“I don’t think it’s possible for me to make something that one person in the whole world won’t like,” Korty boldly blurts out. We’re forty minutes deep into our conversation and it’s all coming together for me on who Korty really is beyond the 5-minute videos that resonate with her audience. Here’s a female who seems unbothered, self-willed and clearly has set a path for thriving without arduously working her brains off each day from the ninth hour to the closing fifth hour.
This time a year ago, barely a few had heard about the name “Korty.” They might have stumbled on her Instagram page but she hadn’t bloomed into the pop culture prominence she’s currently striding on now. It would begin in November when she found boldness to speak on issues that were of a concern to her. Her, as a 22-year-old recently quitting her job, now without a path towards financial independence. Her YouTube channel became an outlet in releasing off the turmoil that clogged her heart during that period. Those videos yet seemed to have an affectionate feel to them, with one garnering as high as 178k views and aiding her growth on the app.
When I ask what serves as the source of inspiration for the videos she creates, she tells me with the same calmness mostly exhibited in her videos about not having a definitive pattern or creative process. “I don’t know, most things I talk about are just like things happening in my life,” she says. I don’t really know what inspires me.
Like most Gen Z perhaps still in school or recently passing out from the tiring walls of tertiary education, finding the next path doesn’t seem easy. For Korty, she had gotten a job at Zikoko whilst writing her final paper. Joining Zikoko in 2018, she would learn the rudiments of making and editing videos all by herself from YouTube’s countless tutorials and would apply what she learned to the works she was cranking out then. She remembers how she got a raise twice due to different reasons.
“The first time was during a review, when it was time for my review, they told me I was getting a raise. I was like mad, mad, mad,” she recollects. “The second time was when I said I was leaving and my boss told me ‘you can’t leave now o’ so there was another raise for me. The third time, this time was when I was going to Empawa, they wanted to give me a raise again, but I just wanted to try something different at another company.”
The themes Korty calmly addresses in her videos lean to self-reflection. It’s her talking, but it also seems she’s looking at herself from a distance, gleaning into her life, seeing what’s top of her mind and proffering some self-advice. It clicks with the audience, watching keenly from a guide, from a friend, from a sibling. You can see the comments all screaming that they love what she just put out. Korty however plays it down. She’s just into that space of loving what you’re doing regardless of the monetary value. She joyously tells me if she’s put in a cave with animals and tasked to make them happy, videos might just be a way. “I’ll find a way to make them happy with videos,” she tells me. “I just love making videos, it was just easy that I was getting paid for it because I was enjoying it. And to some extent, I can be ambitious and competitive, so if I feel people don’t exactly see my worth, I’ll make sure you see it.”
In Korty’s mind are numerous guides, numerous principles she operates on. As a creative who’s worked with two prominent brands, she’s siphoned some experience from the bosses and colleagues on there and during our hour-long conversation she sprinkled some principles she’s learnt over the years onto all of her answers, to questions posed to her. One of those were:
So what will your advice be to someone undecided about leaving or staying at a company?
“First, you have to up to your game, make your work really good, get to a point where you feel like ‘I’m actually doing well, I’m putting in time, I’m turning out a good amount of work and I’m enjoying work, so I deserve to get a raise. Then you can go to your employer and ask for a raise. They won’t want to let you go.”
After leaving Zikoko in 2019, Korty joined Mr Eazi’s led Empawa as a content lead, overseeing video production. There it got intense. She had to fully engage her abilities and all what she’s learnt in past years. Yet she didn’t stop learning. She recalls one tough period she had to organize a project and what helped her was a Masterclass video she hopped on at that time. “Eazi had a subscription on Masterclass then so there was this course on Filmmaking that helped me at that period.”
When Korty is asked about her most proud moments so far in her career as a creator, she can’t name them all. At Zikoko, she remembers being the youngest employee at that time and at the end of the year, she got recognized as employee of the year. “It didn’t come to me as a surprise because of how consistent I was that period,” she recalls. “I had this show I was running at that time, I don’t think I missed one day, actually I never missed a day.” At Empawa, she got a bonus for successfully handling a project a few months after she joined. “So many proud moments I can’t remember to be honest.”
It’s 2020, but Korty isn’t fixated on returning to a 9-5 yet. There’s no future plan or project asides being consistent on putting out a video on YouTube each week. She’s come through with that, posting over 7 videos so far this year and increasing her subscriber base. She’s become her own employer, depending on the proceeds from the videos she puts out. It’s tough adjusting to that role, with her far from the confines of deadlines and the fear of bosses. “Now I need to be hard on myself, before there was an oga at the top, which I know that if I don’t do this thing, they can fire me.”
It’s almost an hour and we’ve both touched on every matter I had scribbled on my note pad. Before my call, she was sleeping and was woken up by an alarm that rung just five minutes before our call. She informs me she has another meeting after our conversation and goes on to walk me through her normal day. “Recently, I’ve been trying to cook more and watch more movies,” she says. “I notice I don’t watch movies and it’s rare for someone who makes videos, I should watch more videos even though I don’t know if I need to.
“I’ve colorgraded some videos, I haven’t actually edited the video I want to put out on Saturday. I’ll try to begin editing today. I was filming throughout last week so I have a lot of things to edit.”
We’re now approaching 61 minutes when I glance on my recording device, but then Korty is discussing a disgusting issue. I had posed a question on why in some select companies, some employers don’t like to employ women. She laughs a little and says it’s disappointing if this is happening. She questions why anyone would hire based on a gender when what they’re looking for is talent and result, regardless of who’s doing it at the end. “If a dog can draw and do what I want to do, I’ll pay the dog money to do it, I don’t care about the gender whether male or female.”
Just before we end the call with Korty reminding me to subscribe to her channel, a constant phrase in most videos on YouTube, I ponder what is like the secret to her success so far.
“Apart from consistency, I think it is finding the most important part of your work. As a filmmaker, it’s editing. If you shoot a video with the best camera in the world, if you shoot at the best location or you get the best actors and the person that is editing that video doesn’t know how to edit, the whole video will be rubbish.”
“For any field, find the fundamental thing and master that thing after that everything else will follow. For filmmaking, editing is fundamental for me and I think that’s something you’ll master first before chasing gear.”
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here