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THE RISE OF DEVIN HALBAL AKA EAST ASIA’S FAVORITE KUDASAI PRINCESS

By, Harram Zahid

11th May, 2024




If you’re lucky, then while scrolling across social media you may have come across the iconic videos of @devinhalbal or as most know her, “Kudasai girl”. Who was once a New Yorker motivation mama is now a turned Japanese and Korean internet sensation. What sets her apart? It's not just the iconic presence of her selfie stick or the repetitive phrases native to the countries she traverses. It's her astute marketing strategy that has propelled her into the limelight. In many of her videos, you can even see fans flocking to her on the streets, a phenomenon she likes to call the “Kudasai Kraze.”


Devin has been a content creator as well as a travel influencer for quite some time, she refers to her fans as her “dolls” and in her early days of fame was known for her “doll-check-ins” where she would check in with her fans. After her visit to Japan things escalated fast when she started posting videos with various words such as Shibuya or chicken followed by “Kudasai” which means give me in Japanese. While the star will always be the internet’s favorite “Kudasai girl”, now that she is in South Korea she has begun implementing the use of the word “Juseyo” which means “please” in Korean.


To no one's surprise, her videos on average amass millions of views on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok where she is almost at the one million followers mark. Perhaps what endears Devin Halbal most to her audience is her ability to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers with the simplest of gestures, her walk, her speech and even her expressions simply catch the audience’s eye.


Her friendly nature and respect towards everyone’s culture sets her apart from other creators on the app and that is evident through her comment section where fans only have good things to say about the star. Common themes include her being referred to as a “butterfly”, “angel sister” or “fairy”.


Her catchy phrases and unique style even caught the eyes of the famous K-pop idols Keeho, Intak, and Jiung from P1Harmony, who were seen personifying Devin's iconic selfie stick walk and style of talking. Like these idols during their fan meetings, Devin also receives gifts from her fans when they see her in public.


Devin has emphasized in her past interview with W Magazine that she hopes her internet presence can inspire transgender women who want to solo travel. In an article with ASSEMBLY, she shared how she wishes to be an advocate for trans rights and highlighted how her education at the Berkley Carroll School plays a vital role in enlightening her regarding the systematic oppression of trans people. Her commitment to authenticity and advocacy not only strengthens her brand but also fosters a deeper connection with her audience.


Devin Halbal's success can be attributed to her strong marketing strategy, which incorporates elements of cultural immersion, engagement, and advocacy. Her ability to seamlessly integrate into different cultures while maintaining a relatable and engaging presence online has helped her amass a dedicated following across various social media platforms. Currently, she is busy filming her usual videos in Seoul and enjoying Korean barbecue with locals; her each step leaves her audience eagerly anticipating what the future holds for their beloved "butterfly princess".

 

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