How does a Hackney boy from a working-class, minority background end up finding fame at Cambridge University?
Ibz Mo did. By breaking through the walls to one of the world’s most heralded institutions, and broadcasting his journey to thousands of followers, he’s proven that life is what we make of it.
Ibz Mo’s story is powerful because it’s relevant, and because it’s constantly evolving. With charm, branded mugs and good production values, he shot to the top of the UK’s student vlogging scene, with over 100,000 YouTube subscribers – and counting.
This is how he rose to the crème de la crème of the vlog-sphere…
A wake-up call
Ibz Mo (or Ibrahim Mohammed to his parents) didn’t have the easiest start to higher education. At GCSE, he was knocked back with less-than-stellar results.
It reshaped Ibz’s priorities. Throughout school, it was more of a challenge to reach the end of a day without being bullied, never mind setting aside three hours for revision. But education rose in his estimations when his friends got accepted in the local sixth form and he didn’t. Suddenly, the value of toughing it out became very real.
Ibz resolved to change gear for his A-levels at BSix College and, by summer 2015, he’d earned three A*s. It was enough to justify a gap year as a tutor, during which he fed that focus back into his students and applied for a place at Cambridge University…
In 2016, Ibz Mo was offered a spot at Cambridge studying Human, Social & Political Science. He was reduced to tears. For a boy who was never taught the worth of a university degree, or even a decent bunch of GCSE scores, he won big time.
Now it was time to make the most of the opportunity.
Lights. Camera. Traction.
Ibz Mo uploaded his first video on 19th August 2016. “It can be done,” he says to the camera. “Hopefully that’s what I, myself, and my students have shown you.”
The message hit home. A few weeks later, he was filming canteens, lecture halls, friends and tired eyes as the experience of being a Cambridge undergrad began to unfold. His audience lapped it up. Views grew to 30,000, 40,000, and eventually way past the 100K mark.
His back story no doubt powered that initial spark of popularity. But in the years since, he’s gone further, taking apart many aspects of uni life.
Every video is injected with Ibz Mo’s trademark humour and catty callouts. Thousands of new students have contacted him, seeking advice and just telling him that they love what he represents.
“I inspire young people,” says Ibz, “who look like us, who sound like us, who eat good food like us… Knowing that you could be in a space such as Cambridge University.”
What’s he graduated to?
How do you top being the UK’s most influential student vlogger? That’s what many people asked Ibz Mo on the prospect of leaving Cambridge’s grounds. But Ibz’s slogan – Bring Them Your Seasoning – has a relevance that goes beyond university.
Bolstered by winning Best Blog at the Asian Media Awards 2018, Ibz is already onto a few cool projects. Mentorships, media appearances and more have beckoned in the wake of his channel taking off. Let’s not forget his degree either. In July, he graduated with a BA Hons, leaving an emotional post on his Instagram account. He says he’s off to build a school in Pakistan and continue further studies to be a human rights lawyer.
Ibz has already worked out that power comes from within – that we are what we make of ourselves. This guy will do anything he puts his mind to. And his message, consistently, is that we’re all the same when we focus on our own potential.
Read more about starting your own vlog or blogging series – all you need is a phone, some spare time, and an amazing concept.