They say a family that eats together stays together, and so does the family that travels and does everything together – something that is visible with the Michaels Family, who have been promoting local tourism and creating a variety of content for television and their YouTube channel.
You might have seen them on One Africa TV – but taking things from behind the scene, there is a fairytale of a story.
Meet Grace Michaels, who is originally from the Philippines but moved to Namibia when she was little.
BACK IN THE HEYDAYS
Michaels is married to Mario. “I met my husband, Mario, during university times. But how we met was because he was my partner at a Fashion Show, which aired on the TV Show, called ‘Tutaleni’ at that time. He is a year older than I am.”
She added: “While I was working and studying, I would have my days off; I would visit Mario at the university for the day. He would take me to his classes – and I would listen to the lectures with him and learn Psychology (his major).”
For some reason, she enjoyed learning Psychology with him. “We even ‘butt heads’ while on a debating session during class, where I counter-acted and question his viewpoints. He was probably thinking at that time, this lady is very strong-headed. People do tell me I was very stubborn and stick to my mind’s decision until you prove me wrong, or we will just agree to disagree.”
The best thing is that their culture is the similarity; they love the same things and enjoy the same activities together: travelling and going places, which is one of the trigger points they travel and go places.
The pair got married – and guess where their first meeting place was. “Our reception was the same place we did the Fashion Show. (Windhoek Showgrounds). Two years after, our son, Tristan, was born – and three years after that, our daughter, Annie, followed.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Do you remember the very first driver’s license in Namibia was that big, green, foldable, A5 license – and not this credit card type?
“I was a part of the team that implemented that card. That is how very old I am. I was a part of the key core team that implemented the very first driver’s license card and the electronic-based pension payment system in Namibia.”
Michaels gained a lot of experience and got promoted – and from being an IT systems administrator at that time, she became the contracts and project quality manager for the driver’s license system.
“I am proud to be a part of the core team of experts, working with international suppliers, training corporates, professionals and government officials.”
ACADEMICS AND WORK EXPERIENCE
“I finished high school at DOSW (now Delta) and studied part-time at then Polytechnic of Namibia (major: business computing) while working as an IT systems administrator.”
With 12 years’ experience in the software development and implementation industry, Michaels rendered her services at various IT companies that specialised in creating customised software solutions for the government.
“I moved to the marketing world because the IT industry was a bit too demanding that time – and becoming a mother and having a family was a little bit difficult to do both.”
Mario co-owned one of the top advertising agencies in Namibia, where Michaels became their head of operations and marketing.
“Having an extensive IT background and merging that with marketing and advertising, I started learning the world of social media, content creation, editing, producing and everything else in between.”
WHAT’S IN THE CUP?
“Well, anything non-alcoholic is fine – tea as well. I used to like coffee but it gave me sleepless nights and it has a slightly negative effect on me, so I will just drink coffee occasionally. Otherwise, nothing special. Oh, I like a Pina Colada without alcohol, of course.”
THE VLOGGING FAMILY
Having started vlogging in 2017, the Michaels started posting videos of their travels – and on the first vlog on YouTube, they got so much positive feedback – and people who follow them enjoy what they do.
“There were people who tell us that they have never explored Namibia and parts of the world, and it is so nice for people to tell us that we show them places they would want to go but never privileged enough to travel – and it is such a blissful moment when they thank us for sharing our experiences with them.”
“Another milestone was when we agreed to air our vlogs to one of our local Television Network (One Africa TV) in Namibia to share our story and post our vlogs on Television so that we can showcase the places within Namibia and around the world to show to the nation the world as a normal family.”
“It is such a great feeling when people see us on the streets and scream: ‘Hello Planet Michaels’ – or talk to us and say they like the show. Some have never been to Windhoek or seen the other parts of Namibia before we became their eyes and ears to the outside world.”
“Most of them stare at us like they know us and have a big smile on their faces. The kids also get a lot of questions about the channel from their schoolmates. We do encourage it because we want everyone to know we are approachable and we are a normal family that can represent and relate to them – and since then, we never looked back.”
Michaels said they are a normal family that loves to travel and experience new adventures.
“Our children love art and craft – anything artistic in between. We have taught them to be outspoken and always stand by for what they know is right.”
She added: “Most of the visitors and foreigners that come to Namibia always tell us they never thought Namibia is so safe and that it is such a beautiful country to explore – and even safe for children of all ages as well. That was the time we thought, hey, why not show Namibia to the world – and through our eyes, as a multi-cultural family, we can inform and educate everyone about our country and Africa as a whole; that it is safe to travel with children in Namibia.”
Social Media is becoming one of the biggest avenues for marketing all over the world, and Namibia needs to set the trend.