I am guilty of this when to comes to using YouTube: I do not look for new talent. So many times and instances friends and co-workers have told me check out this band or watch this hilarious viral video, and I’m always the last to know because since its introduction to the public in 2006, I’ve always used YouTube as a way to connect to my childhood. I search for those obscure MTV shows and clips from either 1992 or 1999, and cartoons from the ’80s and early ’90s I used to watch while my mom would dress me for school (yes, the waterworks arrived on cue when I found the intro to David the Gnome). When I did view anything current–that wasn’t a music video–it was always in hopes of a kind uploader putting the latest episode of a TV show I was following and I just didn’t have access to the show’s network. I definitely spent an extra hour or two at my college’s library catching up on Showtime during sophomore year, and based on the comments, I wasn’t the only one.
Recently, YouTube has been promoting three of some of their biggest YouTube stars. Rosanna Pansino, Michelle Phan, and Bethany Mota have all been featured in their own separate bubbly commercials for their channels, and each have loads of loyal subscribers as their videos regularly surpass the 1 million views mark. In New York, they are ads of them all over the train station underground (in particular, 14th Street, Union Square), and while I had heard of Michelle Phan (who’s the makeup guru here), I didn’t know who Pansino and Mota were. The YouTube or Internet star is not exactly a new phenomeonen, but it is still the newest way to rise to fame in the last few years. While now there’s also Shameless Maya and BeatFaceHoney, the original frame of Internet infamy was during MySpace era, were Kesh, Chris Crocker, and Jeffree Star obtained many “friends”. What slightly differentiates the girls mentioned from their more flamboyant counterparts is their sensible appeal. Instead of choosing flashy individuals obviously yearning for viewership, while I hadn’t seen any of their videos, except for Phan, the entrepreneurs-in-training that YouTube chose did have something more genuine about their purpose. They actually liked doing what they were sharing with the world wide web, and were being brave in return by putting themselves out there (as we all are when it comes to social media).
And speaking of not having actually watched a Mota or Pansino video, it was other day while I was walking through 14th Street, underground, and there again were those ads! I said to myself, I’m going to watch and see what the fuss is all about because it’s pretty damn cool to not only gain a fanbase but to be recognized by a company or corporation as massive as YouTube.
First, I choose Rosanna Pansino, who is a super amiable baker that makes very cute, fun and goofy treats that harken back to popular culture, classic toys, and cartoons. I choose her latest video, “How to Make Bejeweled Gummies”. She’s instantly so excited to be there and talks as if you really are in her kitchen. At this point, I’m sure that’s she’s a hell of a lot more confident in speaking now than she was in her first videos and I without even having to check, know that the quality is also quite professional, like I’m watching the Food Network.
Her voice somewhat reminds me of a television host, like of The Price is Right but I don’t mean that in a bad way. I actually didn’t mind her tone and wasn’t annoyed but it all. Instructions-wise, her tutorials are very to the point. In under 5 minutes she presented all her materials and ingredients, made the confection, sped-fast the baking/cooking process and presented the final product. Now, I know the actual baking time was condensed, but everything was still succinct and I actually did feel like making bejeweled gummies afterwards and would watch Pansino again. I actually feel most inspired to bake or cook by Pinterest where the pictures on pictures of delicious macarons and baked, seasoned chicken or super-colorful salads are (almost) enough to inspire to clean my kitchen properly, I really liked Pansino’s approach. She’s been on YouTube since 2010 with 2 million subscribers and she still uses an “@gmail” as her email.
Next was Bethany Mota, the style and fashion obsessed. See, how YouTube shared the love? There’s an aficionado for makeup, fashion, and cooking. Smart move…
Mota is extremely popular on YouTube. When I was trying to find one of her latest videos, I saw some of then even had 2 million and 3 million + views alone. Wow! What is she? Tim Gunn in training! I’m surprised she hasn’t been on E!’s Fashion Police yet in representing the tween audience or E! News offering insight on that most coveted consumers in shopping. While she had some videos up for Mother’s Day, in sharing ideas and fun activities to do on that special day, I choose her “Spring/Summer Clothing Haul” from 2 weeks ago with its 1, 737, 904 views so far.
With no further delay, Mota is hyperactive. Hauls are a particular movement on YouTube with viewers sharing what they’ve purchased from everyday people stores like Forever 21. I personally find clothing hauls a little humdrum as far as watching them. Now, do not mistake me for hating shopping because I fully understand the high that comes with making new purchases. I get excited just going grocery shopping, imagine me in an actual retail or beauty supple store packed with items I don’t really need.
So while I already felt my reservations while watching the whole video because I don’t really like hauls (I prefer the makeup ones if anything), again, I could see how she gained fans by being so alive and animated. She’s definitely the opposite of Pansino who is much more calm and steady, while Mota is almost over-exuberant, I was left feeling amused and charmed by her energy.
She was 6 million subscribers and uses “@gmail” too. (YouTube stars. They’re just like us). And she has a quote from Samuel in the Bible in her bio. It reads: ” 1 Samuel 16:7-“The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”.
Last would be Michelle Phan, who I had heard of prior to her full endorsement by YouTube, Dr. Pepper commercial, and now full-fledged makeup line, Em, backed by L’Oreal. She has plenty of singular videos with over a million views, and her Lady Gaga Bad Romance Look gained 45+ million. Phan has been very documented through the media with appearances on The View and support from magazines like Glamour. Her loyal fans claim she doesn’t YouTube as often as she used to since her profile has grown, but she still occasionally uploads how-tos, but now with a slight story behind it and has even ventured into lifestyle and style topics. Phan has an inspirational background to her rise as she and her family did not have a lot of money and she used to use 99 cent or very discounted makeup in her earliest tutorials.
Today, the self-taught makeup artist shares her tips regularly on said media and recently she stopped by Teen Vogue, and with their Beauty and Health Director, on achieving a smoky-eye. I did also watch her interpretation of a “How to Look Like a Bad Girl”, which before the video streamed I knew would be Rihanna-inspired. Phan did state that the longer the cat-eye, the more vixen-ish you’ll look…
I will give further credit to Phan for being a great chameleon. While her face is recognizable the more you watch her videos, it is fun to see her from doing a Cara Delevigne look to an Eygptian Queen. As a Asian woman, she also offers advice on how to even out one’s eyelids without plastic surgery.
So what did I learn from these YouTube girls? I was again reminded the importance and beauty of being yourself, which is cheeeesssssy, I know, I’m full aware, but does this kind of advice ever get stale? In life, we sometimes are forced to be out of our comfort zone in order to stay cordial, to keep a job, keep the peace, but it doesn’t mean we have to wash out who we are completely just to get by. I’m still learning how to put myself out there without feeling like a fool, so I appreciate Pansino, Mota, Phan and anyone who makes found the courage to press upload for the world to see. Not only have these girls seen some sweet paychecks from their videos, they were likely also validated that in pursuing what makes them happy and doing so through their own voice earned them real fans.