‘People looked me as if I was trash,’ says teenage mum from Leeds who became top Youtuber
Yasmin Uddin, aka Yammy, was a teenage mum. For the first time the YouTube star talks about her son. Catherine Scott reports
Yasmin Uddin was doing her GCSEs when she found out she was pregnant with son Dante.
“It was a very difficult time, for me, ” recalls Yasmin, aka YouTube sensation Yammy.
“I was at school but obviously it was all anyone was talking about. I was getting attention for all the wrong reasons.
“The teachers were all fantastic and very supportive really helping me through what was a really difficult time. But some of the other pupils were very judgmental and sometimes it really upset me.”
Yasmin, from Leeds, says her parents were very supportive and she went ahead and had Dante and passed her GCSEs. She is now married to Dante’s dad and fellow gamer Kyle
“I went to college and got into university to train to become a primary school teacher, but then my YouTube channel took off and I was left with a dilemma.”
Yasmin is a gamer and launched her first YouTube channel Chickscangame in 2011 and now, aged 26, has more than 2.5 million subscribers.
“When my YouTube channel took off I really didn’t now what to do. I never really thought of it as a career option as it had only really come into existence a few years earlier, but it had got to the point where I could support myself and my family. It was very male-dominated.
“I spoke to my parents and asked them what they thought I should do. They were amazing and said that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and that if it didn’t work out I could always got to university.”
So she decided to concentrate full-time on her YouTube channel, while bringing up her young son.
However, as her popularity grew she was determined to keep Dante out of the limelight – until now. In a documentary on YouTube Original’s upcoming Spotlights series championing female creators, Yasmin introduces her son.
“Dante is now in high school and I think he is old enough,” says Yasmin.
“Up until now I have felt it was very important to keep my private life private, but now he’s older he will be exploring social media and I just felt the time was right. I don’t want to be judged for having been a teenage mum, it has such negative connotations.
“I look back on those times when he was a baby, pushing him through town and people looking at me as if I was a piece of trash. I wanted to finish my education, I wanted to prove them wrong. To say this doesn’t define me as a person.
“You can either be at the bottom and stay down forever or you can try to get out of it and make something of yourself – that’s what kept me going.”
The documentary shows Yasmin at work introducing Dante to her millions of subscribers. But we also see them spending important time together walking in the Yorkshire countryside and even caving.
“It was fun to make,” says Yasmin, who still lives close to where she grew up in Leeds. She says although Dante has access to the internet she runs all his accounts and will do until he is 13.
She knows better than most the negatives as well as positives of social media and wants to educate her son on how to get the most out of it.
“I think it is really important to protect your children online,” says Yasmin. “You can add filters that block certain words and content and I think it’s important that parents understand how social media works so they can protect their children no matter what age they are.”
She says even when Dante turns 13 and can have his own social media accounts she will continue to monitor what he is doing and what sort of sites he is accessing.
“I will talk to him about it, of course, but I think it is important that parents know what sort of material their children are accessing.
“Dante isn’t allowed access to anything with swearing – we don’t cuss and I think when he started high school he was quite shocked.”
In the documentary Dante is clear in his views.
“I won’t use bad words, bad words are for bad people,” he says. Long may that last.
Yasmin is also strict on how much screen time Dante is allowed.
“I think it is important to limit the amount of time children spend on screens.
“We do do a lot of gaming together as a family, but we do other things as well.”
Yasmin got into gaming as she has brothers who were all gamers and it was her dad who bought her first console. She met husband Kyle through gaming as it was cheaper to communicate via Xbox Live than on a mobile phone.
She talks openly in the documentary about the challenges of being a teenage mum and her desire to protect Dante when he was younger from any stigma associated with that. She now feels he is old enough to handle it.
“I missed out on him growing up because I was working so much, I think it is really important for us to spend time together as a family.
“He really wants to be a YouTuber when he grows up, which I suppose is understandable when he sees what me and his dad do for a living,” says Yasmin. “So long as he is true to himself then I think he and anybody should go for it. Yes, there will be people who say negative things but you can block them. It is important not to take what they say to heart. It is strange Dante being in high school as that is where I had one of the hardest times of my life. I hope he takes a different path.”