There is no field or industry that Miami-born American Enya Umanzor can’t handle. She has participated in several films playing different characters, has collaborated with some of the best-known fashion houses in the industry such as Celine or Miu Miu, starred in advertising campaigns for Bimba Y Lola, and, as if that weren’t enough, at 23 years of age she is considered a reference in the world of YouTube and content creation. In addition, she is doing very well with the podcast she runs with her friend.
What else is left for the multidisciplinary artist to do? Sure there’s a lot more. We know some of them and also details about her future professional projects that will surely interest you a lot, but it’s better that you find out for yourself in her exclusive chat with Schön! Magazine.
Enya, we’re talking to you from Los Angeles, right? Are you based there? How long have you lived in the city?
Yes, hello from Los Angeles! I’m from Miami but I moved here a while ago. I’ve been living in LA for almost six years, although I would eliminate one of them because there was a time when I wasn’t technically living here full time.
Could you tell us a little bit about your day-to-day life?
My day-to-day lately has been kind of embarrassing, and I say that because, for the last few months, I’ve been traveling quite a bit, going to Miami to visit my family, or to New York, which I’m obsessed with. When I’m back home in Los Angeles, I don’t do anything. It’s a bad habit I’ve fallen into. Most of the time I stay at home with my roommates and we sit and talk and do nothing, which can be very nice. Sometimes I’ll go to a pilates class to get out, but if I’m being super honest I don’t do much.
At 23 years old, you have become a reference in the world of YouTube with your channel, “enjajaja”, with which you have 1 million subscribers. How did you get started on this platform and what led you to join it?
I started on Vine. I think, like most Viners, we realized that the app was dying out. So I decided to move to YouTube. I was already used to being seen in my video content, so having a camera in my face by myself wasn’t weird at all. I moved there and enjoyed it so much from the moment I started. It was amazing. I miss that time very much. I always wanted to do entertainment, and what better way than to do it and control it myself? I didn’t get to go out much as a teenager, especially because I had younger siblings to look after because I had parents who worked all day. I was always at home, so making videos was a way of having a pseudo-social life. It was a super special time where I was meeting so many people and connecting to what at the time felt like a tight knit audience. Sometimes I wish I could go back to being that vulnerable, but I think that’s something that’s easier when you’re younger and you’re not afraid of anything.
Also, you have a podcast called Emergency Intercom with Drew Phillips. Tell us what it’s about!
What I can say forsure is; this podcast is radioactive for the academic side of your brain and in the near future we’ll see the consequences of it, but maybe it’s for the better. We’re all too smart as of recent, I think me and Drew agree on the idea of sometimes it’s awesome to just laugh at nothing to give our brains some rest. That’s why we get along so well comedically and doing the podcast comes naturally because it’s just us rambling about nothing. I’m shocked and super happy that people love that so much because it genuinely is just our natural chemistry.
Why should Schön! readers listen to it?
Because, I think that it’s not only an easy listen but you’ll very quickly feel welcomed by being apart of a childish joke. I could tell you several more reasons, but if you’re looking for a short answer, I’ll tell you that if you don’t have friends with ADHD, and you’d like to know what that’s like, this is your place.
What’s your favourite episode?
Every time we release a new episode, it automatically becomes one of my favourites. But, if I had to pick, my favourite would probably be the zoom episodes, which is funny because we’re not in the room together. I think it just leaves more space for absurd jokes since we’re doing it behind a computer. So I’ll take a gamble and tell you episode 63.
How important do you think podcasts are in today’s society?
I’ve always found audio-based content very important because I grew up always listening to comedy talk shows on the radio growing up. I think it was nice to wake up in the morning for school, super miserable about having to be up early to go somewhere I didn’t enjoy being but having a comedy show to listen to while getting ready to put me in a better mood. It was moments like that that led me to want to do audio-based comedy.
Ultimately, I think podcasts are important in society because you can find people like yourself, talking and telling their experiences and above all giving a different point of view and a peep hole into the lives of others. That’s why I think they are so popular, you feel part of a conversation while you listen to it. There is something very special about audio based content.
You are also closely linked to the fashion world. What was your earliest fashion memory?
Wow, I have to think about it because this is a very recent thing for me, although I have always loved fashion and clothes. I think my first contact with the fashion industry was with Celine. They contacted me two or three years ago, and the truth is that I was very surprised because I think I suffered a bit from impostor syndrome. Maybe it’s because I’m a comedian… I don’t know. They gifted me a pair of loafers, which I still wear today and they are my favourite shoes… Anyway, I was very excited and grateful when they took me seriously and opened the door to the high end fashion world for me.
You recently starred in one of Bimba Y Lola’s latest campaigns. How was the experience?
Yes, it was amazing. I loved working with them and the whole team that was on the set were all very nice and sweet. I got to meet Petra, a photographer I’ve admired for a long time, and we got on well. Honestly, it was great to be part of this campaign, and I especially appreciated that I was allowed to be on video and be myself. I think that’s a very rare thing for brands, as they tend to be pretty particular.
How would you describe your daily style?
My daily style is constantly changing. Honestly, there was a point in time when I felt that I had to stick to a specific style, that I either had to be super eccentric or super tame. Then, I came to realize that I’m someone who has an adoration for so many things and it really just depends on how I feel.
Define a “very Enya” look:
A very Enya look during this time of year would be a long sleeve shirt, some dark wash jeans, loafers, and a Varsity jacket. Growing up in Miami it took a while to find a dependable outfit that was flattering and kept me warm during the winter here. I’ve been pretty obsessed with varsity jackets the past few years, only downside to that is how much room they take up in closets.
Who are your references when you dress?
Honestly, I get a lot of inspiration from my friends. Especially from a lot of my very close friends. They inspire me with the way they dress, like my friend Orion, Elisa, and Jester. Then, of course, like a Chloë Sevigny is so easy to reference. I also love looking up any icon and what they were wearing at my age, no matter what year the photos are from, there’s always something to pull.
Your looks and photos accumulate hundreds of thousands of likes and comments on Instagram. What can you tell us about your relationship with social media?
As I’ve gotten older, the relationship has become much healthier. I think if you had asked me that question three years ago, I would have freaked out and gone on a long tangent. But now it’s a lot of fun because I feel confident in myself and who I am. That’s very important. Now I only post what I like, what makes me happy, and what inspires me. I only use social media for fun and obviously as a means of communication and to keep up to date with people I know or admire.
Have you experienced any uncomfortable situations?
This has to do with what I was saying before, when I was younger I felt much more affected by things than I do now. For example, in late 2018 when I dyed my hair orange and bleached my eyebrows I started receiving negative comments about my appearance in a way I hadn’t before. At the time it was super upsetting, in the long run maybe it was a good thing. It made me analyze my relationship with social media and how dependent I had become on it for validation. I had to accept the fact that I was exposing myself to a platform where there is open dialogue and to expect it to always be positive was a dangerous game especially at that age.
As a content creator, how do you work on creativity?
I tend to hang out with my friends and get inspired by them. I’m lucky enough to be friends with who I believe are some of the funniest comedians on the planet. Even though sometimes it seems a bit silly to be sitting with them as often as I am, talking about nothing, that’s where a lot of my comedy inspiration comes from. We all love to sit in a room and talk to each other, but secretly a lot of times we’re just waiting our turn to try and make the other person laugh.
What do you think are the keys to making content go viral?
I think not having the intent to go viral. My friends and I joke about it a lot. The times we’ve felt like ‘this is probably the least interesting thing I’ve ever done’, it ended up being the most loved thing. I think most people using the internet are exhausted of being sold the shell of something relatable.
What advice would you give to those who want to do this?
Do it when it feels right and not when you feel you have to do it, if that makes sense. At least it’s always worked that way for me. I know it’s a little harder now because we’re inclined by the algorithm to have a constant feed of something. I think you have to stay true to what it feels like to do it, and the second it feels a little funky or you don’t feel good about what you’re doing, take a step back, take a break, let it breathe and come back to it when it feels right. Don’t fall into the trap of doing something that you don’t want to do or you’re doing it because you feel like you have to keep up with it. There are people out there who would love to digest your content when it’s real and when you feel good about doing it. It takes two to play the game, and if one person doesn’t want to play the game, you’ll feel it. The person watching will feel it, so make sure it comes from a dying curiosity of what it’s like to see an audience that responds to you.
You have touched different disciplines, such as the world of acting, fashion, social networks, and content creation… what do you have left to do? Maybe music?
Music? Oh my god, I’d love to, but I don’t think it’s my thing. There will be no music, even though I’m a huge music consumer. If I had an undying need to make it I would, but I don’t feel that way at least not in the near future. Maybe other things…
What kind of things do you mean? Any future professional projects you can talk about?
I’m working on things with friends that have to do with putting our jokes on paper so that they can be read by others. There are also projects related to TV, but I won’t say anything else in case my life falls apart.