Who’s Next – Kelly Uchima!


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Instagram: @_kellyu 134K followers
YouTube: Kelly U 18.8K followers


Kelly in Her Own Words:

“I use my platform to share what I feel deep down. Most of us who have these platforms likely started them not just because we like to entertain, but also because we had no one. We had no friends, we had no community. We wanted to create our own.”

Kelly’s Rise:

Kelly gained an early following with fitness content shared via her first handle, @KellyUfit. But when she recognized the unhealthy habits she was mirroring and demonstrating, she changed her approach—and her handle. Her new page, @KellyU, promotes self-love.

Get to Know the Creator:

Kelly Uchima’s beaming personality leaps off her Instagram page—she’s vulnerable yet confident, and unapologetically herself. But her road hasn’t been an easy one: When she launched her fitness page on Instagram, the platform was a nesting ground for unhealthy habits, like aspiring to unrealistic beauty standards. 

As Kelly gained a following, the pressure to deliver content, compete with other creators, and tolerate harsh comments began exacerbating an eating disorder she didn’t even know she had. Kelly spiraled into what she calls a toxic mindset, and realized something had to change.

Since I was in this fitness community, I’d built a pretty large following and I realized that a lot of us were actually really unhappy and struggling, but all felt like we had to pretend,” Kelly recalls. “I remember just being so broken, struggling with juggling three different jobs, going to school, and working out. So I started therapy.”

That was a turning point for Kelly. She made the decision to pivot her content, choosing instead to share her deepest struggles with personal challenges like her mental health and sobriety. She now urges her followers to do the same if they are comfortable. “My style is talking to them in a way where they feel invited to reflect on their feelings,” she says. “I don’t need them to pay attention to me. I want them to pay attention to themselves.

Today, Kelly is thriving while continuing to work on herself. An endeavor she’s particularly excited about is her podcast, Therapy Thursday with Kelly U, where she shares lessons from her own therapy sessions. True to form, Kelly doesn’t sugarcoat anything: it’s an honest account of her ongoing struggles and growth. 

Going into the new year, Kelly is excited to try her hand at TikTok and Instagram Reels, two exponentially growing social media tools where she is only now starting to experiment. “I’m noticing people love to see other people talking on those platforms, and I feel a little bit more timid. But I’m excited to jump in and bring my voice there, too.

Fast facts:

Kelly is a mental health advocate, motivational speaker, therapy lover, skin care and hair care aficionado, and takes gorgeous photos of stunning sunsets.

Current BEN collaborations:


Learn more about BEN’s work with Kelly and other creators

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