Known for always keeping it real, Kai Foster is a content creator that wants to make an impact in the social media space—even if that means changing one life at a time. I had the pleasure of getting to know Kai and learn about what makes her content special.
Who/what was your biggest inspiration for pursuing content creation?
Kingsley was one of my favorite YouTubers growing up. I really loved how unapologetic and funny he was. Also, I was big into school-related content, like college and high school vlogs. I was like, “I want to be a college YouTuber,” and that’s where everything started.
What motivates you to create?
I think my motivators have changed as I have gotten older. In the beginning, I was trying to find my voice on YouTube and within creative spaces, because I also did creative fiction. I also do poetry; now, I think I feel this need to be the voice that I didn’t have when I was younger. I know how important it is to feel understood, because for a large portion of my life, I grew up feeling very misunderstood, and nobody was really listening to me. So, on my channel, I enjoy talking about things that are uncomfortable or difficult, because I know that it makes people feel less alone.
But, I think I sometimes have to step back, because I don’t want to become this mental health martyr and, like, the person that has all of her shit together, because I don’t. It’s like a consistent struggle to stay on top of things.
How do you find that balance between wanting people to see the real you, but also not have people put you on a pedestal?
It’s difficult honestly. I think sometimes I have tried to work on that by broadcasting my mistakes, but it’s still the Internet and people are going to make fun of you for that as well. It’s a very difficult field to navigate. It’s something you never reach. I think it’s something that you are consistently trying to train yourself to do. Being a personality on the internet, it can be very taxing because it’s not realistic. So, I feel like taking breaks is super necessary; re-center and re-focus on yourself. To a certain extent, it can feel like a performance for other people. If you keep doing that, then it becomes not authentic.
I definitely think it can be damaging to idolize other people. You can definitely look up to people and gain influence [from their life]. But, I don’t know, I am not perfect by any means. I am still figuring stuff out all the time. Just because I give advice, doesn’t mean that I am always taking it. I am learning every day.
What has been your biggest achievement and biggest setback creatively?
My biggest achievement is making people feel less alone. I think that’s always been the goal, and I feel when I was younger, I was more focused on numbers and getting to this amount of subscribers, but now I am comfortable with where I am. With social media, as long as I am making an impact, I feel pretty good. As far as a setback, I think just navigating the social media space as a Black woman content creator, because that adds disadvantages on top of being consistent.
It’s kind of frustrating grappling with the fact that you could put all of your effort and love into a piece of art or a video and it just does not do the same based on things you can’t control. That can be disheartening about the whole process. It’s something that will change with time that I want to accept, but not get too wrapped up in because if I do, it just takes the fun away all together.
How do you feel that you have changed the most throughout your career, and do you have a video that you are most proud of?
I’ve gone through so many different phases on my channel. Being able to have videos of myself to look back on and to grow with an audience. It’s hurt my self-growth at times, but it has really helped my introspection and things of that nature. I feel I have come to so many realizations because of my YouTube career. I don’t know if I would have ever figured out that I had ADHD had I not been on the trajectory that I am on right now. When it comes to mental health and figuring myself out, I think that YouTube has been a great accountability partner.
It’s really helped me improve as a person. Sometimes I question if I’m improving or not, but just trying to grow too fast as well. I have become so much more comfortable in myself; I feel like for a long time I was uncomfortable in my own skin. Having so many people subscribe to you and give you uplifting pieces of advice and tell you how you have affected them. It makes you realize “OK, I’m doing something right."
I think my “I have no dreams or aspirations” video was something that I was just like, “Wow. This is like a piece of art." Like, it was really nice. Also, the shrooms video that I released back in December was cool because there was completely no filter. I really enjoyed that one too.
In regards to your ADHD video, I thought it was really cool that you were able to be vulnerable like that. Did you feel that it was necessary to get it out?
Definitely. I know it can be a toxic mindset, but I feel like I want people to have an understanding of me. Sometimes you need certain pieces of information to be understood, and in presenting that piece of info onto my channel, maybe people would be a little more softer and understand why I do certain things or act a certain way. For that video, the biggest thing I wanted was for other people to realize that if they are going through the same thing, they can get help.
When it comes to undiagnosed mental health issues, the shame that you internalize is super toxic and draining, and I didn’t want another person to go through that if they did not have to. That’s kind of where the martyr complex comes into play, because whenever I am going through rough patches, I feel the need to share these things with people, since I would’ve really wanted someone to do it for me. I have to learn how to strike that balance and not have to be the first person talking about something when nobody else is.
Outside of making videos, what other creative pursuits do you enjoy?
Right now, even though it’s connected to YouTube, I’m trying to become a video editor. I really do enjoy that more than the filming process. I still write poetry every now and then, granted I don’t do it as often. I also like to read every now and then.
As far as creation, I feel that YouTube has taken up most of my time because of the labor demand and having to be consistent all of the time. I haven’t really been able to explore other pursuits or hobbies, so I’m figuring that out [while also] on the break that I am taking too.
What about the editing process do you enjoy so much?
I think that’s where I gained my confidence. Whenever I am filming, there’s definitely things that make me feel uncomfortable. I stutter a lot and forget thoughts all the time. I feel like piecing things together, making them comedic, and adding effects here and there, there’s so much room for creative expression. I couldn’t tell you a certain part that I enjoy, but just being able to watch the final product of what you made is a great feeling.
I watched your “being a black content creator is exhausting” video and I wanted to ask: How do you personally feel that YouTube and other big name platforms can properly support Black creators?
I think that a lot of it comes from tweaking the algorithm. That’s the biggest thing, and addressing pay gaps, because the algorithm affects how much you get paid. I feel like all I see on a lot of the bigger platforms is White creators, but many of them get a lot of their talent and influence from Black creators. Like, they’re mimicking and copying all these dance moves and terminology from someone, and I know that their art exists, but I just want to see it first before all of the other people start copying it.
They have these programs for Black creators now where they are setting aside all of this money, but I wish they could offer the resources as well to be able to create videos. A lot of the time, having the proper resources is what sets Black creatives apart from White creatives or POC in general. As a business, the main concern [of these platforms] is never the people; it’s the money. So it’s like, how do you go about that and get them to see or care? I think that’s the biggest thing.
Are there any last words you want to share? Anything you want to put out into the world?
Take time for yourself [outside of social media]. It’s a great space to get away from reality and life, but it is not reality. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get wrapped up into everyone else’s milestones, goals, and accomplishments, but your life has just as much value as the others you see online. They’re probably just not showing you everything that’s going on behind the scenes. Everything is also very curated on social media, so just take it with a grain of salt. Make mistakes, learn, and grow.
You can follow Kai on all platforms, including YouTube.
Top Photo Courtesy of Kai Foster
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Sydney Jackson is an editorial intern for BUST magazine and also writes for The Pop Topic and Consonancie. An aspiring author and content creator, Sydney is passionate about writing on various topics regarding culture, media, and all things women-focused. You can find her on all platforms @sydthecrybaby.