When I’m at school I get a different private life…It’s like living two lives but everyone knows…
‘Inspiring Vanessa’ from Selhurst, Croydon has been adapting to lockdown in various ways, but not quite like other children across the UK.
Vanessa Sam, 13, is an international, multi award-winning motivational speaker, YouTuber and author who emphasises confidence and inspiring others.
Since lockdown began on March 23, Vanessa has been focusing on inspirational video content, which people can learn and take something from.
Vanessa said: “When I’m at school it’s just Vanessa, but when I get back home it’s like, okay, so I have this video to edit or an Instagram Live or YouTube live to film.
“The posts are to uplift people, especially those who have no one else to talk to whilst isolating, so it’s kind of like, hey, let me give you some inspiration and positivity.”
Home-schooling was a problem for Vanessa, especially during the first two weeks where she felt overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do. However, she feels as though her ‘two worlds have collided into one’.
“It’s almost like as if i’m living two different secret lives, although people know about it,” she said
Figures released by Childline at the end of March show it had delivered more than 900 sessions to children worried about the coronavirus. There was an increase in the number of calls received from distressed young people and the impact it was having on their lives.
Her ‘momager’ (mum and manager), Veronika Sam, 43, has been the root of Inspiring Vanessa.
Ms Sam said: “I love being a mum and manager as it’s easy when Vanessa has great work ethic.
“I make sure she has a balanced schedule for Inspiring Vanessa, schoolwork and her downtime, to either clean her room or watch Netflix.”
Alongside her work, Vanessa recently collaborated with Young Urban Arts Foundation (YUAF) — a charity bringing disadvantaged people opportunities, improving well-being and resilience — where she produced videos for young minds to stay positive and connected.
Kerry O’Brien founding CEO of YUAF said: “Young people are feeling more anxious and down in this moment.
“It doesn’t matter if they didn’t have a mental heath problem before this, they do now.”
Vanessa had done some of YUAF’s programmes and won an award from the charity. Since then, they wanted young people like herself to lead and deliver some of their content.
Many people look for something to turn to make themselves feel empowered. As people are online more than ever due to this pandemic, Vanessa has used her platform to spread what she feels people will benefit from.
Ms O’Brien added: “The government funding mental health really need to get a hold of how they are going to manage this influx when we get to the other side of this.”
The current situation surfaces the social and material deprivation which some children are experiencing, hence individuals like Inspiring Vanessa, and various charities like YUAF are helping young minds feel confident and express themselves.