Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Alan Chikin Chow Is Helping To Change Our World
Think bigger. You can achieve more than you think you can. My mindset shifting from survival to abundance was a big one.
As a part of our series about leaders who are using their social media platforms to make a significant social impact, we had the pleasure of interviewing Alan Chikin Chow.
Digital content creator and actor on the rise, Alan Chikin Chow has conquered the charts with the #1 most-viewed YouTube Channel in the US with 25.4+ million subscribers. While being listed on Forbes Top Creators of 2023, Alan has a dedicated fanbase and has amassed over 30 million followers along with 20 billion views across platforms. In addition, his YouTube Shorts are poised in the Top 50 Most Viewed charts on a weekly basis. On the speaking front, Alan has presented at YouTube’s NewFront as their #1 Shorts Creator generating 1 billion monthly average views, along with presenting in front of major brands and high-level advertising execs scoring an interview with Adobe’s CMO. Alan has maintained partnerships with the following brands: Max (formally HBO MAX), McDonald’s, and Old Spice. On the acting front, Alan has guest starred as Henry on ABC’s critically acclaimed “Grey’s Anatomy,” and as Sal Dang on “Millennial Mafia.” Honorable acting mentions include ABC’s “Home Economics” and Hulu’s “Into the Dark.”
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started making videos as a way to connect with my family. When I went to college, my mom and dad moved to a little town in West Virginia where they had no friends or family. So, I started making videos as a way to make my mom laugh! It’s gone from my mom to over 40 million followers across platforms, my series, and a full-fledged business with full-time employees. I’m so grateful to my family and to YouTube for this journey.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
I have always loved and admired Lilly Singh as a creator. She was #1 on my vision board and in hard times, I would always ask myself what Lilly would do in this situation. This year, I was grateful to be able to collaborate with Lilly, and she was incredibly generous with her wisdom and time. It was such a surreal moment for me that I will always cherish it.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Think long-term! When I first began creating videos full-time, I was in a survival mindset where I would take any small brand deal to make ends meet. Now I know, it’s important to work with the best of the best and to think long-term when it comes to building a business.
You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Prioritize learning first. Before starting my career, I worked for another creator for a year and learned how to navigate the industry. So, I think finding a mentor will help you learn through their experience.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?
My mission has always been to unite the world through laughter and story. Laughter has the unique ability to transcend all language barriers. No matter if you are a 9-year-old in India or a 52-year-old man in Nebraska, laughter can connect us. I aim to be a source of comfort in hard times, a friendly face after a long day, and a new friend to those who find me on their fyp. As long as I can make someone laugh, I’ve done my job.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?
One time I had gone live and one of my followers had joined in and confided in me that her mother was in the hospital. She went on to say that while visiting her mom in the hospital, they would sit down and watch my videos together and laugh while she recovered. That truly touched my heart in such a significant way and reminds me daily of the positive power of laughter.
Was there a tipping point that made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?
A tipping point that made me decide to focus on content creation was a visit I had to Indonesia. I started my career as a film/TV actor and was so proud of the work I did as an actor. While in Indonesia, I volunteered at a school, and the kids I was volunteering with were way more obsessed with my TikTok videos than my starring roles on Disney Channel or ABC. They didn’t even know what ABC was. In that moment I realized the power of social media and global content — with a click of a button, your message can be instantly accessed by people all over the world. That’s huge.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- Focus on our similarities, not our differences.
- Fight for justice and equality for people of all backgrounds and identities.
- Create an environment for people from different backgrounds to live in peace and harmony.
Why do you think social media in particular has the power to create social change and create a positive impact on humanity?
With the click of a button, you can reach an audience all around the world. The communication barriers are lower than ever before, and positive messages can be communicated in many ways — comedy videos, vlogs, and inspirational messages. Social media has allowed for the amplification of positive champions across the world.
What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for social good?
Create content with a positive message. My mission is to unite a universal audience of all backgrounds and identities through laughter and storytelling. Some creators, especially comedy, use negativity or “roasting” to gain views. But I think a positive message will win in the end.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Bring value to others. During my college days, I lived by the perspective of YOLO, but I didn’t realize how my actions could affect others positively or negatively. Realizing you only live once, so you should make the world a better place, is my next step.
- Work harder. You might think you’re working hard, but you can always take it to the next level. Be the hardest-working person in the room.
- Focus on the essentials. My agent gave me this amazing advice: Everyone in LA is talented. Everyone in LA is hard-working. But the thing that will separate you from the others is being the absolute best at one thing. Too many ambitious people spread themselves too thin. Focus on the essentials, what you can be the best at.
- First things first. Do the most important thing first in your day. If you save the hard work for later in the day, your day will get hectic, and you’ll never get to it. Do the most important things first.
- Think bigger. You can achieve more than you think you can. My mindset shifting from survival to abundance was a big one.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My mission is to unite a universal audience through storytelling. If I can show audiences around the world how much they have in common and bring them together for positivity, that’s the impact I want to have.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a power lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Mindy Kaling. She was one of the first AAPI women to champion comedy in mainstream television. I think sitting down with her and being able to learn from her would be such an immense honor. Mindy, my schedule is free and clear for you any day of the week!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
They can all watch my new drama series Alan’s Universe out now on YouTube!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Social Media Stars Making a Social Impact: Why & How Alan Chikin Chow Is Helping To Change Our… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.