NII editor's note:
In April of 2022, Isabelle Boemeke presented at an official TED conference where she shared her backstory and message that “the world has been sold a bad and outdated meme” about nuclear energy.
Boemeke’s ask: to help spread a new meme that nuclear energy is cool. Watch for her in Oliver Stone’s newest documentary ‘Nuclear’ on the big screen this fall, evidence that Hollywood is also taking note of Isodope.
Check out Boemeke’s Ted Talk and then read on for more on this nuclear influencer's work—from a blog post we did last year.
Highsnobiety is an online lifestyle news site covering fashion, cars, lifestyle and the arts. On a recent visit to the site, I found articles on the hottest sneaker trends, Balanciaga’s new Pride-themed underwear collection, and Drake’s latest investment ventures.
This is not the type of platform where you would typically expect to come across news on the nuclear industry. But nestled among the news of Drake and underwear was a piece titled “Isabelle Boemeke is the nuclear influencer the world needs”.
Such is the power of Isodope, Boemeke’s social media persona, to introduce new audiences to the benefits of nuclear power.
For today’s blog, I am taking a closer look at the origins of Isodope, and Boemeke’s strategy for leading a new generation of nuclear advocates.
Who is Isodope: her story
Isabelle Boemeke is a Brazilian model who has become renowned in the nuclear industry as the world’s first nuclear energy influencer. Her online persona Isodope is a futuristic deity sporting her own original line of haute couture digital fashion including gloved bodysuits, pleather, faux fur and face jewelry— the perfect amalgamation of Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.
Her TikTok videos and digital content are creative and eclectic and also clearly aimed for millennials and GenZ—an audience that most nuclear spokespeople are currently not communicating to.
She has leveraged her huge follower base on various social media platforms to teach tens of thousands of young people about climate change and the benefits of nuclear energy.
Why she chose to create nuclear content
Boemeke grew up in Brazil experiencing first-hand what it meant to live in energy poverty and is often vocal about how it helped shape her worldview.
Inspired by American astronomer Carl Sagan, NASA scientist Carolyn Porco, and even the works of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, she became passionate about scientific topics like climate change and nuclear energy. She began reaching out directly to scientists to ask them questions as she sought to learn more about these topics.
When it comes to climate change, Boemeke feels that nuclear energy has to be part of the solution.
“So where is the disconnect? Why is it that people hate this technology so much? What I figured out was that most people learn about nuclear through pop culture.”
This is why Boemeke decided to use pop culture and social media to tell people the truth about this clean and safe energy source.
Soon after, Boemeke started to dedicate her time, energy, and resources to promote awareness around climate change and nuclear energy. She hopes her efforts influence the change needed to transition to a greener economy and expanded access of clean energy for those who need it most.
How she communicates complex information
One of the ways Boemeke communicates complex information to her audience is through simple, powerful facts in a way that is easy to understand.
For instance, in her interview with Highsnobiety, she explains her concerns with fossil fuels by pointing to a WHO statistic, saying that “29% of all lung cancers, 24% of strokes, a quarter of all heart disease, and 43% of chronic lung infections” are due to preventable emissions.
In the same interview, she addresses the issue of nuclear waste, commenting that “when we talk about waste, we usually mean spent fuel."
"We’re talking about gummy bear sized uranium pellets that go into the reactor to create heat and make electricity."
"If I were to get my whole life’s energy from nuclear, at the end of my life I would leave behind one soda can full of uranium pellets. That’s the waste that everyone is concerned with, but compared to other forms of energy, it’s very small and easy to handle.”
These simple facts are well-known to the nuclear industry, but rarely communicated to younger generations in such digestible ways.
Boemeke posts her educational videos on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Often the videos are disguised as click bait like makeup tutorials, diet secrets and exercise videos.
Having drawn her audience in, she quickly pivots to talking about the importance of nuclear energy, using visuals and quick facts to illustrate complex concepts. The result is content that is both educational and entertaining.
What’s next for Isodope
Boemeke’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the industry and have achieved the attention of stakeholders in the nuclear and renewables sector as well as the environmental space.
Eventually, Boemeke’s goal is to expand her content to include a broader range of scientific topics. “I want to more broadly communicate science, since that’s what I’m passionate about. It’s what got me into nuclear energy to begin with.” She has already been busy posting interviews to this effect, including one with progressive activist Zion Lights who is known for her environmental work and science communication.
The nuclear influencer the world needs
Isodope’s emergence onto the scene comes at a time when critical decisions need to be made that will determine the outcome of our planet.
There has been a surge in public interest and support for environmental issues, and governments and private sector are responding with policies and investments that focus on tackling climate change.
As I’ve said in previous blogs, change needs to happen and it needs to happen fast. This means we will need all of our collective voices to speak out and speak up to amplify this message of urgency.
The nuclear industry could learn a few valuable lessons from Isodope. She has found a way not only to communicate to younger generations, but to inspire them.
So while Boemeke may be the world’s first nuclear influencer, I’m hopeful that she isn’t the last.
Written by Susie Ho, former Senior Advisor at the Nuclear Innovation Institute.