Network television. Podcasting. MTV honors. Helping transform silence into action.
Plano neighbor and Gen Z member Victoria Makanjuola already has covered a lot of ground in her life.
Her latest effort: Creating and operating a social media community dedicated to discussing mental health taboos.
“There’s still a communication gap, like an emotional gap between the older generation and our generation, and that’s definitely something I’m trying to fight through,” Makanjuola says. “Even at home talking to my own parents, I try to make sure that we see things eye-to-eye even though we’re a different generation, and it’s so much harder than it looks.”
Makanjuola studied communication and media studies at Sam Houston before moving to Washington, D.C., to attend George Washington University, obtaining a master’s degree in media and strategic communication.
As a CBS News summer intern during the pandemic, Makanjuola completed the program virtually from her parents’ house in Plano. That internship led to another as a features intern at CBS This Morning. Makanjuola then was hired as an executive assistant for 60 Minutes Plus.
When that show was canceled after one season, Makanjuola changed her career path. During college, she’d created a blog and podcast, so she decided to direct her energy there.
These days, her podcast — Feel Your FeelingZ — tries to enlighten, educate and talk about how Generation Z is coping with mental health issues. Makanjuola has completed two seasons of Feel Your FeelingZ, covering topics such as vulnerability online, youth activism and stress.
Earlier this year, when MTV announced its Youth Mental Health Forum, Makanjuola applied, becoming one of 30 young people accepted to participate. In coordination with the White House and 18 mental health nonprofits, the forum discussed how to bring awareness and action to mental health through media. The program coincided with her former employment at CBS, though, so she was unable to attend.
“Of course, I was disappointed.… From that point, I just decided to pivot into doing things that meant something to me and that could help me create real change,” Makanjuola says.
Makanjuola recently began working as content and community manager with Better to Speak, a Black youth-led community media platform working to transform silence into language and action.
During the past year, the platform hosted workshops to teach journalists how to use storytelling as a tool for social change. The nonprofit also participated in various community events, including The Book Drive, The Period Project and others that raised hundreds of dollars for community campaigns and where creators learned how to incorporate social justice into their content.
And in her spare time, Makanjuola is active on her blog, As Told By Victoria, where she discusses a variety of topics, with much of her work centered around mental health.
“You never know what impact you can make even if you feel like: ‘What can I do? I’m just me. I’m nobody,’” Makanjuola says. “You can still make a difference and an impact. You can still be a leader wherever you are.
“So I’m kind of using my tiny space and the platform that I’ve created to be a positive influence.”Feel Your FeelingZ