Tag Archives YouTuber

Kelsi Davies’ Quest to Demystify the Spirit Realm

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How would you react if you realized you were psychic? For Kelsi Davies, it was an integral part of growing up. As she got older, she began to share her abilities and recently decided to use her gifts as a medium to help people heal and connect with loved ones who have passed on, altering countless lives forever. Kelsi chronicles her experiences with the paranormal on her incredibly popular TikTok and on her YouTube channel. She wants to demonstrate to others that spirits aren’t always scary or evil. When she’s not communicating with the beyond, Kelsi is empowering others through music. Her new single, “Heartbeats,” is about rediscovering joy after leaving a toxic relationship. Check out the video for “Heartbeats“ below!

Cliché: How did you first discover that you had psychic abilities?
Kelsi Davies: I have been psychic since I was young. I found out this year that these gifts run on the Native American side of my family. I would always know things about people or see future events. I did not understand what I was feeling or experiencing, which caused a lot of social anxiety in my life. My mediumship was always there, but I blocked it out. In 2020 I began to tap into my mediumship and connect others with deceased loved ones.

Was that an overwhelming discovery to make as a young child? How did you process that revelation?
I thought it was normal. I always had terrible social anxiety and my gifts would kind of shut me down. Growing up, I was introverted, the exact opposite of how I would describe myself now. Once I understood that not everyone has these abilities, I started coming out of my shell and explaining it to people; I feel more understood now.

Why do you think people are so fascinated with the paranormal and spirits in particular?
It’s controversial, unknown, and unexplainable. Many people have had paranormal experiences and have had them throughout history. It’s a topic that people are afraid to talk about, but are so intrigued by at the same time.

You’ve also recently undergone a spiritual awakening. What has it been like using your gifts to connect people with their departed loved ones and why do you believe that’s your calling?
Yes, it has been incredible. It amazes me every time with what comes through and the spirits that come to me for people. I have made some very close friends due to experiences that changed their lives. It gets very emotional at times, but usually ends in happy tears and relief. I know I have these gifts for a reason. It took me a while to understand them, but now that I do, I have seen their effect on others. I genuinely believe this is something I’m just meant to do.

What has been the most exciting paranormal experience you’ve had thus far?
I’ve had countless experiences, both good and bad. However, one of my favorite experiences was when I connected with someone’s deceased loved ones recently. The mother of a family friend passed earlier this year. Mid-conversation, I start to receive visions of her. I had never met her, so I was unaware of her appearance. Usually, I will explain who is coming to me and what they look like if they are coming through clearly.

I was able to see her height, hair color, clothes, etc. She had a few things to say, but I asked her to show me something personal. She ended up showing me a silver necklace with a cross on it and its details. As I explained it to the woman, her eyes lit up. She knew what her mother was showing me was a necklace that she wore very often.

Why is it so important to destigmatize spirits or show people that not all spirits are scary?
There is a misconception of spirit communication. Many people are taught that it’s evil and demonic, but that just is not the case. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I just hope people can keep an open mind to things. I genuinely believe no one knows exactly what the afterlife is like until we are there. There is a balance in this world, good and evil. A lot of the time, your lost loved ones are still visiting and looking out for you.

Do you have any advice for people out there who are hoping to communicate with spirits?
Just be safe. Again there are good and evil spirits. If you feel negativity around you or feel like something is off, I would stop the session and protect yourself. There are a variety of ways to protect yourself. I don’t know much about the other side, but I have firsthand seen these ways of protection work.

For the uninitiated, please explain who Lola is and the role she plays in your life.
Lola is a sweet spirit of an 18-year-old woman. She is attached to a porcelain doll because it looks a lot like her! She was born in 1901 and died in 1919 from an illness. All of my friends have had incredible experiences with her. We all love Lola. I often see her walking around in her long white nightgown. Sometimes, she sits in the back of my car, and I feel protected. I believe in spirit guides, but maybe Lola can protect me the way my spirit guides or angels do. She doesn’t talk a whole lot, so I’m not sure. Other mediums have said she is getting stronger and braver. I feel that way as well.

On another note, you’re also venturing into the music world! Talk about your new single, “Heartbeats.”
My new single, “Heartbeats,” is about a toxic relationship I was stuck in. I wanted to turn something negative in my life into a positive. It was difficult to relive those experiences again, as it was an extremely dark time for me. However, I’m so grateful for everyone who supported me through this traumatic time. They helped me turn my pain into something extraordinary. I learned and have grown from this experience. I have found my authentic self because of it. “Heatbeats”  is about moving past that toxicity in your life, no matter what it is. Knowing you do have the strength to get past it and be authentically yourself.

Do you have any advice for people who are afraid to leave a toxic relationship because they don’t want to be alone?
Ask yourself these questions about the person you are with. Do they make you happy? Do they trust you? Do you trust them? Do you see a positive future with this person? If you answered no to any of them, it might be time to rethink some things. It’s like ripping off a bandaid. Things will get better as long as you know your worth. Also,  don’t be afraid to talk to others about your situation. You are strong.

You frequently collaborate with PrideHouseLA! What message do you hope to send to your fans who also identify as LGBTQ+?
Yes, PrideHouseLA are great friends of mine. They helped me have the courage to come out as a pansexual. I hope that anyone part of the LGBTQ+ community knows that you are so loved and accepted here. Be your unique self. If people don’t accept you, there is a huge community that will.

Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
Kelsi Davies’ Quest to Demystify the Spirit Realm. Photo Credit: Tim Schaeffer Photography @timschaefferphoto. Hair and Makeup: Christine Hazelhurst @christine_pro_makeup.

Nastassia Ponomarenko Talks Fitness, Entrepreneurship and More

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Nastassia Ponomarenko is proof that you’re never too young to pursue your dreams. At just 18, she launched her own fitness apparel company, Nasty Fit. Her fitness-focused YouTube channel has grown to over 700,000 subscribers who eagerly look to her for guidance about reaching their fullest potential. She’s also written a book, From Dust to Discipline, with the hope of helping her readers overcome fear and self-doubt. It’s clear Nastassia’s ability to inspire knows no limits!

Cliché: What sparked your interest in fitness?

Nastassia Ponomarenko: Sometime in April 2015, I was scrolling through social media and saw fitness influencers/models with really toned looking bodies…I was instantly inspired! I never trained for myself because I was an athlete who competed against other people, but this inspired me on so many levels to become my best physical self. 

What inspired you to make fitness such a focal point of your life?

I think it naturally happened. My inspiration turned into an obsession, so that naturally made fitness a focal point in my life from age 16-19 years old. 

 Talk about your business, Nasty Fit. 

Nasty Fit is my fitness apparel line that launched in July of 2018. We have been growing rapidly this year, and that is because of our successful line of Contour leggings! It’s been a great pleasure to grow Nasty Fit and our goal is to keep growing. 

 Were you intimidated at all by the idea of starting a business at 18?

 Hmm…I knew it would be challenging, but it’s like any first challenge of going out of one’s comfort zone. So, age wise, I was not really intimidated!

Do you have any words of wisdom for other young women seeking to become entrepreneurs?

Yes! One for now would be to remember that the success of your business, will be determined by the amount of diligent hours you spend working on it. Results don’t come overnight, so patience and diligence NEEDS to be ingrained. The power of perseverance and faith is undeniably real and it will pay off eventually. 

 Tell us about your book! How did you overcome self-doubt and adopt such a positive attitude?

Sure, I launched my book From Dust to Discipline in March of 2020. It’s primarily a self-improvement book for young adults based on my own experiences. I’ve been naturally bubbly and optimistic my whole life, but that didn’t translate to feeling at peace inside. So, I had to change my mindset and make a lot of spiritual changes to get to where I am now. I became more aware of God’s presence in the world and more empathetic towards others. In terms of self-doubt, it just takes discipline to keep powering through and ignore those thoughts. Eventually, it gets easier to battle it.

Would you recommend any particular “beginners workout” for someone who is looking to start an exercise routine?

Chloe Ting’s workouts work wonders!

 You’re pretty open about sharing your life on YouTube! What message do you hope your subscribers will take away from your channel?

Haha, this is true. The biggest message that I want my subscribers to take away is that they can really do anything. Anybody can do anything they want to do, it just takes overcoming certain fears, doubts, etc. We should strive to become better individuals every day. 

 What motivates you to get up every morning?

Probably from knowing that I have things that need to get done and life that needs to be lived!

 Any tips for staying fit and healthy during quarantine?

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself but don’t let yourself go (balance, but it depends on your health goals)
  2. Follow workout videos on YouTube.
  3. 1x a week go for a hike, jog or walk.
  4. Drink more water.

Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com
Nastassia Ponomarenko Talks Fitness, Entrepreneurship and More. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nastassia Ponomarenko.

Jenna Marbles: A YouTuber To Look Up To

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Jenna Marbles is one of the most successful YouTubers in the world. She began her YouTube career eight years ago in 2010 with her first hit video, “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking,” a makeup tutorial done by a non-beauty guru for the average girl. Since then her fame has grown and so has her collection of beauty tutorials, impressions, dog vlogs, and random silly videos of her trying new things. Jenna has that spark that draws people to her, she’s an entertaining personality to watch and she has an interesting life. Throughout the years her fans have seen her be the amazing queen she is, she is truly a YouTuber to look up to.

There has been a transformation of Jenna from her 20’s into her 30’s. Her humor isn’t as crude and she seems more elated than ever before. Some of her followers have been put off by her no longer screaming curse words all the time, but Jenna has addressed this simply by stating, “I’m just not angry anymore.” She has grown as a person to accept what life throws at her, and to take it with a great sense of humor. Part of her personality is that she doesn’t care if doing what she wants makes her look weird. We’ve watched her glue rhinestones all over her face, marry her dogs (to each other, not to her), make useless hot glue crafts, dye her own hair, and everything else in between. At the end of those videos there’s a smile on her viewers’ faces. She truly shows us that being happy and having fun is much more important than fearing judgement from others.   

In the YouTube community it is upsetting to see YouTube celebrities become so toxic by taking advantage of fans and putting their wealth on display. The best part about Jenna’s YouTube channel is that it’s a place away from all the clickbait and jackassy videos. Jenna is not a sell-out; in all her years on YouTube she’s never made the shallow content that other celebrities with just as many or more subscribers as her have done. The doors to her YouTube haven open for us as if to say, “Hey friends, let’s forget about all this drama for a few minutes and watch my dog sniff soap.”

(It’s a real video)

Although she is such a large YouTube personality, Jenna has had to work extremely hard to get to where she is today. There has never been a moment where she’s hidden how hard life can be as a young woman trying to make it in the entertainment world. Her content shows her good days, adopting a new dog, as well as her bad ones, the struggles of being a Go-Go dancer. She understands what it’s like to get the short end of the stick and still pulls through to give advice and motivate young women to achieve their goals. If there’s anyone who is the essence of the phrase “hard work pays off” it’s Jenna Marbles.

If you’re interested in more of Jenna Marbles’ videos click here to see her channel!

 

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Jenna Marbles: A YouTuber To Look Up To. Featured Image Credits: MadameTussaudes.com

YouTube Confidence

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This past year, I have seen many people, both ones I follow and admire on social media as well as dear friends of mine, start YouTube channels with such gusto that made it seem so simple and effortless. I mean, all you have to do is turn on a camera and start talking, right? For some, it may seem like such a natural thing to do, but for others—including myself—throwing yourself onto the Internet via video can make you feel a bit vulnerable, and maybe even self-conscious. With so many YouTubers out in the world blowing up over what feels like overnight, joining such a community can sometimes come off as being intimidating. From high-quality edits to unbelievable viewing numbers, seeing others’ success may hold you back from actually taking a step forward and in turn building up your YouTube confidence to start a channel and post a video. Trust me, I have been there. However, I have also conquered the fear and have turned it into something I truly love. After personal experience with starting my own YouTube journey, I am happy to share not only my channel, but advice as well to help or inspire any of you to take a deep breath, look in front of the camera, press record, and start sharing your own story.
 

Network With Others
Putting yourself out there, a raw and unfiltered you that only people who truly know you see, can be scary—there is no sugar coating that. But once you step out of that comfort zone of sharing who you are with anyone that watches, you’ll find yourself wanting to do it more and more. When you start your own channel, share it like no tomorrow! Post on your social media networks and show others how excited you are about what you are doing. It will resonate with others when they see someone glowing through the embarkment of a new chapter in their life. You’ll connect with people from all over the world, be inspired by them, feel amazed by their support, and even create lasting friendships with some.
Find Your Niche
If you like gaming, share your favorite video games or film yourself kicking butt in all of them. Share any tips or tricks that you may have to fellow gamers out there or people who may want to start gaming as well. If you’re a beauty babe, help people learn how to flick a cat eye or create a go-to look that you have been rocking as of late. Are you a foodie at heart? Cook up a yummy recipe or vlog yourself trying the most delicious dishes at local restaurants! Whatever you find to be your niche in life, flourish in it.

Be Imperfect
You don’t need to have the most amazing editing skills out there to create videos—nor the most high-quality of cameras. Use what you have and make the most of it. By showing your one-of-a-kind personality with others out there, you’ll find an audience that is ready to click on your videos as soon as you post them. Be real and don’t try to be a picture-perfect person. As long as you stay true to who you are, that will reflect right on screen. So, if you drop something (which I have done), if your hair is a bit out of place, or if you can’t seem to say the “right” words, that’s completely okay! Your beautiful, authentic, and imperfect self is what will make your channel you.
Create At Your Own Pace
Posting videos consistently is important if you want your audience to grow; however, that isn’t everything. Quality over quantity does mean something. When publishing a video, you want to be sure that it is something you’re proud of—not just because others are posting up to five videos on a weekly basis. You need to create at your own pace. When I started my own YouTube channel, I myself found myself inspired and uninspired at times. Sometimes you may find yourself filming ideas one after the other, and other days you won’t. When you don’t, don’t force it. Let the inspiration come to you, and when it does, sit down and get to filming. I promise you’ll surprise yourself with how much your creative process will grow over time.
So, if you’ve been debating for a while whether or not to join YouTube, I encourage you to with all your might. Show everyone out there how extraordinary of an individual you are through creative videos that you create. All of us at Cliché are rooting for you!
Read more Social Media articles on ClicheMag.com

“YouTube Confidence: Advice On Starting Your Own YouTube Channel” originally appeared in Cliché Magazine’s Oct/Nov 2016 issue

YouTube’s The Shaytards Talk Vlogging Success

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One evening on a chilly night in Idaho, Colette Butler filmed her husband Shay as he pranced around their home in one of her old leotards.  Although a mindless action with the sole purpose of capturing her husband’s obscure behavior, this turned out to be the moment that changed her family’s lives forever. After hearing about a relatively new website where you could upload your own videos, Shay, who has never been one to take himself too seriously, decided to throw the clip online and share the hilarity with whomever happened to stumble across it. So, with a few minutes of processing and one swift click of the upload button, the ‘Shaytards’ were born.

Part of the appeal of the daily vlogging channel from the get go was that the Butlers represented the everyman family. They weren’t jet-setting across Europe in private planes, driving ferraris, or lathered in diamonds and Chanel. They were real and from your first introduction to them, it felt like you knew them. They were the family you’d see at neighborhood barbecues, or town-wide football games, or at the local swimming pool. They were such a stark contrast from the reality show zombies that dominated entertainment that you couldn’t help but fall in love and want to keep up with them.
Eight years and 4.2 million subscribers later, Shay and Colette Butler are now seen as one of the founding families in the world of YouTube. As pioneers for this new frontier of entertainment, the two, alongside their group of their close Internet friends, have paved the path of what it means to be a vlogger. Over the years, the family has had to decide what, and how much, to share with their quickly expanding audience—a decision that, even to this day, is always changing.
It must be strange though, right? To have millions of people know all about you having only known one another through a computer screen? You would think it would present a sort of odd dynamic when the opportunity to meet in person does arise.

“I met a girl last night named Samantha and she said she’s been watching for seven or eight years and she supported us in all our endeavors,” explains Colette, as we sit across from each other in a lower Manhattan hotel room. The room is emptied of all bearings that would make it resemble anything other than maybe the set of a talk show. It’s professionally lit and decorated modestly, with only a Tribeca Film Festival backdrop as part of the press junket for their new film, Vlogumentary, which premiered the night before. “She started getting teary eyed when she told me how she lost 70 pounds watching Shay going through his weight loss journey and it’s just like I know her. I didn’t need to know more than that to know her.”
“You can’t understand it, unless you’re in it,” continues Shay, jumping off his wife’s point. “YouTube is weird, man. For outsiders, it’s like, ‘Who are these people that are putting their lives online and why are other people invested in them?’ You can’t understand it unless you take the step to upload a video, or make your first comment, or follow a creator for more than one video.”
“But it works both ways,” Colette adds. “Like when we meet people like our friend Molly, from Make-A-Wish, and she tells us we inspire her. Watching what she is going through, it’s like no—you inspire us! The connectivity to the amount of people and stories that we have is just amazing to me.”
In the near decade that they’ve been at this, their lives (and YouTube) have transformed dramatically. What used to be a small and tight-knit group of people has grown exponentially into a large community with seemingly endless avenues. Still, growth can be scary and a recent debate between long time YouTube fans is that the community, as a whole, is starting to dissolve and it is now nothing more than another big business.
“I mean, [the YouTube community] is fragmented, maybe,” observes Shay. “But, I look at it like a family and yeah, as it gets bigger, it’s harder to stay connected, but that’s just like any family.” Seeing as there are more than 2,000 channels with over 1 million subscribers and 300 hours of content being uploaded every minute, of course it’s impossible to keep up with it all.
“You know, that happens all the time. I’ll meet someone and it’ll be like, ‘You have a million subscribers? And I’ve never heard of you before?’” continues Shay. “That’s what is so great about the YouTube community, how diverse it is and how unique people are found within it. Even so, I think the community at large is still there. There are still community heads that people look up to, like the Vlog Brothers or Phil DeFranco, people who have been doing it a while. I’m so proud of the community; I feel like I want it to be strong.”
While many kids these days fantasize about getting to hang out with their favorite YouTube stars, that’s an everyday reality for Shay’s kids, who are featured regularly in the vlogs. “I don’t think they really ‘fangirl,’” says Shay. “If they met Taylor Swift, I’m sure the girls would freak out, but they definitely have their favorites of who they watch. Gavin watches The Wassabi Brothers and Emmy watches NerdyNummies all the time. We’ve been to Vidcon and they’ll be like, ‘Dad, Dad, Dad!’ It’s interesting to watch my kids become fans of YouTubers.”
Over the past two years or so, YouTubers have reached unprecedented levels of success, both offline and online. The rest of the world has seemed to catch up to this phenomenon and new doors have continued to open up; between the book deals, TV appearances, movies, and billions of ‘secret projects’ and ‘exciting meetings,’ it’s incredible that creators even have time to breathe.

“Nothing surprises me anymore,” laughs Colette, as we think back about all the crazy experiences the family has had because of their channel. They’ve been invited to the White House, started a clothing company, and became best-selling authors, to name a few.
“When people say, ‘You can do anything,’ I’m like, ‘I know, because I can’t believe the stuff we’ve gotten to do already,’” agrees Shay, smiling proudly. “The ‘pinch me’ moments happen a lot more in the beginning. You just kind of wander around like, ‘Can you believe this?’ It’s been so overwhelming and the opportunities just keep coming. Now, it’s sort of like, ‘How can we take it to this next level?’ I don’t know. It’s just that ‘always wanting to grow’ mentality and I think the secret is not finding happiness in those achievements.” Shay clarifies, explaining that he doesn’t mean that he isn’t grateful or excited by the unpredictable moments. Rather, he feels those moments should just be part of the ride, not the measurement of success.
Over time, YouTube has continued to transition into an industry, and more and more money has gotten involved. Alongside the experiential perks, there are also some pretty lofty financial gains from being a successful YouTuber. For instance, Shay and Collette were the founding talent partners in Maker Studios, which sold to Disney for $675 million. And no, they didn’t get all of that.
“The day that Maker sold to Disney, Colette called me and I said, ‘Have you seen our account? Go check our Wells Fargo!’ There was one moment of ‘Oh my gosh!’ and then, the next minute it was like, ‘Okay, so, what’s for dinner?’ People think once they get rich, they’ll be so happy, but nothing changes,” says Shay, the atmosphere of the room shifting ever so slightly.
Still, just like any other relationship, once money gets involved, awkward strains can develop between creator and viewer—something Shay and Colette had to face when various news outlets reported on the details of the sale. So, how do you stay relatable to your audience, but also truthful to the reality of your life and business?
“I’ll be honest with you: it’s hard,” admits Shay. “Now that we have more money, it sort of feels like some people have turned on us. It feels like we can’t express to our audience when we’re going through hard times because they will be like, ‘Whatever, you’re rich. You can’t complain. You’re rich.’ But that doesn’t change anything; we’ve learned that money really doesn’t bring happiness.”
“I think what has changed the most, is that now people know,” adds Colette, grabbing hold of Shay’s hand. “I mean, we were doing fine before that. Honestly, people finding out almost made it worse because all of a sudden we were not ‘relatable.’”
“Maybe we should share that more?” Shay questions aloud, the thought hanging in the air. “I think that people would understand that. It’s just hard to talk about. You get that weird feeling any time money gets brought up. The only solace I have is that people have been watching us for eight years,” he says. “They know where we come from; they know I’m not some stuck up rich guy. We were broke. We were living on food stamps. Our kids were sleeping on the same mattress on the floor; we couldn’t afford box springs for our freaking three kids. So now, it’s sort of like, ‘Look, you can make it, too!’”
He continues, “It just takes time and hard work and all that bull crap stuff you learn in kindergarten, like, ‘Never give up. Keep trying. Have a good attitude.’ All that stuff that seems like clichés, that’s the secret—that’s the secret sauce to life. It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.”
Although being a YouTuber is technically his job, a term Shay says he uses loosely to describe what he feels is a calling, and with the sale of Maker, he no longer has to do this. “It’s a secret temptation of mine,” he admits. “I have this great desire where I want to disappear in the mountains and delete all my accounts. For now, I want to make the vlogs my priority again. For how long we’ll do them for, I don’t know. It’s the biggest question in my life.”
Read more Entertainment Interviews on ClicheMag.com
YouTube’s The Shaytards Talk Vlogging Success: Photographed by Kallie Porter

James McVey Talks The Vamps and Social Media

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On the outside, 21-year-old James McVey may seem to live an extraordinary life. His day-to-day includes headlining world tours to sold-out arenas, promoting Top 10 albums, and being a guest on talk shows from every inch of the globe with his band, The Vamps. But underneath all that, McVey is just your average guy who is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants—while the whole world watches.
Being in a successful band obviously comes with its own set of perks: traveling the world, meeting your idols, and making a living doing what you’re passionate about. Still, there are challenges that come with being in the public eye. For example, rumors. “If there is one thing that is always guaranteed, it’s that there is going to be a rumor about me on Twitter somewhere. I must have been ‘matched’ to over a hundred girls since I started The Vamps,” he explains. “Honestly, I do find some of the rumors pretty funny. I’m good friends with a girl called Ebony Day and people always try to say that we are together! It’s funny for us because we are great friends, but it can be a bit awkward when you don’t really know the person you’re being matched with. I remember I was rumored to be dating a ‘mysterious girl’ after I put up some Instagram pictures. People later discovered that the girl was in fact my sister… who was 14 at the time!”
3(1)With the rumor mill always churning out some new ridiculous story seemingly on the daily, it can be difficult to feel like your fans really know who you are. To combat that, and for an assortment of other reasons, McVey decided to start his own YouTube channel in hopes that it would give the people who support him the unique experience of getting to know him away from the glitz and glamour. If that was a goal though, why YouTube?
Well, for starters, McVey is an avid YouTube fan himself. “I am the kind of person who spends hours on YouTube… I may start watching a music video, and then two hours later, I link-jumped my way to a documentary on Italian cheese. However, there are a few people I regularly like to keep up to date with. I enjoy Zoella and Alfie’s videos, but who doesn’t? They’re like YouTube royalty,” he says. “I think YouTube is great in the sense that no matter where you are, you are always able to keep up with people who you admire. I also like the fact that there is a lot of ‘free advice’ on the Internet; there are a great many people on YouTube who are willing to simply share their stories with the world, in turn helping people from all around the world who may have struggled with similar issues.”
That idea of free advice was another one of the reasons McVey started his channel. “I wanted to have the opportunity to talk about certain things to a camera,” he says. “Things that aren’t always as straightforward to type or talk about in person.”
Opening up a bit, he took me back, reflecting on his own experiences with some of the difficult subjects he broaches on his channel, which include everything from anxiety in school and bullying to acne and weight. “I hope that anybody dealing with acne can get to a point where they accept that 80% of people experience some kind of acne in their lives, and that they are simply not alone. However, it took a long time for me to realize that,” he admits. “I struggled from being overweight between age 8 up until 13. I was teased throughout school for it, and always found it difficult playing football on the weekends. I was lucky because when I started growing upwards, I evened out and my weight wasn’t as much of an issue. However, it was only when I decided to really pull my thumb out and get into healthy eating and the gym that I eventually started to feel better about my body. I’m not saying that there is anything bad about not caring whether you have a six-pack or not, but for me, fitness became somewhat of an addiction—an addiction I still have today.”

Acne, on the other hand, wasn’t as easy to deal with as his weight, and he admits to still battling with it after 12 years. “I think it’s really important for me to talk about my experience with acne and the treatments I’ve used because so many people struggle with it just like I do,” he explains. “There are thousands of companies claiming that they can beat acne and give you ‘amazingly clear skin,’ and it must be daunting for an acne sufferer who doesn’t have a clue where to begin. I’m not saying I’m an expert whatsoever when it comes to skin care or beauty products; I just shared my story and told people which treatments and products I have found to be most effective.” Now, McVey says he’s finally at a place in his life where he is more confident about his skin and wants to get other people to that same place.
While McVey’s own experiences with bullying are now behind him, he admits that talking about it openly has resulted in him receiving a great deal of messages through social media about people’s current experiences with it—and it makes him feel sick. “I’m going to be making a vlog about bullying,” he explains. “Being bullied is horrible; it puts the victim on edge and prevents them from ever truly relaxing whilst being in the school environment. For me, bullying is simply not acceptable. I am working with Anti-Bullying Pro in the fight to stop bullying at school. I really want to do everything I can in order to prevent it from happening.”
As is the case with most people our age, McVey is a big fan of social media. Whether it’s being used as a tool to raise awareness for a social cause, professional promotion, or just entertainment, he’s all about the Internet. “I think that it is awesome. It’s helped our band tremendously,” he says. “I love how I am able to send a message on Twitter to someone 8,000 miles away, on the other side of the world. Also, I love the fact that I am able to see someone doing yoga on a Maldivian beach on Instagram whilst I’m tucked in bed in December. Social media has completely changed the world forever, and I think it has allowed public figures to be a lot more ‘reachable’ by the public.”
Still, with a following on Twitter of over 1 million loyal fans, McVey does see the darker sides of social media. “I don’t really like going on my Twitter timeline and seeing people from different ‘fan groups’ being aggressive, abusive, and even racist to people who like different bands other than their favorites. I think that people tend to presume that they simply ‘must’ like one band, and one band only,” he admits, touching on a subject he discussed in his vlog titled ‘You Can Like More Than One Band.’
It is no secret that fandoms are inherently fueled by passion, which sometimes comes out in a less than productive way. Being a member of a Top 40 band, McVey has a unique perspective on the fan-war phenomenon, as he’s in the center of it. He continues, “I wanted to share in that video that we have a very open and friendly relationship with as many artists and bands as we can. There is room for everyone in this industry and it runs a hell of a lot smoother when everyone is happy and getting on. The premise of the video is simply that there aren’t these inside grudges between our band and others; we enjoy other bands and want to be friends with everyone!”
In terms of his band, McVey and his bandmates are super busy promoting their sophomore album and preparing for their 2016 tour, but that doesn’t mean there are plans to slow down the YouTube train anytime soon. “I suppose at some point I should really sit down and figure out exactly what I should be putting up on YouTube, but at the moment, it’s really just all a bit of a laugh, honestly! I didn’t know where or even how to start vlogging, so it’s genuinely just a new area for me that I’m exploring. One thing I learnt whilst making my first video was that I thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to make another one as soon as I finished editing. I haven’t stopped since.”  

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James McVey Talks The Vamps and Social Media: Photographed by Dean Sherwood