Do Youtubers ever doubt themselves? What does it feel like to put yourself in front of millions of strangers? 16 year old Britney Li has over 130k subscribers on Youtube, and I was surprised to learn that her easy confidence isn’t something that always came naturally to her, but rather, something she had to work at. Her compassion and drive really shone through as she talked to me about the beginnings of her channel, skill-development, dealing with negativity, and lots more.
Hi Britney! Like lots of other young people, I have a love-hate relationship with Youtube (it can get so addictive!), but I'm really interested in finding how what it's like to be on the other end of Youtube! As in, being a creator, not a viewer.
I mean I still watch other Youtubers too, but yeah I'm excited to share a bit of my story with you.
Okay! So, do you have a favourite Youtuber?
Well, I actually have two favourite Youtubers, they hands down have got to be Jenn Im and Michelle Phan.
Jen or Michelle are standing in front of you right now. What do you say to them?
If either of them were standing in front of me right now I honestly think I’d be in slight disbelief but I would try to communicate to them how much I appreciate and enjoy their content and advice.
Yeah, I would probably do the same! Do you remember your first video? What inspired that? And what's changed since?
My first video was a drugstore beauty haul, I honestly have no idea why I decided to film that video, the best answer I can give is probably because that was when my passion for beauty and makeup started to grow. I was terrified to upload that first video because at the time it was still the early days of high school and I was scared someone would find out and funny story actually, one of my closest friends found out the day after I uploaded. I think I used to feel kind of awkward and restricted on camera but now I feel a lot more open which makes my videos more authentic and people are a lot more in touch with my real personality.
That's wonderful! From then to now, where'd you learn all the skills and techniques for shooting videos? Like, making vlogs, editing, and even marketing to reach a larger audience?
All the skills I have managed to learn up until now have been self taught. I had no idea how to edit at the beginning, let alone understanding the functions of a camera properly and even now I am still learning. I know there are a lot of other areas of film I have yet to explore. In terms of marketing I honestly have no idea what first drew in most of my viewers but I do know that hard work, dedication and passion are key to evolving.
Right, good on you! Your videos cover quite a range of things so just out of interest, how long does it take to make one video on average?
This is often surprising to people but it can take several hours, even days to film depending on the content I decide to create, and after that you have the whole editing process, which (same as filming) can take several hours to days depending on content, and that's not even taking into account the pre-production process of a video. I spend the majority of my weekends doing this due to school.
Wow, that's a lot of dedication and it obviously pays off! More about you as a person - what's a belief or quote that you live by?
I feel like my favourite quotes change up often but I do often say two things, “You do you”, because who can do you better than yourself, right? You have one life and its all yours so make the most out of it and do what you please, the world’s your oyster, am I right?
“It’s hard work and passion”: this is something else I like to say because working hard and being passionate about something really is the key to success. When you enjoy something that much and you work hard at it, you never know where it might lead you.
Have you ever been afraid of judgment? How do you deal with hateful comments?
I remember when I first started my channel, I was scared people at school would find out. I was already quite a shy person so at the time, yeah, I was quite afraid of judgement...but I guess starting Youtube has really pushed me to disregard others' judgement. When it comes to dealing with hateful comments I am lucky I don’t get many, like honestly they are just trolls and I don’t like to waste my energy on them as I’d rather take in constructive criticism which can help me improve.
Your positive approach towards negativity actually echoes what Kale said - you might want to check out his conversation, Britney! Having learned so much from personal experience, what's the ultimate bit of advice you could give to someone having trouble expressing themselves?
Ah that's interesting that he's an entrepreneur but this really applies to lots of fields. Best advice I can give is there is only one you and you’ve only got this life so you do what’s true to you because what anyone else thinks of you is irrelevant as long as you’re doing what makes you happy, but while being considerate of those around you of course. (The world’s your oyster, like I said earlier!)
Another 17yo youth talked to Woshi recently, and you and Drew seem like such compassionate people and that really shows through! It's contagious, even. Do you think that that's perhaps an aspect of your personality that has contributed to your success on Youtube?
Wow thank you! I wouldn’t quite call it success as I’m still learning a lot, but I am so extremely grateful for those who have supported me and who are on this journey with me because I see it as an endless road as there really is no end to this journey. I believe my personality does come through in my videos as I care a lot about people and I am literally a kid myself so I feel like I can really relate to my viewers.
What does friendship and a support network mean to you amidst all this?
I think taking those first steps into high school and meeting the friends I have today have really shaped me, shaped how I view everything around me, and shown me the importance of returning that support to those around me.
What has Youtube taught you?
Before starting YouTube, I had never realized how much work and effort goes into the creation of a video, so I have found that I’ve learned to appreciate the hard work that goes into the creation of not only content but Youtube companies, advertising, things on media, art, food, etc. So don’t judge so fast when you come across something new because its more than likely that you underestimate the amount of work has been put into it.
Hmmm, that's true. Well, last question: where do you see yourself and your channel in 15 years?
I don’t plan on leaving Youtube anytime soon so I will hopefully be producing more creative content, advancing in my skills and connecting with a larger audience that shares common interests. I also plan on constructing a business that is hopefully fully functioning by then, not entirely sure in what area but I am looking forward to seeing where it leads!
Nice! Business-wise, some young people who've talked to Woshi have achieved mind-blowing things and maybe you guys can chat! I wish you the best of luck with everything you decide to pursue in the future!
Thanks I'll check them out, learning from each other is the point of Woshi right? It was really nice to chat to you!