14 year-old Paola Mejía, known online as La Chiki 504, has been gaining a lot of attention this week for her funny Facebook videos. Living by the motto #SeaHumilde, she’s been showing her followers everything from how to straighten their hair without going to the salon to the benefits of public transportation, all in the interest of making the most out of life on a budget. This is important, of course, because her native San Pedro Sulas, Honduras is one of the most troubled cities in one of the world’s poorest countries. The videos have garnered her, as of my writing this, about 150,000 Facebook fans, as well as endorsement deals with a local cellphone company and a pizza chain.
It’s no surprise, then, that she’s also gotten the attention of larger, English language media outlets. Unfortunately, The BBC, which seems to have broken the story on La Chiki, labeled her video series “How to Be Poor” – a title that has since been picked up by pretty much every other English-language outlet covering the story. This is a little misleading – and frankly a little patronizing – especially since it doesn’t seem to be a title Chiki herself has given her videos, which are mostly labeled with her Be Humble hashtag. Really, her videos are a call to her followers to embrace simple things instead of seeking luxury. It’s not hard to imagine that if a similar concept had come out of a developed country, the media would have labeled it “thrifty life hacks” instead.
Either way, her videos have struck a chord and spread like wildfire. “We are a humble family, because we don’t have a lot of things. But with the little we have we are very happy, during the day there is always something to laugh about,” she told Fox News Latino.
Granted, Chiki’s not without her detractors – there’s no shortage of criticism on her wall, ranging from pure hateration to those that wish she would stop telling viewers to stay humble and start talking to them about endemic poverty, violence, drug use, and the importance of education.
To this we say: she’s got time.