Zachery Dereniowski, aka mdmotivator on SM platforms, says he did not set out to touch millions of hearts.
Who Is MDMotivator?
Zachery Dereniowski did not quite plan on reaching a staggering 89.1 million likes, but it made him change his plans for good!
Since he began putting positive messages in August 2020, his “mdmotivator” SM accounts have attracted millions of followers, which are increasing every day. This made him give up medical school and pursuing Psych as major. Now he is a full-time social media influencer.
Dereniowski’s most popular videos are in the form of social interactions. He stands with a sign bearing one message or another, and then he proceeds to record his interactions with strangers with the help of his videographer friend, Patrick Glaz, at a distance.
1. You are not alone!
“I’m trying to grasp the human connection through storytelling, being vulnerable, and showing social proof that people are not alone,” Dereniowski, 28.
“A 30-second video can take four hours to shoot, and probably two hours to edit…It would be easier to script the videos, but people would feel it. You feel what’s real when you watch. The realness is what the videos are about.”
His videos reading the signs “Who do you wish you were with right now?” and “If you feel heartbroken or empty, hug me.” have a whopping 8.9 million and 26.2 million views, respectively.
2. Pushing People Away Is a Sign Of Needing Help!
The runaway success of “mdmotivator” is a surprise because Dereniowski never set out to reach an audience this big. His original motivation was to share his struggles relates to mental health while he was studying medicine in Sydney, Australia. “I started this account not to have a platform, but because I was depressed,” says Dereniowski, who comes with no professional background in this field.
“I went through a breakup, and I had knee surgery. COVID left me feeling trapped; medical school was hard. I just felt alone. I created one video hoping it would connect with someone else, and it just snowballed to where we are right now… I thought I would get 50 to 100 views and maybe one message. That’s all I was aiming for.”
In a video, he set out to give this small but important message to his viewers:
Dereniowski tries different techniques to gain the attention of people moving around him. Sometimes he stands with a sign. Other times he poses as a panhandler asking for a dollar. But all of his videos are intended to strike a chord and promote mental health awareness.
Dereniowski narrates that one of the individuals he interacted with in his panhandler video resonated so well with his viewers that a GoFundMe campaign was started for the man, resulting in raising more than $2,000 in donations. “That’s the beauty of it. You never know how it might turn out,” Dereniowski expressed. “I just enjoy that: The humanistic aspect, the unknown.”
3. Recognize Depression!
Plain and straightforward, Dereniowski put out this small video to push his viewers to recognize when someone needs help.
4. You Are Lovable, No Matter What!
These series did create quite a hype, but Dereniowski’s explained his intent behind the sign that read: “Your vaccine status won’t change: How much I love you.”
While he is fully vaccinated, his intention wasn’t to be controversial, “The sign was not about vaccination. It was about love and kindness,” he said. “I try to stay away from that kind of question.”
5. Negativity Doesnt Need Your Attention!
Besides some mild skepticism, Dereniowski has yet to encounter abuse or negativity in his experiments. The most memorable reaction he’s gotten so far was from a young woman who threw Skittles at him as she stood blindfolded. “I never match energy with negativity,” he says. “I come across it, yeah — and that’s part of everything not being scripted.”
“mdmotivator” has become a 24/7 labor of passion for Dereniowski. He says this project is all he focuses on and keeps a notepad filled with any idea that he gets for the videos.
“Unfortunately, there’s just not enough opportunity here in Windsor,” he said. “The right things happen at the right time … My goal is to get big brands behind what I’m doing.”
Career opportunities aside, the ultimate message of “mdmotivator” is: “There are good people in the world. There are so many willing to give, anonymously, to strangers they’ll never know. It still blows my mind.”