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Do strange, funny or interesting things happen to you a lot? Are you good at telling stories? Can you imagine hundreds of thousands of people wanting to hear about your life?
That’s what life is like for YouTube star, Jessii Vee. Her videos of funny stories about herself have been watched over 150 million times and subscribers to her channel grow every day. In just a month she can gain thousands of new subscribers, and videos that are only a few days old typically have 150,000+ views.
Jessii’s just a regular 23-year-old living in Ontario, Canada, with a talent for turning her life into her work, six days a week. ‘My days change depending on if it's the beginning of the week or the end,’ says Jessii. Typically, I’ll spend all of Sunday thinking of ideas and planning videos that I want to film that week. Then, on Monday, I’ll wake up early to start filming. Usually a video will take just over an hour to film, and I try to film around five, so it takes up most of my day. Then, from Tuesday to Friday, I edit them.’
Being a YouTuber isn’t just about making videos. Jessii also spends a few hours a week replying to messages from her subscribers. Sometimes she meets fans in person because, since she passed 700,000 subscribers, people recognise her when she goes out. ‘It’s so funny because I can meet subscribers anywhere and everywhere,’ she says. ‘The other day I went to buy coffee and there was a girl serving me who almost dropped my coffee when she realised it was me. She actually left the coffee shop to meet me in the parking lot to take pictures. It always makes me happy to see them greet me with a huge smile.’
Online life isn’t all wonderful and Jessii used to feel bad when people said negative things about her. ‘Some people online are so quick to write hate comments,’ she explains. Some people said that she has huge cheeks and really thin lips. It made her feel bad until she found strength inside herself. ‘I realised that the things people were hating on were things about myself that I couldn't change. So I decided to love those things and I became more confident in myself.’ Now, she understands that hate comments come from people who don’t feel good about themselves.
So, for anyone who wants to start a YouTube channel, there are some things to think about. It should be fun, so one thing you might want to do is turn off the comments so you won’t get any negative ones from people who have nothing better to do. Privacy and being safe are very important so, for example, you don’t need to show your face or real name and you shouldn’t tell people where you live. One of the most famous YouTubers, DanTDM, a 26-year-old English man whose videos have over 10 billion views (if that number is too big to imagine, compare it with something like the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics that were watched by 5 billion people all over the world), began his YouTube career playing ‘Minecraft’ and telling stories about the characters in the game. In 2017, he went on a tour, doing live shows, in the UK, America and Australia. But in the beginning he didn’t show his face.
Jessii has some advice about what kind of videos to make. ‘Be yourself. Don't change to try to make people like you. They will fall in love with YOU! When I first started YouTube, I wanted to look good and act in a way that people would like. In my old videos, I seem uncomfortable because I’m not being myself. But in my videos now, you can see that I’m completely myself. I’m crazy and strange, and I don’t care what people think.’
Jessii also says you should make your channel about something you really care about because that will inspire people. People know when you only care about being popular. ‘When you actually focus on something you love, you’ll grow so much faster, trust me!’
Worksheets and downloads
Would you like to be a YouTuber? What would be the positive and negative things about the job?