If you’re an American, you may not have heard of Jessica Beinecke, but if you’re a Chinese teen, she’s pretty much a household name. Jessica is the host and brain behind OMG! Meiyu, a wildly popular video series that teaches Chinese students the most important words in American English—the slang.
The 26-year-old started studying Mandarin when she was 19 years old, after hearing so many people say, "Learn Chinese, you'll get a job."
"But you actually need to speak Chinese AND have some other skill," she eventually found out.
After graduating from college, she got a job as a translator with Voice of America, and was quickly asked if she wanted to try television. Eager to do something that could connect with Chinese youth, she developed OMG! Meiyu, which focuses on Western nuances and topics that might not be taught in the classroom – everything from idioms like “sick as a dog” to popular acronyms like “BFF.”
“That’s not in textbooks,” Jessica says. “It’s learning to talk about things that young people find funny or what young people care about.”
All of the content of the show comes directly from fan suggestions. “I ask our Chinese followers on Chinese social media what they want to study,” she says. “They give me hundreds and hundreds of ideas every time.”
What’s her most popular episode? A video called “yucky gunk,” describing all of the gunk that comes out of your face… from snot to earwax. “Of course the episode that went viral was the one about my boogers,” she laughs.
To watch Jessica teach Ali some Mandarin, check out this episode of Daily Shot.