Erica Ehm Exposed!


Inspired by the Magnum Heir

A Breath of Fresh Air

by: Erica Ehm

Last night I met a young woman who inspired me. I also had dinner with the new Magnum heir. As luck would have it, they were one and the same. Twenty-one year old Shawna Howson, a self-professed content creator for the web was impressively strategic about winning this online contest.

Last spring, to introduce the extremely rich and decadent Magnum Ice Cream bars to Canada, the confectionary company invited anyone so inclined to make a compelling video about why they should be the new Magnum heir for a chance to win the $250,000 grand prize.

There were close to 400 entries. The final ten were whittled down by the judges lead by uber wealthy Ivanka Trump. Finally, it was up to the fans to vote for their fave from the ten finalists.

While slurping her spaghetti, Shawna told me she was in it to win it. This wasn't just a random sweepstakes contest for her. She was very calculating about the whole process. First, she built up her YouTube Nanalew channel and created a huge network amongst "YouTubers." Facebook was next, developing a big fan base on that social network, making sure to engage with "her fans" to create a real personal relationship. Only then did she submit her video.

Once her video was posted, her fans supported her and she blew the competition away.

After spending her first day as Magnum Heir shopping putting a serious dent in Holt Renfrew, gift card, she and I ate an elegant dinner at the trendy Thompson Hotel. She was sparkling in her Dolce and Gabbana $1,400 sequined cocktail dress, but had already given up on her uncomfortable Jimmy Choo's.

Here's why Shawna inspired me. Instead of being impressed by all the fancy trappings being thrown her way, she couldn't stop talking about new media and how it allows her to do what she wants, when she wants. She's self-employed, creating content for YouTube and living off the royalties. She told me proudly that she writes, acts, edits, produces and manages herself. She has also self-published a book of poetry with another one in the works. The money she's won will let her do all the big things she's set her mind on, like buying new equipment. "The sky's the limit in new media," she tells me.

And then she goes on to talk about how important it is to her to be true to herself. She and her fellow gal pal "YouTubers" expect to be judged on their expertise, humour and passion - not on the way they look. They represent a new wave of kids who are tired of emulating clichéd, fabricated stars. "Make something rather than look like something" is her mantra. She's a breath of fresh air.

Finally, I ask her if she's made any plans to share her new wealth. Without hesitation, she tells me how she has set aside ten percent of her cash winnings to help other young content creators like herself. She looks forward to being able to help her peers by buying them equipment and funding some of their projects.

Are you inspired yet? Hopefully Shawna is a reflection of a generation who are turning off the tv, creating their own relevant content, celebrating the power of girls and being proud of making a difference with their unique voices.

So the next time you take a bite of a decadent Magnum Ice Cream bar, think of Shawna Howson, a young woman on a path to get rich in more ways than one.


This blog is proudly sponsored Magnum Ice Cream Bars