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Dreams Do Come True: Interview with YouTuber, Mickey Seo

There is a rapidly growing number of people that dream of becoming social media influencers. The idea that one may pursue a career through an activity they greatly enjoy is extremely enticing to many of the youth of today. This month, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) met up with lifestyle vlogger Seo Jae-yeong – otherwise known as Mickey Seo – to discuss what it is like to live as an influencer.

The Dreamer: Seo Jae-yeong

1. Please briefly introduce yourself for the Kingos.

My name is Seo Jae-yeong, and I am an economics major. I enrolled in social sciences at Sungkyunkwan University in 2010, graduated in 2016, and am now a full-time YouTuber. On the internet, I usually go by the epithet of Mickey Seo.

2. How would you characterize the kind of university student you used to be?

I would describe my younger self as an extremely enthusiastic student. I made sure to maintain a good grade point average (GPA), while also spending the rest of my free time joining various clubs. I did volunteer work, signed up for a band, and even took part in the student council. I kept myself fairly busy throughout my stay in school. Looking back now, however, I realize that I was never truly as dedicated to the clubs I joined as much as I thought I was. Everyone around me partook in many extracurricular activities, and I guess I wanted to join in with the flow as much as possible.

Seo Jae Yeong’s University Life

3. Was there a particular reason that encouraged you to become a YouTuber despite your background in the field of economics?

The path to becoming a YouTuber was not a straight one. I had stepped into the world of economics, without having spent sufficient time planning out my choices. My passion for the field of economics was not as great as one might have thought. Honestly, just like many other students, I guess I was attracted to the high employment rate of economics majors, and thus continued to diligently manage my grades to get into the field of study. Soon, as the time for me to graduate was nearing, I found myself sending in applications to different corporations, hoping to land a stable profession. During this process, however, I realized that I had uncertainty in my heart that needed resolving. I wished to no longer let my achievements define me and wanted to be in charge of my own fate. I decided to go on a trip abroad to take some time off and think about my future. Not long after that, I decided to put up my new YouTube channel.

On the Journey of Finding Himself

The Creator: Mickey Seo

4. Please give us a brief background on your YouTube channel.

Mickey Seo is the name of my channel. On there, I post vlogs about my foreign friends’ adventures in Korea. My channel was not like this from the start, however. Through enough searching, one would see videos quite different from the content that I post now, such as travel vlogs and videos related to life at university, but that was long before my channel had an identity. I realized that amongst the videos up on my channel, the ones in which I would tackle cultural differences garnered the most positive feedback. My channel has since slowly transitioned to become what it is now. As I film, I always keep in mind that, more than anything else, what I must truly strive to do is capture the essence of friendship into my videos.

Mickey Seo and His Friends

5. From where do you usually get the inspiration for your videos?

I get most of my inspiration from the friends that I film with. It is extremely beneficial having people from such different backgrounds because that enables me to constantly be learning. Every single one of us looks at the world through a different lens – a different perspective – and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to spend time with such amazing individuals. It is easy to live life with convictions of your own, but I believe that it is when one experiences clashing views and opinions that he is truly able to reflect and learn new things. It is these revelations that allow me to come up with new video ideas.

6. Which, amongst your many videos, would you deem your personal favorite?

Currently, my favorite video would be the latest one I uploaded, wherein I planned a surprise party for Christopher: a friend of mine whose time in Korea was, unfortunately, coming to an end. I realize that there are many possible reasons as to why a video would be my “favorite”, and I try my best not to focus on the number of views. As time passes, our friendship grows stronger, and I believe that this is far more important than knowing the number of people that clicked on my videos. There is evident growth in every new video that I upload, which is why I do not ever have a single favorite video. I see the bond between my friends and it becomes stronger and stronger with each new video, which gives me the strength to constantly put in my all when filming and editing. This enables me to appreciate a particular video so much more than I did the previous one.

Christopher’s Surprise Party

7. What were some hardships you encountered as a YouTuber?

I feel like most of the inner turmoil I face is the fact that I feel as if I am expected to fit into a mold. People around me – myself included – seemed to have these expectations for me that I could never meet; as a graduate from a quite prestigious university, it was expected of me to apply to a big corporation and keep a stable job. I constantly feel the pressure from around me, and it makes me feel creatively blocked. Many times, I feel trapped, feeling as if I need to live more normally. Despite moments of adversity, however, I find comfort in the fact that, finally, I am fulfilling a true passion of mine. I wake up in the morning, thrilled just thinking about what I am going to be doing for the rest of the day. It is the love I have for filming and editing these videos that gets my mind off the negativity and keeps me going.

8. What is something that makes you feel accomplished?

Seeing the comments on my videos is definitely what leaves me feeling warm inside. It is amazing to be able to visually take in the positive responses that viewers have left me. It is wonderful to know that something I created could leave such a positive impact on numerous individuals, and that feeling of accomplishment is what compels me to continue filming and editing videos for YouTube. While I still have a hard time registering the sheer number of people that watch and enjoy my content, I know that my subscribers are the reason why I am able to continue pursuing what I love, and for that, I am so grateful.

Paving the Road to Success

9. Do you have any future plans in store for your viewers?

I would like to portray a much more realistic side of me in my videos. I believe that this is the first step to appearing more genuine and relatable to my viewers. I will try my best to be as sincere as I possibly can. While I currently do not have specific plans on whether I would like to branch out to a different type of content, I wish to produce videos that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their age, gender, or race. Friendship is a concept that I believe transcends geographic and linguistic boundaries, and I truly hope that my videos would be able to positively impact people from all around the world.

10. What is your ultimate life goal?

Ultimately, my life goal is to be more honest with myself. I believe that by acknowledging my true desires, I would be able to set myself apart from people’s expectations of me and the person they think I should become. While many decisions I have made when I was younger were simply to “go with the flow”, I believe that it is finally time for me to grow a backbone and make my own decisions. I no longer want to live a life deceiving myself, telling myself to like things that I do not like. I have greatly matured since my youth, and I intend on fully showcasing that growth, both in real life and the videos I upload.

11. Are there any final words you would want to leave for the Kingos?

I want to emphasize and tell everyone to grab every opportunity that they can, especially while they are still young. This is not to say that once you are older, you will not be able to go out and try new things. Gaining new experiences while you are younger, however, will ultimately aid you in future decision-making. You will learn new things about yourself – things, perhaps, that you otherwise might have never come to know, if it were not for that brief moment of spontaneity. I like to compare life to a long hallway. You are aware that the door at the far end is your destination, but that should never stop you from opening the other doors that lie along the way.

이슬  leesleisabel@gmail.com

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