It’s time to move over, Millennials—here comes Generation Z. This month of October, we step into the new era of Zentennials—and there’s no duo better than our newest #CalyxtaGirls, Janina Vela and Hannah Pangilinan (also known as HANINA, their friendship tag), to walk us through this new culture.
When asked about what sets their generation apart from others, Hannah sums it up in one word—trailblazers. Growing up in this new age of digital, they believe that their generation is empowered and enabled to take the moment into their own hands, and to build opportunities for themselves from the ground up without having to wait on anybody to give them the opportunity to do so. “There are no boxes on our dreams. We can reach whatever height and go any distance, and we’re empowered to do that on our own,” Janina shares.
After all, this vlogging duo are self-made artists in every sense of the word—with each one building their own YouTube channels from scratch that have now garnered their own fan bases, respectively the #VelaFam and #oHannah. Apart from their channels, they’ve both been busy with their own music, having been signed under Universal Records. Janina just launched her very own album entitled, “Love You the Same,” while Hannah’s been teasing us on her upcoming EP (extended play record) that’s scheduled to come out very soon!
Immerse yourself in the Gen Z culture as our October 2018 #CalyxtaGirls, Janina and Hannah, talk about what they love most about growing up in this day and age, as well as the challenges that come with it!
What do you love most about growing up in the “Gen Z Culture”?
Hannah: I really appreciate the fact that we have more opportunities to build ourselves from the ground up. Like with our YouTube channels, we didn’t really need anybody else to help us make our own careers, because of the opportunities of having an online platform.
Janina: Yeah, I think mine is very similar. I feel like we’re empowered to do whatever; there are no boxes on our dreams. We can reach whatever height and go any distance, and we’re empowered to do that on our own, like what you said. It’s not something that we have to wait for somebody to give us the opportunity, but we take the moment in our hands and we make it into something meaningful and beautiful—and I think that’s what I like about the Gen Z Culture.
If you could sum up Zentennials in one word, what would it be? What do you believe sets you apart from other generations, or what do you want your generation to be known for?
Hannah: Trailblazers. I like that word. One of our friends after our HANINA Live concert said that we were like trailblazers.
Janina: Mhmm? Who said that?
Janina: Oh, nice.
Hannah: It was nice because it kind of encompasses everything what we are as a generation. I think we’re just people who keep on breaking boundaries because right now, we have all of these technologies, communications, networks, and we’re just taking advantage of that and making new things, and discovering new career paths, and all of these opportunities—so I think, yeah, trailblazers.
Janina: I think for me, I would like our generation to be described as compassionate because a lot of times, people just mistake it for being sensitive or being easily offended, but I think for me, it’s an avenue for people to feel for other people, to understand what other people are going through. That’s why we have so many causes now—we have stuff for feminism, sexism, racism, and all of these things, which you’ll see all over Twitter. I feel like because now, we’re getting to a point where we’re learning to put our hearts back on our sleeves and have compassion for other people who are not like us at all, like whether it be I’m round and she’s thinner than me, or she’s darker than me and I’m whiter than her—but those things don’t matter anymore because we’re all connected by compassion.
What would you guys say is the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?
Janina: For the Gen Z’s, I think sometimes we can be impatient because we grew up with everything instant—instant noodles, instant coffee…
Hannah: …instant messaging.
Janina: Yes, instant messaging! Like my mom and I were just talking about it before, she had to go home and literally call each one of her friends. But for us, it’s like, “Okay, I have to talk to her. I’m going to text her right now.” Just like that, right? And that turned into maybe sometimes entitlement and impatience, which might be our biggest challenges to overcome. But I feel like we can overcome that. Or the opposite of that is actually, again, taking things into our own hands and doing it right now. There are no excuses like, “Okay, I’m not going to be lazy and wait for an opportunity to happen,” because we want things now. We get it done now.
Hannah: Me, I think the biggest challenge is having to filter out all the information that we have in our hands, because nowadays, the younger generation, people who are 12 or 13 years old, they have access to so much information that maybe they’re not ready to listen to or to absorb it just yet. Like they can’t really comprehend it yet, so I think the generations are growing up too fast, and it’s not an organic way of growing up because it’s just information shoved into your face. So, I think, yeah—all of the information that’s available right now, the most challenging thing is really to just pace yourself as you grow up, and learn different things.
Since you’re both still studying, how do you keep that right balance between work, school, family, and friends? How do you keep it all together?
Janina: For me, knowing your priorities is super important.
Hannah: Amen, girl.
Janina: Whatever it is—for me it might be God, and then my family, and stuff like that. So, for me, I know that I won’t sacrifice my relationships for my career. But that’s just me, of course. I’m not pushing my priorities over to anybody. But because I know that I put so much value in my relationship with God and my relationship with my family, that’s how I learn to balance. “Okay, this day I have a shoot, but it’s also my brother’s birthday,” but since I know that family is my priority, that’s how I get to choose between the two. But of course, that’s not to say that I don’t want to be excellent in YouTube and in school as well—it’s just that if you know your priorities, decisions become simpler. Not easier, but simpler, because you know what you should do—although it’s very hard. (laughs) Because I know that school right now is like, “Okay, I’m a student, I have to be a good student, and I can’t go out with my friends all the time.”
Hannah: For me, I think it’s important to know what your non-negotiables are. I think Janina and I have very similar non-negotiables. Mine is Church, school, and family. So, for example, I really don’t like working on Sundays because I like going to Church with my family and spending time with them. I have Youth service on Fridays, so I don’t really plan stuff on Fridays. So, if you know what is non-negotiable in your life, you place the things are not really important or super timely where you have free time. On weekends, when my friends would go out or they would hang out very late, I’m like, “Okay, I have work the next day, I’m just not going to do this.” Yeah, it’s very similar to Janina’s—you just really have to know your priorities and you have to stick to that.
Where do you draw inspiration from when you create or produce content?
Janina: Actually, Hannah and I are both very lucky that our target audience is basically us. So, we relate so much to the people we try to reach out to, and so inspiration really comes from our own lives. It’s very true to who we are as a daughter, a friend, a sister. We’re in school, that’s why we post school videos. If we have work, we post what we do at work. So it’s a lot of inspiration from us, and of course our viewers, the #oHannah and #VelaFam, we listen to what they say, we listen to what they want—and of course we want to make them happy, too. So we put out content that we know they would love.
Hannah: Well, similar to Janina, my role, my archetype in my YouTube channel is kind of like, “Ate Hannah,” so people recognize me as an older sister. And so, from that, I think about the characteristics an older sister has—an advice giver, a companion, and that’s the way I shape my videos. I have question and answer videos that I have for them, so if ever they need advice, I’m there to give them advice. Or when I have Get Ready with Me’s, it’s like I can accompany them while they’re doing their makeup. So, I guess it’s just recognizing what the need of our audience is and trying to cater to that.
What’s your advice to those who want to start their own YouTube channel at a young age?
Hannah: My advice is before you enter a platform where there are so many personalities, know yourself first very well. So that you will not be swayed by other people, or so that you don’t be influenced in the wrong way, or threatened in the wrong way because one thing that I was talking to Janina about was that sometimes, in this industry, it’s so easy to lose yourself because there are so many people that can sway you in the wrong direction. So if you are very confident with who you are, and if you’re secure in yourself, then you will be an influence to other people because your authenticity is going to stand out.
Janina: I think it’s very important to do what you’re passionate about because a lot of people get into it for the money, or for fame, but these things—first of all, they won’t come right away, and these things will also fade. Getting into this industry for those reasons, it’s a faulty reason, and that’s why people get burnt out so easily; that’s why people give up so easily because it’s not coming from their hearts. It’s not sustainable and it’s not genuine, it’s not authentic. So, for me, when I started, it was makeup and I’m like, “You know what, nobody’s watching me, but I love making these videos, I love talking about makeup.” So whether or not I was earning a lot, or whether or not people were watching, I just wanted to do it because it was my passion!