It seemed fitting when the teen-favorite periodical Seventeen Magazine announced its October 2015 issue would highlight 30 different YouTubers, featuring Bethany Mota on the cover. As this issue hits stands today, editor-in-chief Ann Shoket took to the official YouTube blog to explain why the magazine and its readers are so enamored with these young stars.
Shoket primarily cites the down-to-earth, approachable lifestyles and attitudes most YouTube celebrities have compared to traditional media stars. She states that “on YouTube, we root for the people who are sort of unpolished, a little weird even. We connect with them because they show us their authentic selves, because they are accessible to us.”
A survey conducted by Variety recently confirmed this accessibility idea. Several questions were posed to U.S. teens about how “real” the survey’s selected new media and traditional media celebrities appeared. The results were more in favor of YouTubers like Smosh and The Fine Bros than stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Radcliffe.
While these questions are naturally bent towards the interactive nature of YouTube’s platform, Shoket believes the ability to be open and, in a sense, vulnerable, allows creators to develop a virtual “tribe” which is made up of fans who feel connected to the creators themselves. She references cover girl Bethany Mota’s struggle with bullying and how YouTube was a safe, fulfilling outlet for her to overcome those issues.
“It’s liberating to surround yourself with people who just get you,” Shoket writes. “The power of finding your tribe on YouTube is creating a space where it’s okay to be 100 percent you!”
Seventeen’s decision to highlight these new media stars sends a clear message to young teens growing up in a world full of heightened expectations. The magazine wants its readers to know being real is where it’s at, just like their favorite stars emulate on the screen every day.
Image by Erin Kestenbaum for The Everygirl