So you do feel like the YouTube has kind of become a bubble or a family?
Oh yeah, absolutely. Only in this family. If you and I met in 2008, I would say, “Oh my gosh, this community is the coolest, the strongest community.” Not that they’re not now, but I feel like right now people are so concentrated on creating better content, which requires putting even more work into their content, so nobody has time anymore to just get together, and “Hey, let’s just throw a video together and throw it up.” It’s like a nonstop machine for everybody, and even now I don’t like asking people to be in my videos because I know how busy they are because I know how busy I am.
It’s kind of become a little mini Hollywood unto itself, so is there kind of a lot of that Hollywood-style cattiness?
I mean, no, but I’ll say this one thing: A while ago, I told everyone to sign up for YouTube and put their talents out there because you never know who’s going to discover you. Now I would never give this advice to anyone because I feel like YouTube has become this Hollywood machine where now you have to know people to get in or make it on YouTube unless you’re this extraordinary somebody new and special.
Is it just easier for you to relate to YouTube people? Is that why so many of them are your friends now?
Yes, because I was in a relationship four years ago, and he was an amazing guy but he didn’t understand my career. Like he didn’t understand what it was all about, and I started connecting with a lot of YouTubers, and it’s a special breed. We work all day long, we do a job of at least five people, and we do it all ourselves, so it requires a lot of focus and devotion and understanding. So if somebody’s not in that world, it’s hard for them to understand what’s happening, so far is what I discovered.
You and Toby Turner were together for a while, and I guess you had a kind of public breakup at least in that you’re both big celebrities in the YouTube world. So was it really difficult, because you didn’t really tell anyone that you had broken up until a month had gone by, correct?
Yeah, and I always believe in honesty, and so my videos have always been like, “Hey, here’s what’s happening in my life,” even though I try to keep a lot of things private. After a month, people still talked about it for so long, so I felt like I had to address the issue so these people can take it and go with it somewhere or keep trying to understand what’s happening, so it’s important for me to address what’s happening so people can move on.
Is it pretty difficult to be private in such a public world?
Well, I’m kind of an open book, so I don’t really hide many things. People really know, and I think that’s one of the reasons a lot of people watch me also because they know they are getting the real me. I don’t really filter myself much even when I work with branding deals. I put myself out there, and if people don’t like it, I just kind of go, “This is who I am,” and that’s why people are here watching me.
Speaking of when you do have free time, are you a homebody or do you like to go out to the clubs and party? Where do we find Olga?
You’ll find me in my house working. No, I’m just kidding. I’m a homebody. I love staying home and taking care of my animals or cooking or spending time with my friends. When I was younger, before YouTube, I loved going out and being at bars and meeting new people and just being this bubbly girl that is out all the time. Now I like to stay home, and there are a few people that are close in my life, and I put my energy into that. And once in a while, I have a huge YouTube party at my house, and I’ll bring everybody in, and we’ll catch up and see what’s going on, and then if some great friendships build from that, great. If not, see you next year at the same party and we’ll catch up again.
Now having been in YouTube for six years, what’s been your craziest experience so far?
Such a great question. I’m such a workaholic, and for me, I think the reason I got on YouTube is I really wanted to appreciate it. I wanted people to appreciate me for who I am, whether it’s my talent or my personality or something. I didn’t really get on it to launch my career, but I wanted to showcase what I’m capable of. So the coolest thing happened to me — that’s how I actually earned some money to invest into YouTube. I used to do a lot of commercials, and you know, it’s one day of work and you get residuals, and it’s just awesome. And then I just took that money and was just like, “Let’s buy cameras and lights and buy everything, paint my walls.”So I remember there was like at least two jobs where I got hired to be in a commercial just because they had seen what I had done, and I didn’t even have to audition. I didn’t have to prove myself, and I was like, “Yes, thank you, YouTube,” only because they had been watching me on YouTube.
It’s kind of a trend that a lot of YouTube channel viewership have been declining a little bit. Why do you think that is?
‘Cause everyone sucks. [laughs] No, YouTube is going through a lot of testing because they want to become more of a powerful machine, which is understandable. The industry is growing and it’s turning more of a professional place to produce content, so it’s not just “Hey, let’s sit in our bedroom.” So anyways, they are doing a lot of testing where they change a lot of layouts and trying to make things different, and everything looks different, so an average user doesn’t necessarily understand how to use YouTube unless you are like me, and this is my job and I have to learn about it and understand what works and what doesn’t. So an average user, a lot of times when people come in they go, “I don’t even know where to find my subscriptions anymore. I don’t want to do this,” and they just move on. So the system is just a little meh nowadays because it’s constantly changing, and also — I think I’m right about this — when we all started, it was so small amount of us that did the same thing; now we have so many people. Literally, everyday somebody passes me, and I’m like, “Who is that! They just joined last month. Who is it!” So there’s so much competition now, and it’s just so saturated with so many people.
So how do you keep your viewership amongst this decline?
Well, recently I have been noticing that a lot of people have been telling me, “Hey, you’re not on my cell blocks — why?” and I feel like I follow all the formulas that are out there to be successful on YouTube, and still I see the decline. For myself, I think that everytime I make a video I have to go in little step further, maybe funnier or more interesting or more captivating, so I’m constantly changing my formats to see what works. And sometimes an amazing video drops on my channel and it doesn’t go anywhere, and it makes me super sad. I cry — no, I’m just kidding. I don’t cry, but it makes me wonder “What is it?” Because then I see somebody make a video, and they didn’t put that much work into it; it’s not even that funny, but it just blows up, so you just never know what works and what doesn’t. So for me, I just try to stay true to who I am, try to be as much as possible and connect to my audience.
Kind of be you and the fans will follow.
Yeah, and sometimes we have hard times and we are not doing as good as we used to, and then that doesn’t mean that we’re dead, we can always come back and do better.
I can get behind that. Now do you think that there is kind of an age limit to being relevant on YouTube? Not saying that you’re old, no — I swear I never said that!
[laughs] I think so. When people hear how old I am, they go, “What! You seem so much –”
I am guessing about 17?
Yes, I’m 17. You know, sometimes people say I’m 15. I feel like I can still keep my audience for a while because they feel like “She’s our older sister,” but sometimes I see where you see how people age through time and people go, “Oh, this is just not as hip anymore for us,” so we just want to watch somebody who is a little more goofy. I can’t even think of anyone that is older on YouTube and still does amazing, but I feel like it’s all about young spirit.
You have a very young spirit.
Yeah, so do you have any plans when posting to YouTube, or do you just kind of take it one day at a time and see how it goes?
No, I’m constantly thinking ahead all the time and realizing that you can have all the opportunities if millions of people watch you on YouTube. So when I see lots of people who have millions of views and you would think that everyone just wants to snatch them up and do something with them, and they don’t take that opportunity, it really makes me want to go like this [punches hand] [laughs] and I feel like that’s the only thing that is holding me back. I have huge ambitions; I want to do a lot of great things. I want to design clothes for young kids, for young girls, because my style is really funky, and I really don’t care, and I don’t follow a certain style. I just put something together that is cool, and I’m like, “Yes, everyone is going to want to do this.” So I want to design clothes and have my own perfume and be in movies, and there is so many things that I want to do, and I feel like if we had those opportunities it would be so much easier. I’m not complaining; I’ve done a lot of cool things, but yet there is still a lot of things that I want to do outside of YouTube. And I’m not saying that YouTube is just a stepping stone; that’s actually my business, and I would never stop doing it, but I would love to branch out and just put myself out different. And like you said, the age thing, because it worries me, will people watch me when I’m 40? Probably not unless I have a cooking show, but nobody is going to watch that, so I always think of ways of doing things outside and just creating a life outside. If YouTube disappears tomorrow, I still have to be some kind of brand that people want to follow.
What does your mom say about having a famous internet daughter?
She loves it! And then she says, “Why do you say ‘fuck’ so much?” That’s the only word she knows in English. She has no idea what I’m talking about in my videos, and she actually guesses because of the things that people say in comments, and so she’s like, “Can you translate all of your videos, because I want to understand them,” and I’m like, “I don’t have time for that. I make 23 videos a week! It will take me another five weeks to translate it.” She loves it. At first, my mom always supported anything that I did. I came to America when I was 16, and she let me go, and she said, “You want to be in the circus? You’re kind of old for it, but if you work really hard you can accomplish something. You don’t want to go to college? You have to work really, really hard if you want to be successful,” and I just kind of followed that my whole life, and there is no regrets. So she supports me, and she gets to see me everyday online. At least she knows that I’m okay.
That’s a good reason to have a show, I suppose. Let your mom know you’re okay. Well, you have a YouTube live stream coming up on the 12th, I believe?
Yes, I do. How did you know that?
I know everything about everything.
See, I don’t know the president is in charge of the military, but I do know some things.
But you know your entertainment.
I do have that coming up. I still need to look in to see exactly what I’m doing, but they are doing an interview on me about my YouTube career. It’s like a spotlight portion of it, and I think there is a panel, and I’m pretty sure I’m speaking on it. Are you going to be there?
Eh, I’ll probably show up. What the hell!
Why not! YouTube has been absolutely amazing. Yesterday I was invited to YouTube Space Lab. They send YouTubers to space from there [laughs] No, they’re not, but it’s this new facility. They don’t want to call it studios, but it’s YouTube’s where there is a lot of soundstages and just a really cool place where you can go and produce content for free for all the YouTube partners, so it’s really cool. So they invited me to be part of the marketing campaign that they are doing for that phase, so that was great to catch up with all the YouTubers while I was there. I was like, “Great, finally I get to see you guys!”
Nice. So anything else wild in the works, or is it just more videos and craziness with Olga Kay?
That definitely will never stop, but I do. Well, I have a really cool music video coming out, and it’s called “Boning My Mom.” My boyfriend is boning my mom, and I have a problem with it. I’m just getting into starting to make music parodies, so I’m really excited. But I’m also a new host — I don’t even know if I’m allowed to talk about this — but I recently signed up to do hosting for Power Up Season 2, which is a new Disney show on YouTube, and it’s all about video games. It’s really cool.
Okay, so because it’s kind of Disney-based, we probably shouldn’t ask — you have a dominatrix outfit that you were wearing in a thumbnail shot of “3 Ways to Dominate Him.”
Oh yeah, well that wasn’t me. That was just a screenshot. I wasn’t really wearing that.
Oh, good for Disney’s sake, good.
That wasn’t me!
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