Sazan Hendrix | Source: Courtesy of Sazan Hendrix
Sazan Hendrix | Source: Courtesy of Sazan Hendrix

Sazan Hendrix about building a personal brand, the role of an influencer and social impact

Dayna Remus
Apr 24, 2023
03:11 A.M.

AmoMama does interviews with women who motivate and inspire us under the "Mothers With Will" banner. And today, we have snagged a conversation with Sazan Hendrix.


Sazan Hendrix is an influencer, Instagrammer, YouTube vlogger, podcast author, and brand ambassador ready to talk about building a personal brand, the role of the influencer, and their social impact.

Sazan Hendrix. | Source: Courtesy of Sazan Hendrix

Sazan Hendrix. | Source: Courtesy of Sazan Hendrix


AmoMama makes podcasts about women who motivate and inspire us. And our guest today is Sazan, a great example of a self-made woman who built a personal brand, has more than 1.2 million followers on her Instagram, and has 500,000 followers on YouTube. Welcome, Sazan!

"Hi, Razia. How are you? Hello, everyone listening. Happy to be here."

Take us on a walk down memory lane. You studied radio, TV, and film right off the bat. Correct?

"Yes, I did. Feels like forever ago."

You knew from the beginning what inspires you, or what was your goal when you studied these things?

"I think it was the passion I had for storytelling, and at the time, in the 2010/2011 year, social media was just beginning to sort of become, I guess, a little taste of what it is today. But at that time, when I was studying, there was no digital media classes or anything like that. So I wasn't studying to pursue becoming a content creator, but I just knew that I had this passion for connecting with people and storytelling.

So for me, I thought that was going to be in the realm of broadcast journalism, you know, recording, creating different packets and things like that for a news network. That was my idea. And that's what I thought I wanted to do.


So I studied radio, television, and film to sort of get that baseline understanding and learn the chops behind how to do that. I had to learn how to hold a camera. I had to learn how to edit. I had to learn how to write. So, I always tell my mom and dad, I'm like, 'My degree didn't go to waste, guys.'"

Sazan Hendrix. | Source: Courtesy of Sazan Hendrix

Sazan Hendrix. | Source: Courtesy of Sazan Hendrix

That was actually my next question. I wanted to ask exactly what your mom and dad thought about you going into this field because it's not always a field that feels comfortable for women to go into, as well. And this was very much before you could go home and say, "Well, I'm a content creator," and people actually understood what that meant. So were you supported by your family?

"My parents came to this country at a very young age. My mom was 13, and my dad was 18. And, you know, it's not like they grew up under a rock, but they are very practical, logical people. They came to this country, the United States, as immigrants. So at an early age, I witnessed just the level of tenacity and work it required for our family to be able to survive in the streets, and just their work ethic really showed, and they always raised us, me and my siblings, to know that to be in this country is a privilege, and you have to work hard. In our case, we had to earn it, my parents being immigrants. So when I told them that I wanted to study TV essentially, they immediately thought Hollywood, 'Oh my gosh, are you trying to be a movie star?'"


"I believe we have this beautiful power to be able to share with at least the people around us who are there with us."

I'm sure they are absolutely proud, even if they don't understand everything. And your siblings? Can you tell us what your siblings are doing? So you're the creative one?

"Yes. I have two older sisters and two younger brothers, and my oldest sister, she actually studied to get into medicine, and then her career path took a turn. She actually went from thinking that she was going to do more of that side of her passion, which was medicine. She got into more like human relations. So she's become an activist for the Kurdish community. Through that passion that she has for our heritage, she actually created her own jewelry line.

And then my other sister, who's two years older than me, she's a nurse. She always was so passionate about helping people who are cancer patients. My little brother actually had leukemia when he was eight years old. Thank God today, he's 22 years old. But it was through that journey of watching him go through that where she was really inspired by the nurses and oncology.

So, it's been really amazing to see how we all have our own unique passions, especially for my younger brother, who is now studying film."


Oh, absolutely. Wow, what an amazing family you come from. They sound really strong—and supportive as well.


"So I'm excited for people that see that side of me as an influencer, but I think what I have learned truthfully when we were talking about my siblings—they're all serving a purpose.

I know a lot of people listening to this podcast right now; they may have a little small jewelry shop or a small business, or maybe you're a doctor, or maybe you're studying in school to be something that you want to be. I want to say that the term 'influencer'—it's rather new in this world of social media. Even though that's a new term, influence itself is not.

I believe we have this beautiful power to be able to share with at least the people around us who are there with us. Everybody needs that sense of encouragement and that love, so I just wanted to share that, as this term 'influencer' lately has been rather new."

I specifically did not introduce you as an influencer. I'm glad that I didn't; I like how you've deconstructed the word "influencer." People influence each other a lot more than they think they do.

"I recently had an encounter with an online follower. Just last weekend, I was in Los Angeles, and my husband and I had a day when we were able to get out. We stumbled upon this local flea market. It was about 30 minutes into being at the flea market, where we didn't even get to go all the way around because my two-year-old started complaining and saying her feet hurt and she wanted to go home. So we were like, all right, maybe we need to go back to the hotel."


"So, as we were walking out, this woman came running up to me. She said, 'Hey, I don't mean to bother you guys. I know you guys are with your family, but I just have to tell you guys that a year ago, I found one of your podcast episodes, and it was about chasing your dreams.' She said, 'I sent it to my husband, and we listened to it together in the car,' and as this woman was talking, all of a sudden, her eyes started welling up with tears.


She said, 'Unfortunately, a few months ago, I unexpectedly lost my husband. It was just a...it was out of the blue. He lost his life. He was completely healthy.' They were at a wedding, and he, unfortunately, collapsed, and that was the end of it. And she said, 'I remember that he encouraged me so much. When we listened to your episode, we had this little bee farm business. And it was that episode where we looked at each other, and we decided we were gonna go for it; we're gonna do this thing,' And she said, 'When he passed away, I didn't know what to do with it.'

And so she hands me this brown bag. And inside the bland brown bag are these three jars of honey, and she's like, 'I just wanted to give you this gift.' I didn't put two and two together. So I was like, 'Wait, how did you know we were going to be here? And how did you know to give me this gift?' And she said, 'Oh, this is the first time I've ever done anything like this. But we have our little tent over here where we're selling our honey and some of our other products,' and I remember looking over and glancing over at her tent, and I could see that she had family over there, and I looked at my husband, and I was like, 'We can't leave. I want to go over there.'"


"She felt comfortable enough to tell me this because she's been a follower, and she was listening to the podcast episode. So we ended up getting to hang out with her over at the booth, and her products were amazing. We ended up buying so many more things.

I was so tremendously blessed by Claudia, this woman who is a mom. She is hustling for her children while still figuring out this small bee farm business.

I left that day telling her, 'You have no idea how much you've blessed us and influenced us,' and I told her to continue to do that because there are so many people around her that I know that she can impact and that she already has, despite her, again, not having the millions of followers."

Thank you so much for sharing that story. Because just sharing that story already, it's gonna reach a lot of people, a lot of hearts. I had goosebumps listening to that. So it's amazing.

"You know, it's amazing how all the stars align."


You gave me goosebumps. I love that story. I hope she hears this podcast. I hope she gets to hear how much she influenced you because she holds you in very high regard, clearly. I think it'll just make her day knowing that she gave you something back because you've given her so much. In her mind, you've given her a lot.

"It's a full-circle thing. I also think that we all have similar stories like that, I think, in life, and sometimes they pass you by like a train, and you miss it."

"I think all of us have those special opportunities [that] are there every single day, but I think we live in a world today where we're so easily distracted. I, myself included."

You consider your followers family. How did you find this online family? Where did they come from? How did you create this connection with them?

"I think in the content creator world, we've seen a huge boom, right? Since the pandemic, we've seen people go viral on the TikTok platform, and suddenly people have millions of followers.

For me, this journey started a decade ago. There was a time where everybody was sharing pictures of their dogs, and it wasn't even a strategic thing, but I started just sharing my little posts on there [Instagram] and started to just grow organically. Then my YouTube Channel came after, you know, realizing that I love writing, but I also love that video allows us to just connect with people instantly.


So it was like a fork-in-the-road moment where I had to make a decision. There weren't a lot of doors opening in the TV hosting world at that time. For me, I felt like a small fish in a really big pond in Los Angeles. Moving from Texas to LA was just so overwhelming, but what I did have with me under my belt was this blog. It wasn't making me any money at the time, but I said, that's the one thing that I have. I'm going to keep on watering that seed.

And then I think it was another divine encounter, right, that happened when I connected with a girl out there in Los Angeles that I had gone to high school with, and she was telling me that she was in the blogging world as well, and she said there's an event coming up with other LA influencers.

So when I went to this event, I met all of these other Los Angeles-based content creators, and at this time, I was mind blown because what I had learned was that these women were actually making money off of doing what they loved and sharing their passion, and so I thought, 'Wait what?'"


"So I started sharing even more beauty and even more fashion, but then it came to a point where my personal life—I was actually going through a lot of stuff 'cause I was getting ready to marry the man of my dreams who was not a man [from] my culture. I knew that I was going to potentially lose my family over that decision.

I felt like, at that time, I was starting to grow a following in the Middle East. So I thought, 'Oh my gosh, all of my Middle Eastern followers, they're gonna be so disappointed in me because I'm not marrying that token guy.'

At that time, my parents had put that pressure on me and my siblings, at least, and so I ended up going for it. And it was the hardest jump I had ever made in my life, but I married my college sweetheart, and it did come with the price of my parents not talking to me for two years and not coming to our wedding.

So stepping out on that stage at that time and writing; I wrote a blog post, basically reintroducing myself. And I shared that right there, then, and there. That was the hardest thing. And I shared that this is what I've been going through, and Stevie, who they [had] seen as my friend and my photographer at the time; no, he was somebody I'd been secretly dating for three years, and I had to keep it from my family. And when I shared that story, I was so nervous, but I also felt like, 'Okay, I've done it. That's it. That was the last thing.'"


Yeah, a lot of immigrant parents have this idea that, okay, well, we'll take you to America. There's lots of opportunity, you know, but once we get there, you have to cling really hard and fast to your community and your upbringing.


"I would always kind of wrestle with my parents between, like, I wanted the freedom of just being able to be who I wanted to be. And my parents also knew that it was their duty to protect us. This was the land of the unknown for them.

My mom was 13 years old when she came to this country. I spent a lot of years as a young Kurdish American, growing up in this country, born and raised. I wanted to make them proud. I wanted to do what would be best for them, but also, selfishly, it was my life too, and I wanted it to be good and a life that I could tolerate."

"So there was a hunger in my spirit for just that love and that light and that support. And I wasn't getting it at home."

Sazan Hendrix, Stevie, and their daughters hugging. | Source: youtube.com/@Sazan

Sazan Hendrix, Stevie, and their daughters hugging. | Source: youtube.com/@Sazan


"And I remember Stevie just being that friend who would listen to me. We would sit in the car and talk for hours, eating Taco Bell, and we would just start talking about things that were beyond our age. Like, we were talking about God."

"The more I genuinely just fell in love with who he was as a person, it was like, he wasn't being anything; he wasn't trying to be anything. He was just being himself, authentically, and I saw that, and I thought, 'I want to be myself authentically.'"

"I just remember, you know, that decision I made; I really do think he's the one, and coming to that place in the road for me was not easy because even though I knew he was one hundred percent the perfect man, I still had the fears, the fears that came with well, 'I'm going to lose my family.'"

Sazan Hendrix and Stevie dancing. | Source: youtube.com/@Sazan

Sazan Hendrix and Stevie dancing. | Source: youtube.com/@Sazan


But challenges make you strong. And it made your relationship with Stevie strong because there was something that the two of you were going through. I'm so happy for you. I'm happy for Stevie because your boy is coming.

"We both cried when we found out, and it was just a beautiful thing because our family truly feels complete. You know, I think it's a blessing to be able to even have children."

"When I found out it was a boy, there was just something in me that came over me that just felt like, wow. And I think children are so amazing, and it's a lot of work. As we know, children are work."


It's going to be amazing. We're waiting to see your baby in June. I really do hope that you do take some time for yourself and that you find those quiet moments. I can see the love that you get from your siblings, your parents, your husband, and your children. It's clear that your cup is overflowing. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Sazan Hendrix is all about discovering her true identity and emanating authenticity not only through her personal life but through her Instagram, YouTube channel, podcast, and general role as an influencer.

This ability to present her full self online is rare and effective, with the ability to create not just followers but family.

As she said, we are all influencers in our own way, and together, we can hold up the "Mothers With Will" banner, creating community and connection in a world that is in desperate need of being seen, heard, and held.

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