Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each creator has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments here.
When Jasmine Shao started her YouTube channel in 2016, she knew exactly what sort of videos she wanted to make.
As a high schooler, Shao had become a dedicated member of Tumblr‘s “studyblr” community. For those who didn’t have a stint on Tumblr before Yahoo bought and tanked it, the #studyblr hashtag was a hub of productivity where users congregated to keep themselves and others on target with homework and test prep. And, because Tumblr was so photo-heavy, #studyblr also saw a fair amount of users posting their aesthetically pleasing shots of things like school supplies and class notes.
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After the aforementioned Yahoo/Tumblr tanking happened, studyblr’s inhabitants had to find new grounds. Some of them, like Shao, went to YouTube–and their early “study with me” videos helped build studytube into the major genre it is today.
For Shao, studytube’s growing popularity means her videos are seeing more traffic than ever. Some things have changed in the past five years: she’s now a sophomore at UCLA, has a lot more videography experience, and has warmed up to being in front of the camera instead of just behind.
But not everything is different. Shao’s very first YouTube video explored what was in her pencil bag, and if you take a peek at her latest upload, you’ll see that her current content is comfortingly familiar–and straight from the nostalgic halls of #studyblr.
Check out our chat with her below.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your followers?
Jasmine Shao: It’s absolutely insane, it doesn’t quite feel real. I would just want to thank everyone who has supported my channel!
Tubefilter: Tell us about you! Where are you from? What did you get up to before you launched a YouTube channel?
JS: I’m Jasmine, and I’m currently a UCLA student from San Jose, California. I started YouTube when I was really young. Before I started YouTube, I had a Tumblr blog about studying and was fairly active in the studyblr community.
Tubefilter: You started your channel five years ago, while you were still in high school, and your content has been very consistent since then! What made you want to produce study with me/get ready with me/other day-in-the-life-style videos?
JS: These were the types of videos I liked to watch. It was calming and fun to kind of hang out or study with someone through internet videos.
Tubefilter: You’re now a UCLA sophomore. How has your channel and content evolved? Has anything changed for you personally about how you approach content and what you want to achieve with your videos?
JS: Since the start of my channel, I’ve always had a more academic focus because my life overall has had a more academic focus. However, one thing that has changed is my approach to making videos. I used to avoid showing my face or talking about myself, but now my content has a bit more of my personality infused in it. I also feel that I’ve become less focused on constant productivity, and instead am taking a healthier approach to getting things done.
Tubefilter: How long does the average video take to make from conception to upload?
JS: The average video will take around 10 hours from start to finish.
Tubefilter: Do you have any strategies for growing your audience? Have you noticed any particular kind of content getting more traction than others? Do you adjust what you film depending on how your viewers react?
JS: I don’t really know, to be honest. I usually just make videos that I would want to watch, and hope that others will respond well. I do pay attention to which videos seem to get a response from a wider audience or a deeper response from a narrow audience so I can keep making content that benefits others.
Tubefilter: As you know, study with me/get ready with me/similar videos are hugely popular on YouTube. How do you make your videos stand out from the rest in the genre?
JS: I think I stood out because I was one of the earlier channels in the studytube genre. Now, I try my best to make my videos as aesthetically pleasing as possible, since I’ve learned a lot of videography and design skills since I started my channel.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content on YouTube?
JS: I love to make and edit videos! Editing is my favorite part of the whole process.
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel? Any plans looking to the future?
JS: I’d love to keep making videos for as long as I find it fulfilling. But nothing is set in stone, as my life will change drastically as I move through college and beyond.