KARACHI: It is highly likely that you may have come across a Dubsmash video of a young woman performing dialogues not just in Urdu/Hindi or English but Pushto as well. If you haven’t, you are definitely living under a rock.
Meet Muni Sanchez, who has become quite the internet sensation these past few weeks. A few days ago, The Express Tribune ran a Dubsmash competition, which was fairly well-received with excited participants from across the world sending hundreds of entries. We shortlisted nine participants and asked our readers to vote for their favourite. Muni Sanchez won the competition by getting 3,112 votes out of a total of nearly 10,000 votes.
Impressive! Don’t you think?
But what’s even more impressive is the story behind Muni’s newfound claim to fame. “I am originally a beauty and fashion ‘YouTuber’,” she told The Express Tribune. “I first started a YouTube channel in 2008 and coming from a strict Pathan background, I was asked to remove it by my father. Someone had asked him to pressure me into deleting all my videos. And listening to people say a lot of bad things about me, it just didn’t go so well with him.”
Muni is Pakistani American. Her family moved to the US when she was five and although she has lived in America ever since, she acknowledges that her parents were not supportive like many conservative parents living in Pakistan.
“I started another YouTube channel in early 2010 but after I reached 3,000 subscribers, I was again asked by my family to remove it. So I deleted my channel without fighting for my happiness or rights,” she said.
However, she isn’t one to give up so easily. Muni started a YouTube channel the third time in mid-2010. “My sister found out about it after I reached 7,000 viewers and she informed my mother. But this time, I refused to listen to my mother. She told me that she would talk to my father and after a lot of convincing, he eventually allowed me to keep my YouTube channel. I made sure to dress appropriately and speak in a manner that would not make the family look bad.”
A graduate of Drexel University, Muni has a degree in criminal justice. “Many say I’m a bit weird or crazy, I accept that title. I enjoy what I am.”
It has now been close to five years since Muni’s presence on YouTube and the success has finally started pouring in. Last August, her subscribers jumped up. “I now have over 150,000 subscribers on the channel and my most viewed video is has 2.9 Million views. That’s a huge achievement for me.”
As far as her Dubsmash videos are concerned, she reveals she had actually made the first one to cheer up a friend. “My best friend Fareeda was upset and I decided to cheer her up with silly Dubsmash videos. And I kind of became addicted after a few and woke up the next morning wanting to film more. And then, I went completely crazy. I decided to put all the dubs together to make a compilation and posted it to Facebook. I never expected any of the attention I got from it. I really thought I was going to get maximum two or three thousand views. But the views kept going up with people and Facebook pages posting and sharing it.”
Muni says that her video got a boost when it was picked up by another internet sensation ‘Khan Saab’. Like Muni, Khan Saab too makes funny Dubsmash videos and was one of the runner-ups of The Express Tribune’s Dubsmash Challenge. “I want to thank all my fans for being so supportive of mine and Muni’s videos. Thank you for taking time out of your day to watch our videos. We really enjoy making these videos,” he said in a special message delivered to us through Muni.
And Muni too has a special message for her fans. “I want to thank The Express Tribune team for holding the contest and recognising my talent. If it weren’t for them I would have never gotten the title of Dubsmash Queen. I want to thank the viewers and fans of my videos whether they are lovers of it or haters of it. They are the ones who put me on the list of contestants. Sharing my videos, liking, reposting, it all helped so much. So thank you everyone who has been a part of this success.”
“It may not be a lot to some… but I feel like I’ve already achieved everything with the love I’ve gotten. The viewers, and the title from The Express Tribune. There is nothing more I can ask for. So thank you viewers and thank you Tribune for this incredible opportunity.”