Let’s take Lily Singh for example.
Lily Singh first emerged onto YouTube in 2013, with an online personality she called ‘Superwoman.” Since then, she has accrued over 15 million YouTube subscribers, and is now worth more than $10 million.
She became known for her entertaining comedy videos, and her first video to go viral was the ‘Official Guide to Brown Girls’, a series of satirical comedy skits about Indian culture. She then started earning small checks from ad revenue on YouTube videos, and hit 1 million subscribers in 2013. She subsequently skyrocketed into YouTube stardom, inking a book deal, starring in a movie, and has now set up her own production company – Unicorn Island Productions. She has also become the only female late-night host on NBC.
But most importantly, what inspired Lily to embark on a YouTube career was seeing other creators (like for example, Jenna Marbles), gain a following by simply just being themselves. It seems our personal skills and character can often be the very thing that makes us successful.
Other famous faces who have leapt to fame from creating video content include lockdown hero and fitness instructor Joe Wicks, make-up artist James Charles, and internet celebrity Lele Pons, who started off with short comedy sketches.
But what makes YouTubers and short-video content creators so successful?
Simply put, they’re authentic, inclusive and relatable. YouTube offers ‘real’ opinions and houses a community of people that share interests and views.
Gaming videos like the ones created by PewDiePie (who has 27 million subscribers) and KSI (22.5 million subscribers), are among the most popular content streamed, but their ordinariness and their relatability are what makes them so appealing. The idea of a celebrity being “just like us” is not an unusual cliché in the entertainment world, but on YouTube it’s heightened.