Bunny Challenge’ was a popular challenge a few years back and to put a ‘Tinana D.I.Y’ spin on it we renamed it ‘Momona Rapiti’, which pretty much means fat bunny. I am not a fluent Te Reo Speaker, however I felt that if I am learning, then maybe we could learn together, so adding in that extra element has given my channel that ‘difference’.
My vision was to showcase life as a Māori woman, but mostly I was just super keen to give YouTube a go (and I am so so glad I did)!
How many jobs do you have and how many hours do you work in a week?
OMG. I am guilty of being called a workaholic. I get restless if I am chilling at home too much. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Netflix day, but being busy is my forte.
I am a drive time announcer for our local Maori/iwi run radio station, Te Korinako O Taranaki – 94.8FM. I normally work 35 hours there, Monday to Friday. I have been here since 2010.
On Saturdays I try my best being a retail fashionista where I work at New Zealand clothing line, Bettie Monroe. I have been here for three years now.
I probably do about 42 hours a week. Pretty hectic but I love it!
When do you film and edit your videos, and how much time do you devote to YouTube a week?
YouTube is a hobby to me, so if I miss an upload I really don’t mind.
When I first started my channel I was working on YouTube a lot, and would stay up all hours trying to get three videos uploaded in a week – I stressed myself out and at the time I was still working two jobs.
I now have changed it to one upload a week and that is perfect for me as it means I am not stressing so much about what I am going to film.
I tend to film before work as I start work between 11am and midday, so I have lots of time to film and edit when I can. Sundays are also a great time to film as I use natural light.
I would say I only ever devote around three hours a week towards YouTube, it very much is still a hobby to me. However, if this did become a full time job, my devotion for it would increase.
What keeps you motivated when it comes to your channel? Have you ever considered just not doing it any more? Does it ever feel too hard?
I know this may sound cliché, but my followers are actually really awesome. I look forward to their comments and I have actually met and become good friends with some of them. I enjoy the satisfaction of uploading a video and seeing people ACTUALLY enjoy watching.
I have wondered for a while how my channel will change as I get older, as I do see myself continuing this on for a while. I have had my doubts when it came to content, and wondered if it was lacking or boring people. But at the end of the day, if someone does not like it, they don’t have to watch it.
What’s your best piece of advice for anyone considering starting a channel of their own?
My advice would be – just do it! Most smartphones these days have pretty good cameras on them and a lot even have their own editing software you can edit and upload on ya phone! I started in my crappy little room at my old flat, and I just didn’t care. Over time I got myself a camera (which I still have!) and I uploaded when I could. I wanted to do YouTube because I was INTERESTED in YouTube. DON’T be upset if it takes you ages to gain subscribers/followers because if that’s all you are worried about, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. I mean, yeah I love to see my channel reach a milestone, but at the end of the day, you are doing it for you, not for the subscriber count.
Do you have any other comments or experiences you would like to share?
I would just like to say – thank you to all of you who have subscribed. I appreciate all your comments and kind words. I love being able to share my life and other cool things with you all on this platform. Like I said earlier if you want to give YouTube a go, do it! But do it for you. And if you find that you don’t like it, IT’S FINE. Don’t dwell on it if it doesn’t work out. Thank you to everyone in the PLAY NZ group who have supported me. Man I love this group!
I think the best memory for me so far has been at certain kaupapa (events) that I have attended. Recently my work put on an event for the local kohanga. While I was there, a girl who I was handing food to said to me ‘OMG, I watch your videos!’ I was so taken aback that I nearly forgot that I did YouTube. I felt so happy and I forgot to ask what her name was.
I have also had people chat to me in Snapchat (@tinandiy). Some of the convos have been ‘I can’t believe you are talking to me in Snapchat!’ That really amazes me that people say that. I feel so honored to be talking to YOU. You are the reason why I am continuing the journey of youtube. So ngā mihi to you all. Thank you! Kia Ora Koutou Katoa.
(I also asked Leah to share her favourite upload, and she said it was DEFINITELY The Yoga Challenge. It’s hilarious!
While you’re watching, make sure you subscribe to Tinana DIY so you can catch up with Leah every week.)
Be sure to come back to the PLAY NZ blog on the first Wednesday of June to find out who the next PLAYer of the month will be…
About the author: Fern Paulussen is a lifestyle blogger, vlogger, mother of four, and the director of PLAY NZ. Based in the Bay of Plenty, Fern loves Netflix, coffee, and chickens. You can learn more about Fern by visiting her website, or subscribing to her YouTube channel.