While Benedict Cua seems to be having fun in the videos he posts on TikTok and YouTube, the road to online media success wasn’t paved in gold.
Yes, he now has 1.34 million subscribers on YouTube, and 2.2 million followers on TikTok—but it didn’t happen overnight.
In an exclusive interview with Bulletin Entertainment, Benedict said there have been many months when he was starting that he did not know if everything was worth it as few people would subscribe. Of course, that meant he wasn’t earning anything as certain requirements need to be met for his platforms to be monetized.
“Looking back two years ago, give up na talaga ako sa buhay ko kasi hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko, hindi ko alam anong path ko,” he said. “Hindi ko alam anong purpose ko in life and wala akong nakikitang direction.”
It didn’t help that he felt as if his loved ones weren’t as supportive of his endeavor as online content creator as they are now.
“My parents are very traditional. They didn’t understand what I was doing. Ang tingin nila, sayang sa oras (ko) until I explained to them what opportunities you can get through digital.”
The hardest part then was to get consistent results for his hard work so he could show these to his family.
“(Pero) wala akong masagot kung hanggang kailan ko gagawin ‘yun,” Benedict said. “Kaya binigyan ko na lang time frame sarili ko. Na in one year, ‘pag wala pa ring nangyari sa life ko, move on na.”
He added: “So, nakita naman nila ‘yung determination ko. Siyempre anak pa rin nila ako, they believe in what I’m capable of. They believe I could make sound decisions.”
Benedict understands why some online creators suffer burnout. After all, he said, it’s hard trying to “please” people all the time and to be living under a magnifying glass.
“There are times online creators could feel their mental health gets diminished,” he said in general. “Pero di ka mag-succeed kung di mo pagtrabahuan…”
Do content creators have special challenges during community quarantine?
“Parang hindi ka pwedeng maging masaya,” he said. “Kasi everyone is facing difficulty, which I need to empathize. Kailangan kong ma-understand na hindi lang pure fun ngayon. Its time to help other people. Although minsan apektado ako, na ito ‘yung kabuhayan ko — to entertain people — pero I feel like I don’t deserve to do it because of what’s happening.”
He talked about the concept of the global village and how it could bear down on anyone if he doesn’t watch out.
“Everyone kasi, with the advancement of technology, mas nagiging accessible lahat, mas visible lahat ng movements mo. So mas nagiging sensitive ang tao ‘pag may nasasabi kang mail,” he added. “So lesson learn na rin for people with huge following na think twice before you publish your content. And hiling ko naman sa tao, is for them to be more understanding, to be more forgiving.”
He certainly knows the influence successful content creators wield.
“Imagine people watch your videos the moment they wake up or before they sleep. They feel they’re part of your life and you’re part of theirs,” he said. “That’s the power of digital, lalo na vlogging. I think some people watch certain YouTubers because they aspire to be that person.”
Asked why he thinks people take to him, Benedict gave humble answer.
“Hindi ako magaling pero masipag ako. At ‘pag masipag ka, made-develop mo kahit anong gusto mong gawin.”
His hard work has paid off alright. Benedict has just released his debut single “‘Di Namalayan” under PolyEast Records. Written by TJ Monterde, it’s a refreshing take on young love.
“It’s about someone who often commutes tapos naka-develop siya ng profound affection towards that person na lagi niyang nakakasabay. Hindi niya namalayan na eventually nagkaka-feelings na siya, and nilaksan niya ‘yung loob niya na ipakilala ‘yung sarili niya du’n sa taong ‘yun,” he said.
How does he relate to the track?
“Nu’ng college ako, maraming times na du’n sa taong pinaka hindi mo ine-expect ay nagde-develop ka ng feelings nang hindi mo namalayan.
“I think ‘yun ‘yung pinaka beautiful experience for me. Kasi ‘yun ‘yung purest, pinaka-raw na you would never expect pero ang sarap sarap sa feeling.”