The Life of a Youtuber | Nilam Farooq, Co-Founder Ellevant media

#NewWorkModels — Humans Of New Work

The phrase ‘I have to work’ has no place in Nilam’s vocabulary. As an actress, Youtube influencer, and co-founder of Ellevant media, she shapes her life independently and self-determinately. Nilam’s varied repertoire of work does not fall under a single umbrella and is as diverse as she is.

Born of a Pakistani Muslim father and a Polish Christian mother, Nilam grew up in a family characterized by diversity. While her classmates took a school trip, Nilam started working at a café at the age of twelve. Driven by her ambition to attain some level of freedom, she quickly understood the value of money and made her way into acting by being cast as an extra. While following her love of acting, she and two of her friends start an unofficial production company for demo reels, where Nilam learned to edit only to quickly discover YouTube in 2009 when the platform was still in its infancy.

“I thought to myself, ‘I can do better’ and was lucky enough to catch the first big wave. If I’m looking at today’s content, I’m not in anymore and, I think, too old as well. However, if I wanted to become a star again, I know how to do that. But the question I’m asking myself is much more about, what level is ideal for me to stay satisfied and be standing behind it five years from now.”

For Nilam, the platform remains a space for direct feedback and, in contrast to a theater’s ovation or a cinema’s audience, it’s much more honest, straightforward and meaningful. Still, she is disappointed with the development of the content provided which ranges from clickbaiting to a lack of digital ethics. To counteract this situation, she and Philipp Werner founded Ellevant Media, a startup that focuses on the aspects beyond digital trash and serves an older audience of 25+ years. As an entrepreneur, Nilam lives completely autonomously, a skill she honed from her YouTube days. A three-month excursion into the fixed world of a beauty start-up confirmed to preference to her once and for all — she is not the 9-to-5 type. Instead, she’s at home in two different worlds. The first, where she finds creative development and the other, a more constricted film industry environment.

Just as Nilam is living out her work life dreams, she hopes for similar changes across the traditional working world.

“I see a lot of fear whether in the startup industry or on the film set. Everyone seems to be reciting the motto, “If I leave now, I won’t get another job.” That’s why I’m calling for more bravery, social acceptance of lateral shifts and a move towards a sense for the individual. ‘What is your passion?’ rather than ‘What were your best grades in school?’ There are so many options out there it makes it impossible to limit someone to just one role. I think we still need guidelines, but I’d make options three times wider than they are right now.”

Nilam’s life is defined by the ability to make limitless decisions in her life. This is once aspect of her life she can count on not changing.

“Like the movie, Ratatouille says, “With luck, forward.” I never want to stay where I am. I always am hoping for a bit of movement where I can imagine that anything can happen.”

Originally published at

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