With more than 4 million subscribers, Cristine Rotenberg, also known on YouTube as Simply Nailogical, clearly has a wide reach. She sometimes uses her platform for things like selling tank tops, designing cat-themed nail vinyls, and generally growing her army of holographic nail-loving “holosexuals.” But this week, she announced a new initiative: paying one semester of college tuition for a student at a Canadian university.
First announced in her back-to-school-themed video “15 SAVAGE BACK 2 SCHOOL WEIRD HACKS 2017 U NEED NOW!!,” the giveaway seems to reflect the message that Rotenberg wants to get across to her viewers. As she explains in the post, education has been an important part of her life. Aside from her BA, she has a master’s in sociology and criminology and still works for the Canadian government as a crime statistics analyst. As one of the most popular vloggers out there, Rotenberg could probably quit this high-level gig and make her living from sponsored posts. Instead, she’s remained in her career and decided to devote her extra income to this potentially life-altering giveaway.
The video itself is a parody — as she takes pains to make clear — of the “back to school hack” videos that trend on YouTube at this time of year. “I’m not trying to shade any YouTubers; I’m just trying to question the culture of these videos,” she explains. She mocks suggestions like “Use a different-colored pen for every line in your notebook,” instead telling her young audience to “educate, not decorate.” The 16-minute video is an ode to the importance of education, made especially powerful coming from someone whose platform makes her an automatic role model for viewers. “This was brought to you by Simply Momlogical,” she laughs.
Rotenberg also dives into a personal anecdote, a rarity on her lighthearted channel devoted to nail art, about an experience she had working for a summer at a law firm. Her boss, a male attorney, asked her if she was only going to school to get her “Mrs. degree” — a sexist way of telling women they belong in the home, not the workplace. “For some reason, that moment has stuck with me for the past 10 years,” she says. “I’ve used it to motivate myself to go further in school and to try harder. … No matter how old you are or what field you’re in, don’t let anyone tell you your education isn’t important.”
She’s reinforcing her words in the most practical way, by donating a semester of tuition to a viewer. All it takes to enter the “Simply go to school tuition giveaway” is a few answers on a Google Form. (Thanks to the exorbitance of U.S. tuition, she’s only able to offer the giveaway to Canadian students.) “I really want to reward someone with educational aspirations and help them attain that goal,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.
Back to school was the perfect time for Rotenberg’s “mom” side to come out, she explains. “I have always been pro-education but have not always outwardly voiced or made content surrounding it because it can be seen as ‘less fun,’” she says. “But I noticed a lot of my subscribers were often interested to know more about my own schooling and career. So, I decided to integrate the more ‘mom’ side of me that encourages education and using your brain into a video that was still entertaining.”
She also gave the giveaway a signal boost on Instagram, where it’s already gotten more than 50,000 likes. “I really hope this helps one of you guys out in pursuing higher education because it ain’t always free, and the cost can be a barrier to many who want to further their education,” she wrote.
Rotenberg tells us she’s interested in keeping up the conversation about the importance of education — and her followers are ready for it. “The amount of positive comments and emails I’ve gotten from my audience who tell me they are inspired to work hard in school and for their futures has been overwhelming, and I wasn’t expecting it,” she says. “I think a lot of young people are smarter than people give them credit for.”
“Wow, you rock! Now this giveaway makes a difference!” wrote a fan. Another has a new idea for her channel: “I WANT MORE SIMPLYMOMLOGICAL.”
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