Khotan Shams is the first Iranian woman to earn a silver play button on YouTube. She has overcome cultural and technological obstacles to grow her viewer base, the “Khoti Fam,” from 0 to over 110,000 subscribers in less than three years.

Finding Her Passion

Khotan Shams was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, in 1994. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Islamic Azad University of Shahre Qods in 2015. But, she soon realized that accounting was not her passion.

She was attracted to the visual arts. She worked hard to become a self-taught expert in Adobe software. She focused on learning graphics and video editing software, including Photoshop, After Effects, and Premier. She achieved her goal and worked at an animation studio in Iran for a few years before moving to Turkey.

When she moved to Turkey, her creative career faced a setback. She briefly worked as a fashion model. But, it was not fulfilling, and she left the job quickly. However, she still felt the drive to create. She knew that she could use her skills and ingenuity to succeed on the YouTube platform.

Beginning Her YouTube Career

Determined to succeed, she began creating YouTube content in 2018 with only an iPhone and an old laptop. She had to rent a PlayStation and monitor to post video game content. Creating engaging videos for an Iranian audience was even more challenging due to heavy content restrictions. As an Iranian woman, she had to be especially careful. Even her clothing choices could cause her to be banned.

She was one of the first Iranian women on YouTube. She was the only Iranian woman to begin uploading content daily. She created a name for herself by uploading vlogs, video games, fails, challenges, pranks, and trying new content types that were never-before-seen in Iran. In addition, she was the first to introduce life-hack videos and reaction videos to the Iranian YouTube community. At first, the viewers thought this type of content was ridiculous, but they grew to love it – and her.

The Khoti Fam

She calls her fans the “Khoti Fam” because they quickly became like family to her. She was lonely after moving to Turkey and made deep, lasting connections with her followers. She has always treated them like family. The Khoti Fam interacts with her through YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. She creates videos and reels that reflect her fans’ interests. She engages with her followers openly and welcomes their input. Cultivating an open relationship with her fans has been key to her success on the YouTube platform.

She has inspired a new generation of Iranian YouTubers who are starting in similar circumstances. They are beginning without equipment as she did, but they benefit from a role model. They want to be like her. She inspires and supports new YouTubers, answers their questions, and mentors them. The Iranian YouTuber community is growing because of Khotan’s success and support.

Realizing Success

She has uploaded more than 650 videos on her channel with over 80 million views. Each month she has more than 6 million views overall. She has thousands of views on each new video she posts. She earned the coveted Silver Play Button Creator Award on YouTube when she surpassed 100,000 subscribers. She is launching a second channel called “Khotan Plus,” which will host her “shorts,” or short videos and reels.

She continues to expand her content creatively but always keeps the Khoti Fam’s interests at the heart of her work. She is ambitious and determined but also grateful and humbled by the opportunity her fans have given her. She has proven that determination and dedication are more powerful than our circumstances.

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