Bright, Shiny Things 2023: These Young Creatives are Shaping the Virtual Socialscape on kumu


Closing out The New Order Anniversary Issue, as we champion the Bright, Shiny Things of 2023, Rank Magazine, with the support of constant collaborator, kumu, zooms in on the rise of vibrant powerhouses-in-the-making, Melan Gumban, Bea Carlos, and Lee Anne Arcin, who harness their creative proclivities while establishing lasting connections with their audiences beyond the platforms they have built with the help of kumu.

A new wave of talent is making the rounds on the virtual space, captivating audiences with fresh perspectives and building new shared experiences, traversing the online and physical realms. These young creatives transcend the role of mere content producers, evolving into architects of virtual communities, crafting complex threads of connections through their creative minds and into their respective platforms.

By harnessing the power of live streaming, they actively engage their audience, broadcasting their talents and establishing a sense of community that goes beyond the digital realm. 

kumu‘s dynamic live streaming platform serves as the canvas for these budding artists, allowing them to paint their stories, share their talents, and cultivate meaningful connections. Through real-time engagement, these creatives break down the barriers between content creator and audience, crafting a unique and immersive experience that surpasses traditional content consumption.

Closing out The New Order Anniversary Issue, as we champion the Bright, Shiny Things of 2023, Rank Magazine, with the support of constant collaborator, kumu, zooms in on the rise of vibrant powerhouses-in-the-making, Melan Gumban, Bea Carlos, and Lee Anne Arcin, who harness their creative proclivities while establishing lasting connections with their audiences beyond the platforms they have built with the help of kumu.

MELAN GUMBAN, Social Media & Entertainment

23-year-old Melan Gumban emerged as a vibrant personality on kumu with over 122 thousand followers, captivating audiences with her sense of unfiltered authenticity. Before kumu, however, she led a remarkably quiet life, primarily focused on studies and navigating the challenges of teenage life.

“Before kumu was very quiet, I would say. Quiet in a way that I was just focusing on studies and, uhm, my life as a teenager. I started when I was 18. ” She adds, “I kind of liked vlogging before, but it was hard for me to edit. So with kumu, you don’t need to edit anything; all you have to do is start and press the streaming button, and then that’s it, [you start to connect].”

For aspiring creators, kumu offers avenues for monetization, allowing them to turn their creative endeavors into sustainable careers, which enticed Gumban to pursue her creative pursuits in the platform.

“I heard, through my manager, that you could actually earn, you know, six to seven digits using kumu, so that’s why I started it.” Whether through virtual gifts, brand collaborations, or other income streams, Gumban, swears by means that the platform fosters to empower creators to monetize their content and provide a viable platform to pursue passions.

Gumban’s journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, filled with highs, lows, and unexpected turns. Her streams became a canvas for her artistic expressions, captivating a growing audience with her charm and personality. This openness and authenticity resonated well with viewers, fostering a strong connection that transcends the virtual realm.

While the allure of kumu lies in its simplicity, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to preparing for a “Melan Gumban” stream, she notes. The preparation extends beyond the technical setup, emphasizing the importance of creating an inviting and visually appealing atmosphere for her audience.

Tulle skirt, CHRISSEAN. Corset (word underneath), Job Dacon. Leather jacket, Zara. Bomber jacket, Bershka (Stylist’s own).

“After preparing, I actually just think of something I would do for the day,” Gumban continues, offering a glimpse into her creative process. “Usually, I just sing, but at times I have different campaigns, I would usually take a shot for my viewers. Take a shot of tequila, so different things.” 

Gumban’s streams are not confined to a specific niche but rather reflect the spontaneity of her personality. From music sessions to interactive campaigns, she keeps her audience on their toes, never knowing what delightful surprises might unfold during the broadcast. 

In her exploration of different modes of expression, she has found a welcoming home on the platform that allowed her to showcase her singing, dancing, and cooking talents–unfiltered and authentic. Unlike formal competitions, kumu’s live streaming format provided Gumban with the freedom to express herself without constraints. Singing, dancing, and cooking became her channels for self-expression, creating a dynamic and interactive experience for viewers. 

The platform’s global reach further enriched her creative journey, as audiences from around the world connected with her diverse talents. Gumban’s story is a testament, as she divulges, on the role of the platform in democratizing creativity, offering individuals like her a virtual stage to paint their unique artistic tapestries.

LEE ANNE ARCIN, Social Media, Music, and Medical Sciences

We are only restrained by the boundaries we created for ourselves in life. Leaping beyond those walls allows us to tap into the surge of possibilities our minds can’t even fathom for ourselves. From then on, it’s only a matter of time before we realize what we have achieved and the connections we have weaved.

After being in several commercials as a child, streamer, entertainer, and dentistry student, Lee Anne Arcin never thought she would dip her toes in the public eye due to her introverted nature growing up. She initially got creeped out by the thought of having other people watch her stream in Kumu. In hindsight, her time on the social media platform taught her that there’s nothing wrong with sharing bits of your life with other people.

With over three thousand followers, Arcin is well-known for her singing and her early morning streams she called “Tara, kape.” She likens kumu to a book in the sense that it allowed her to see different places without having to go outside her house.

Dress (worn underneath), CHRISSEANN. Leather jacket, Zara (stylist’s own).

In one way or another, kumu has since become a catalyst for Arcin to tap into her hidden talents and step outside the limits of her capabilities. She recalls how her past self would never be willing to try new things and be an open book. Fast forward to now, the streamer thanks the platform for allowing her to experience opportunities that she never expected in her wildest dreams to come true like being on a billboard in Times Square, New York.

She shares that the inspiration to keep on streaming stems from the people who were inspired by her and the people who saw her as somebody they could confide in. She emphasizes the role kumu has played in her life as an outlet not just for her but also for her viewers. 

“What inspired me at first, it was more of an outlet for me, but habang tumatagal may mga na-meet akong tao na nakita ako as inspiration, or nakakita sila sa akin ng friend na makakausap nila who’s going through the same thing. So parang ayun yung nag-inspire sa akin na naging outlet nila ako, naging outlet ko rin sila,” Arcin highlights.

But how does an outlet avoid short circuits in the era of burnout? Arcin said one of her key preparations before streaming is to check how she feels on the inside. She shares that she’s never hesitant to re-schedule a stream whenever she feels a little under the weather instead of putting on a happy facade.

To her, being you and making the process enjoyable for yourself is most important, especially because you can’t give what you don’t have. For a student, she champions the importance of loving what you’re doing to keep pushing forward. Of course, this comes with knowing your limits and knowing your priorities. At the end of the day, you will never be too busy for something that you love.

You will never understand magic if you don’t try it for yourselves. Arcin’s ability to open up just enough and keep in touch with her core is a skill every potential creator must have, she notes. It is a lesson in knowing your identity and turning your wildest dreams into reality.

BEA CARLOS, Social Media, Music, and Social Sciences

To most of us, spontaneity can be daunting. On the other hand, it can open opportunities to share our pursuits and develop a new sense of purpose in life.

In 2021, during the height of the pandemic, 23-year-old singer, and law student, Bea Carlos, was interning and doing the usual business until, by happenstance, her friend convinced her to start streaming and earn money through kumu. Missing the adrenaline of performing, she agreed to do it for fun.

Carlos now stands with over 12 thousand followers on kumu, a debut single, and a number of appearances on several TV shows and podcasts. What started as a fun side hustle changed Carlos’ life completely by giving her not just an avenue to earn and express her creativity, but also a newfound passion for entertaining and getting to know people. 

“I’m actually surprised I’m still here. Seriously, cause it wasn’t the original plan, but like I said since I really found a genuine love for just being able to make other people happy and being able to see that simply sharing my presence puts a positive impact into other people’s days, other people’s lives, that changed my life personally,” she says.

Leather jacket, Nina Amoncio.

Not even Carlos, herself, expected to make such deep ties and connections with the people that she was able to meet online. But in realizing this, now, to her, knowing that there are OFWs who join her stream to ease their homesickness or the simple fact that she reminds them of their children back home made her realize how serious and important her role is in the platform she was given.

Moreover, in an industry riddled with beautiful, talented, and capable individuals, Carlos says consistency is what truly matters. She expresses how she started to notice things turning around in the trajectory of her career once she started putting in more work and being more religiously consistent with her schedule.

But it’s not always bright and shiny. Like any other creator, Carlos admits struggling to fight that plateau of realizing that at the end of the day, it is a job, and she needs to churn new things out constantly. That also meant making the most of what she was given, even on days when she had low viewers and no gifts. 

“Even if there are times na views are going down or projects are disappearing, as long as you don’t stop, it really gets you somewhere,” she shares.

Content creation and streaming are not as simple as they sound. In times when the mind tends to be stagnant and everything feels like a chore, Carlos says she likes to try and find new ways to stay grateful and remind herself of her whys to keep her going.

Carlos highlights that she is one solid proof that passion and drive for performing is deeply embedded in one’s DNA. Backed by her eloquence and many creative pursuits, the trajectory of her career proves she’s a force to be reckoned with. She is a reminder that whatever your hopes and dreams are, art will always find a way to spontaneously integrate its ways into your fate.

Gumban, Carlos, and Arcin are just some of the bright, shiny things that go beyond the superficial to deeply personal through kumu. Their stories further the notion that no high-end equipment or flashy visuals compares to establishing connections and building communities. It is concrete proof that when there is genuine skill and passion, anyone can shine brighter than the brightest of things.

Curated by Rank Magazine
Made with the support of kumu
Creative, fashion, and beauty direction by Leo Balante
Photography by Virgilio Sacol, Jr.
Hair and makeup by Gelo Dumlao
Videography by Edrey Paul Biteng
Junior Editorial manager: Li Marie Meso
Editorial Associate: Renzo Cabitlada
Shot on location at The Penthouse Studio
With fashion by: Nina Amoncio and Mae Fuentebella