There’s an inherently familiar quality we’ve noticed amongst standout talent when talking content creators in New Zealand...
And that quality is their down to earth, humble approach to their craft and people . From the Ben Mikha’s (who Stephen cites in this interview as an inspiration) to the Eric Lin’s (@Eric_Edits) of our world , Stephen McDowell aka @Thebuzzykiwi comfortably sits amongst an elite group of Kiwi insta-pioneers who’s work transcends all self appreciating bravado so rampant in today’s social spectrum.
We worked with Stephen on a campaign recently, and we knew there was so much more to this Southern gent than what was evident scrolling through his feed. Raw , real and unapologetically himself, we had a chance to learn about Stephen’s journey on social media one on one.
CURATOR: Hi Stephen, thanks for joining us. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey via social media this far?
I gained a degree in sports science and was on my way to becoming a professional trainer when I was struck down by two hip surgeries that left me unable to continue, so I began a world wide journey to find my new path in life and began sharing my journey online to help inspire others to reshape their lives too. This has resulted in me building a highly engaged and loyal following across multiple platforms.
CURATOR: You capture some incredible content with thought provoking commentary, what inspires you to create and furthermore, engage on the issues most important to you?
I genuinely want to help as many people as I possibly can. It has always been my goal in life and now with the evolution of social media I saw this as a beautiful and powerful tool to spread inspirational messages around the world that could positively effect peoples lives. I believe now more than ever it is needed as the negative effects of social media become more apparent. It also just gives me immense fulfilment to receive the messages I do from people who share with me how I have impacted their lives.
CURATOR: Thats has to be an awesome feeling! What are some of your tips to be successful on socials?
Social media is rampant with copy cats, facades and false truths. It is becoming more and more popular to share the real, raw and relatable side of life rather than the fabricated luxury life.
When people truly connect with your real self they feel like they can relate to you which creates a highly engaged and loyal audience.
CURATOR: We agree re: Authenticity, its definitely key. What has been your most important learning experience via social media?
That being different (buzzy) is the most valuable asset I have in life. With out it you just become one of the many and struggle to stand out in this over saturated world of social media. It also provides motivation for others to be themselves rather than conforming to what they think they are suppose to be.
CURATOR: You recently were seen at the School strike for climate change, Talk to us about climate change and why we should be taking it seriously?
We are very close to a point of no return in regards to our planets health. Temperatures are increasing, Ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, freak weather events are becoming more common, coral reefs are dying, areas of land are becoming unliveable, and this is only mentioning the effects of increased carbon emissions let alone the negative effects of over consumption and plastic pollution. I believe the more we raise awareness around topics like climate change the more people become aware to all issues caused by unconscious human behaviour, and social media has a huge ability to be used to positively spread these messages.
CURATOR: Its such an important message, thanks for sharing your thoughts . Where has been your favourite places to travel/photograph and why?
I love the Canary Islands of Spain. This is a group of 7 islands that each have their own distinctive and unique differences. Its the warmest place in Western Europe during Winter and they are relatively unheard of which allows you to experience authentic culture seperate from the tourist driven cultural experiences that can often be embellished for financial gain. That is my style of travel, off the beaten track. It is actually on these islands where I fell in love with photography and videography so I could consider it the birth place of my social media journey.
CURATOR: What accounts currently inspire you on the Gram?
I love to support New Zealand creatives making their impact on the world because it reinforces to me that anything is possible. So Ben Mikha (@Benmikha) is one I have watched grow and succeed which has inspired me immensely. In regards to internationals I would say I relate the most with a guy called Sam Potter, aka @captainpotter. He is raw and authentic whilst show casing the world of travel in the same way. He represents to me the beginning of a movement on social media away from fabricated realities and into real life experiences, which motivates me a lot to continue doing what I am doing.
CURATOR: Tell us something about you, your followers wouldn't know?
Many people would assume I have a lot of money which has never been the truth. I am the youngest child of a solo mother of four from the bottom of the world. I could not have even dreamed of the life I am currently living. I have worked many jobs, sacrificed a lot and lived on a budget for a very long time to make this all possible. I want others out there who dream of traveling the world to know it is possible, no matter where you come from, you can do it too! It just takes conscious effort to make it happen.
CURATOR: Thats amazing to know Stephen. Have you got any projects or work on the horizon that we should be looking out for?
I am beginning to create videos in the style of short form documentaries as this is what I would love to do for a career long term. I have been working on a few projects now and can’t wait to begin releasing these more in-depth and intimate stories. A sneak peak in to one of my short documentaries is following my journey from never dancing in my life to learning Salsa and performing on stage at the national congress in only three months.
CURATOR: Thanks for your time Stephen, we look forward to working with you again.
For more on Stephen and his work you can follow him HERE on Instagram or visit his website www.thebuzzykiwi.com