When “My Drunk Kitchen,” the brainchild of YouTube sensation Hannah Hart, started becoming popular, the 26-year-old San Franciscan-turned-Angeleno was conflicted.
“When I did start out I was really bitter about being known as this drunk girl,” Hart tells me on the patio of a Silver Lake coffee shop. “I went to Berkeley. I have so much more I care about. I don’t even drink that much,” Hart continues, explaining her early frustration.
Fame is tough when you gain it within a specific niche. In the case of Hart: getting drunk and cooking. When the world loves you for that, it’s easy for that to become all you are. Hell, if Jaleel White (you may know him as Steve Urkel) were here right now, I’d probably ask him to say, “Did I do that?” Christ, I miss that nerd. It’s a true entertainer who is able to shake off the shackles of the vehicle that drove them to popularity and reinvent themselves — something that Hart is doing in spades.
In addition to the regularly updated “My Drunk Kitchen,” Hart has begun an advice-themed program “Advice from the Hart,” a second channel named Your Harto and is about to kick off a global tour, which was funded with an Indiegogo campaign that exceeded its $50,000 goal by over $170,000.
With the success of all these ventures, you would think it’d be understandable for the YouTuber to ditch the “My Drunk Kitchen” stigma. But, as Hart explained, she’s realized that her maiden show is an integral part of who she is. “It’s kind of like dance with the one that brought you. I’m like, ‘Yeah ‘Kitchen,’ let’s keep going.’”
For the interview in video format, go to the last page.
You’re from San Francisco, so I offer my late condolences for the 49ers.
Hannah Hart: Thank you, I’m actually wearing one of my tribute pieces. I wore this hat in the “My Drunk Kitchen” Super Bowl special. I was so excited. I can’t believe that game! I cannot believe it. Anyway, thank you. I appreciate your condolences.
I was surfing around on your Tumblr, and you had maybe 200 pictures of Beyonce that you had taken with your phone from the performance. Now you’re obviously a huge Beyonce fan.
Huge Beyonce fan.
We’ve talked to about four people about Beyonce, which is kind of weird. We talked to this one kid who did the Snuggie version, and it started this line where I have to ask every single person if they think that she’s in the illuminati. ‘Cause a lot of people think she’s in the illuminati.
I don’t think that Beyonce is in the illuminati for one reason specifically. It’s that Beyonce is super independent, you know? She runs her own shit. Beyonce isn’t gonna be in the illuminati; she doesn’t need the illuminati. She can start the new illuminati that will consist entirely of just her. Yeah, I just really respect her. Not only is she obviously gorgeous, she’s deeply talented but also kind of uses herself as her own tool, which I understand to a very, very, very small extent for being like I’m running my own business. I am also the product that my business produces, you know? It’s a weird disconnect.
And so kind of moving from there, you were a Japanese translator — are you still doing translation, or have you completely left that life behind?
No. About six or seven months into becoming a YouTuber, I quit my job and started couch surfing, and then I dedicated myself full-time to creating a YouTube channel. And I was just living on my friends’ couches and traveling around and going different places and taking any collabs or any opportunities I could take and trying to hustle, you know? [Singing] Make it happen, make it all come true.
That’s like the dream for a lot of people. Do you have any regrets? For anyone who would want to do that in their own life, kind of live this free, artistic, couch-surfy lifestyle, what advice would you give people who kind of want to follow in your footsteps?
Travel toothbrush anywhere at all times; just keep one in your pocket. The advice I would offer, if I could go back — first of all, I don’t believe in regret, so I don’t regret anything. I definitely would have made a couple decisions differently, but at the same time I’m so happy with how things have turned out that even the suffering it took to get here was probably worth it to a fair extent. But for those people who want to do this sort of field I would say 100 percent make things that you want to make that are true to your voice no matter how authentic that is or how vulnerable that is to be that authentic, because if you’re trying to be somebody else and that fails, then you have nothing. If you’re being yourself and that fails, at least you have a lot of respect for within.