Enya, better known as en_jajaja on multiple social media platforms, is an icon for hundreds of thousands of people.
Her online presence has done nothing but grow stronger since she first put herself out there at 14 years old, posting 6 second videos on Vine. Since those days, Enya’s personality and confidence has changed and grown immensely. She has been one of my close friends for a little over a year now, and we have had multiple deep conversations; when I saw the theme for this month was Vanity, my mind raced right to her. When interviewing Enya, we spoke about how social media has influenced her personal life, being confident and successful, and showing her true self.
Enya: Henlo smol bean!
Shelby: Hey! So we are starting deep here… How would you compare your outside appearance to your inside reflection? Do you feel the way you present yourself is who you truly are?
E: Damn! I think I have a full representation of who I am on the outside compared to who I am on the inside. I feel like a lot of times, on the outside, I’m trying to just conform or slide by, but on the inside I’m more complex. I think I do it on purpose, though, because I feel more secure that nobody is going to try to get to know me.
S: So this one kind of ties in with your last answer, but have you ever felt the need to fit in throughout any specific points in your life? Especially when you were younger and influenced easily?
E: I wouldn’t even say I did it constantly, but I’m sure a long time from 7th grade to even 10th or 11th grade, I was just trying to be like the people I hung out with. Especially in middle school; I think who I was in middle school is a total flip of who I am now. I was for sure trying to fit in with everyone around me, listen to the music everyone was listening to, and wear the same clothes and shoes everyone else was wearing. I think a lot of times I wasn’t even doing it on purpose, I just thought that’s what I wanted to be when realistically I just wanted to find comfort in other people. I didn’t find comfort in myself until about junior year. Even then, I had a lot of friends who I let change my mentality.
S: Yeah, I feel like that’s a big problem with kids.
E: Yeah, it really is.
S: So, you kind of grew up on the internet in high school, can you describe that experience?
E: I think mentally it had a larger impact on me than socially; it didn’t really change the way my friends or people at my school interacted with me, but I think now I have a lot of problems with trying to figure out who I am. For so long I built a persona of who I am online that it’s sometimes hard to differentiate between who I am and who enjajaja is. I think I’m getting better at it, but because I joined so early, I got lost in this bigger image of me and for a long time I didn’t know if that’s who I am or if that’s who I wanted people to think I was. It gave me a lot of issues mentally, like I’m just not here fully yet.
S: Would you say you’re pretty confident now?
E: I would say yeah, because at the end of the day I think I’m a cool person and I’m somebody people get along with easily and when they like me, they really do like me and enjoy my presence. I think that is mainly what made me confident because some days I’m still like ‘Damn, I’m ugly as dust.’ So, I wouldn’t say I’m fully confident but days I feel ugly I think ‘Wow, I’m a really cool person, I’m good’ and then days I feel ugly mentally I tell myself ‘I still look good, I’m good.’ It’s not full confidence, but more balancing out my insecurities.
S: I’ve never thought of it like that, that’s a very interesting way of being confident. Do you think you have your true style right now, like you really are who you want to be?
E: Not really, actually. I don’t know if it’s a problem or a good thing, but I’m constantly switching between a more feminine style and being comfortable in what I have already. Right now, I don’t have my own style. I’m just feeding off of bits and pieces of people who I meet and how they dress.
S: Is that the same way with makeup and your videos and pictures?
E: Oh, for sure! With makeup, it’s kind of whatever I feel comfortable in and I used to be really into it. But right now, I’m just floating and if I see someone do something really cool I’ll try it on my face. I still haven’t found anything super unique to me and that I will do on my own and people will be like “Oh, that’s Enya!”
S: Would you say you love yourself a lot?
E: I think in the past year, I’ve found more comfort in myself and tried to undo the harm I did on myself mentally. I don’t even think it’s about loving myself more, but being more cautious with how I treat myself mentally.
S: What was it like before you were cautious with yourself?
E: I had really bad coping mechanisms and I never really let myself feel anything. When I was super depressed, I would beat myself up for being sad, so I always had the mentality that I was stupid for being sad. I’d tell myself I was ungrateful and people were in worse conditions; I never let myself fully feel and I think that’s really important to do. I never let myself be happy either because I thought ‘Oh, something bad is going to happen.’ I never let myself enjoy good feelings, or find relief in just crying and being sad. Finally, I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t stop doing that, I’d just be continuously falling down this pit of despair. I think January through May was my peak of mental health. because I was so okay with being fucking alive, I don’t even know how to describe it, it was an insane feeling. I also started writing a lot, which helps immensely with letting things out.
S: That makes me so happy to hear! Do you think it was that time specifically in your life because you were about to graduate and move on with your life?
E: That was the weirdest thing! I felt so much during that time because I was scared that I had to makes so many huge decisions in that time span. It was invigorating to know that my life was going to begin. Yeah, that’s probably it because high school was over and it was always something that held me down and put up a lot boundaries with what I wanted to do with my life. Knowing that was almost over and I will be able to make all decisions on my own, and it was in my hands, was super terrifying, but also very relieving to know any decision I made was going to be on me.
S: Yeah, I heard that’s a tough time that I never want to go through! (I’m a baby) Do you feel pressured to act a certain way because of your supporters?
E: Totally. I’ve tried to back up and not care as much about what they want, but it’s hard because my job is to appeal to the mass and to my audience. I feel myself conforming to what they want to see. Like, if I suddenly started doing things they were not interested in and decided to turn their back on me, I would literally be fucked. A lot of times it’s scary that I have to watch what I say and do, how I act, and who I’m with just so they can feel satisfied with me.
S: Yeah, that’s almost toxic in a way.
E: Yeah, it’s fucked, but also I understand why it’s like that. I’ve been in the position where I’ve supported someone and they do something out of the norm, it shocks me and makes me rethink everything I know about the person.
S: Yeah! So my last question today is what advice would you give readers about how to love themselves inside and out?
E: I think my best advice would be to not listen to any answer of this question. I’m a strong believer that nobody can help you find satisfaction in yourself, but yourself. I know people are like ‘Sometimes the love of another helps!’, but I think all my mental strives I have taken have all been on my own terms and handling myself. I can’t sit here and say ‘If you want to be confident, don’t compare yourself to anyone’ because people are always going to be prettier, funnier, and better than you. There’s always going to be somebody who is one-upping you, you just have to find satisfaction in what you’re doing. Just sit back and reflect on who you are, and learn you’re going to be only you forever.
S: Thank you! I personally feel so much better after listening to you talk. You really have a way with words.
E: Aw! No problem! Thank you!
A special thanks to both Enya and Shelby for this beautiful piece.