Hi, my name’s Ella. I’m 21 and I’m obsessed with YouTubers.
My little sister is 14 and her room is full of YouTuber merch: Zoella Fizz Bars, Tanya Burr’s eyeshadow palettes and a collection of books from Internet stars such as Alfie Deyes, Miranda Sings and Saffron Barker.
This isn’t unusual, she is stereotypically their demographic; a young, teenage girl who could contour before she knew what Pythagoras’ theorem was (I’m still not convinced she knows what that is, but DAMN her highlight is poppin’). Most of her friends’ bedrooms contain the same YouTube memorabilia and some have even queued for hours to get a selfie with their idols.
So, you can imagine her surprise when she discovered that I religiously watch some of her faves, and have done for over 5 years. This was more than enough to get me in her good books and I like to think that she sees me as her ‘cool big sis’ even though the phrase ‘cool big sis’ isn’t actually cool at all…
BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
It all started when I stumbled across one of Zoella’s ‘Primark Hauls’ whilst I was at college in 2012. Of course, this wasn’t the best-selling author/sassy business woman/all round Internet sensation, Zoe Sugg, that we know today. She was just a regular girl talking to a camera in her bedroom.
I found myself staring at my ancient laptop’s screen for hours as I went through her previous videos: monthly favourites, hauls and the classic ‘what’s in my bag’ tag. I suddenly fell in love with the chatty and #relatable vibe that I got from watching her videos, it was like hanging out with a friend. It wasn’t long before I discovered all of the OG British YouTubers: Alfie Deyes (pre-Zalfie!!), Jim Chapman, Joe Sugg, Tanya Burr, etc. and before I knew it I had a sub box full of all my faves who I would watch on a daily basis.
My obsession of watching other people just living their lives wasn’t something that I bragged about, I kept it pretty quiet. Five years ago no one even knew who Zoella was and it was difficult to explain to my friends that I went home and watched videos that people had filmed in their bedrooms – it just sounds a little dodgy, doesn’t it?
My obsession stayed with me until uni where I would spend hours in my uni halls’ bedroom watching YouTube. None of my flatmates knew as I assumed they just wouldn’t “get it” but I was studying Magazine Journalism and I was dying to write all about my Internet faves. By this point I was watching everyone, from beauty YouTubers such as HelloOctober and Lily Melrose to gamers such as Syndicate and PewDiePie.
THE START OF SOMETHING
Then my friend Hollie came along. I was already a contributor for an online magazine called Beamly at the time and I was writing about everything from Game of Thrones to New Girl. I spotted Hollie writing and publishing YouTube content on the same site and decided to hop on the bandwagon. I actually have a lot to thank Hollie for, she’s a babe.
Then, one day Hollie messaged me to tell me about an exciting new website she was involved with that would be focussing on everything YouTube, called We The Unicorns. Of course I was thrilled and wanted to know absolutely e v e r y t h i n g about it. A few months passed, the website had launched and I had arranged to head down to London for 6 weeks to complete my placement there, I was beyond excited.
Then Hollie had got in contact again. She had been invited to cover the Glamour Beauty Festival but couldn’t make it and asked if I’d like to go in her place – I lost my shit. It was one of the best weekends of my life; I’d covered a huge event on my own and met so many of my favourite YouTubers – I literally couldn’t deal.
It felt like my childish obsession was finally paying off. I completed my placement, which was incredible, and I was actually invited back for a week of paid work. I even attended Summer in the City as press and managed to meet my idol, Lily Melrose (I definitely didn’t play it cool), and I felt like such a #girlboss.
FROM NOW ON
I look back on my time writing for We The Unicorns like a long lost memory – I haven’t written about YouTube in a long time and I miss it. It wasn’t until I watched a vlog from Gabbie Lindley (aka Velvetgh0st) recently, where I spotted one of my articles in her scrapbook (!!!), that I realised how much what I wrote meant to me, and to others.
— ella 🌚 (@ellaawells) November 13, 2017
YouTube is huge now and it’s so lovely to see people that I have watched for years doing so well, writing books, launching product ranges and working with HUGE brands. They’re becoming celebrities in their own right, and they will just keep getting bigger!
From now on I’m going to up my YouTube-journalism-game, whether that’s writing about the platform as a whole, or just individuals. It’s what I love – so I’m going to keep doing it.
Let me know if you love YouTubers just as much as I do in the comments!