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.
What do you do when your best friend calls you up out of the blue and says he’s got a movie role for you?
Oh, and also, there’s one catch: You need to be on a plane in, like, an hour.
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That was the phone call Gabby Murray got in January. Her friend Johnny Valentine was on set, filming his next movie, and he’d overheard the producer saying they needed to cast someone to play a nurse. He knew instantly that Murray would be a fit.
“I got on the call with the executive producer’s son, and he sent me the brief for the movie, what it was about, who was in it,” Murray tells Tubefilter. “I was like, ‘This is a pretty big film.'”
She wasn’t kidding. The film–A Walking Miracle, set to release this summer–features stars like Denise Richards, Mickey Rourke, and Daniel, William, and Stephen Baldwin.
Then came the catch. Murray was needed on set that day, and was going to have to fly from North Carolina to Atlanta ASAP. She booked it for the airport, read the script on the plane, and spend six days down south shooting the movie–which meant spending six days with opportunities to talk to the film’s cast and crew, something Murray snapped up.
While A Walking Miracle was her first role, she’s determined not to make it her last. She plans to spend six months in Los Angeles this summer, putting everything she absorbed from her experience into practice.
We’d be remiss not to mention that though all of this is cool, it’s not why Murray is chatting with us today. She just crossed 10 million followers on TikTok, so we’re marking the occasion with a special 10M edition of Millionaires.
Check out our talk with her below.
@gabby_murrayy Replying to @emiscool1012 behind the scenes of my last video! ♀️ should i wear this for halloween??? #tutorial #bts #behindthescenes #trend ♬ BASSFACE MELTDOWN – Nick
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Let’s start super basic. For anybody who’s reading this and maybe isn’t familiar with you, can you give me a little bit of background on you, where you’re from, and what you did before you got on TikTok and YouTube?
Gabby Murray Murray: Yes! I grew up in South Florida, and I still am living here right now. I used to play soccer. I was a very athletic kid. I did soccer for nine years. I did MMA for nine years as well. I’m a second-degree black belt, and I was just a very athletic kid. I always was a very into creating and entertaining people. I would put on shows for my family members in terms of singing or dancing, my cousins and I’d pin them against the wall if they didn’t help me choreograph the dance to show to our family that they did not care about at all. No, I just really love entertaining and I always was really into creating and movies especially, I would rewatch Hocus Pocus a million, trillion times.
Tubefilter: Excellent taste.
Gabby Murray: Spider-Man. Yes, the Hocus Pocus is my main, but I would pretend to be the characters. I would dress up as characters. I would try and recreate different scenes. I actually ended up making the Green Goblin from Toby McGuire’s Spider-Man, the first one. I actually recreated the Green Goblin’s board out of cardboard, I think. I don’t know, I would just make my own props. I would say, “Hey mom, my name isn’t–” She’d call me Gabriela is my name, obviously, but I would say, “No, I’m this person,” and she thought I was crazy, but anyways, I just thought very creative kid. That’s what I did before social media.
Tubefilter: Okay. That was a good rundown. Thank you. How old are you?
Gabby Murray: I’m 21.
Tubefilter: Oh, okay. Man, what timing. Did you go to college?
Gabby Murray: No. I did dual enrollment, though. I have half of my associate’s degree in terms of how many credits you need. I have half of that. I did do college, I suppose when I was in high school. I did both and then decided that it wasn’t really for me in terms of we were going to see just obviously college takes up a lot of time and it’s very expensive. My family, we don’t come from money at all, and my mom never did that whole where you put money in as when we were kids kind of thing. We really had no money for college at all. Scholarships are cool, and I was eligible for Bright Futures and all that, et cetera. It wasn’t really for me.
Tubefilter: That’s totally understandable. Also, timing-wise, you would’ve been a freshman right at the beginning of COVID.
Gabby Murray: I know.
Tubefilter: You got lucky.
Gabby Murray: I know! That was another thing too. I think COVID really just pushed me also away from college because a lot of people they’re just like, “Oh, take, take a gap year. COVID, you don’t want to go into college and spend all this money for only online classes at the time, because they were doing that.” I didn’t. It kind of worked out.
@gabby_murrayy Replying to @.maci.30 ♬ super freaky girl nicki minaj out now – #1 nicki defender
Tubefilter: When did your social media journey start?
Gabby Murray: When Musical.ly was a thing?
Tubefilter: Oh, musical.ly–you’re an OG then.
Gabby Murray: Yes, I was on it for a while.
Tubefilter: Were you too young for Vine?
Gabby Murray: Yes, I was.
Tubefilter: Okay, but Musical.ly took off…Must have been when you were in high school, then.
Gabby Murray: Yes. I was a freshman in high school. It started to get a little bit bigger. I was getting made fun of for it.
Tubefilter: Look at you now.
Gabby Murray: Yes. That’s what I like to say! I’m like, “Yes, look what happened.” But yes, I started out musical.ly. For me, it didn’t really take off until it became TikTok. That’s when my social media grew like crazy. I think that was primarily because I wasn’t really a huge fan of doing these lip-sync videos with the arms when they used to hold the phone. That was trending at the time on Musical.ly. Then when TikTok became a thing that died. Then there were other creators trying to push other creative things.
That’s where I flourish in terms of, I used to do crazy editing videos. I would spend upwards of at least five hours for one TikTok, which is crazy to me now. I still like to do those types of videos, but I keep it more relatable lifestyle-based, but also throughout my editing now, but back to back then I started on Musical.ly. Wait, I just totally answered your question, but then I started talking about other things.
Tubefilter: If somebody’s never seen your videos, what would you say is your genre? What can they expect if they tune into one of your videos?
Gabby Murray: Kind of like very lifestyle based, but also I utilize the effects and what you can do within the app, the short-form apps, like filters and stuff. That’s what I would say.
Tubefilter: I know you tried some long-form too, a while ago. It’s not like you were unsuccessful with long-form. Your views were good on that too. But do you prefer short form?
Gabby Murray: I do. Highly, very much so, yes.
Tubefilter: What makes short-form so much more appealing to you?
Gabby Murray: For me, I personally just enjoyed watching short-form content more because I have very bad ADHD, and I can only keep my attention span is only so long, to be honest. In terms of I don’t know, like every day I love the short-form hits of dopamine, it’s just my thing. Then short-form content too, I feel like it’s just more enjoyable for me to create and it’s less stressful for me in terms of, I’m a perfectionist, and if something isn’t perfect in my mind, I don’t do well with that.
I think long-form was just very intimidating for me in the long run, and also, I only really was consuming short-form content, so why would I try and make something that I don’t even really know? I don’t watch stuff.
Tubefilter: No, I get you. Do you do all your own editing yourself?
Gabby Murray: Yes. Yes, I do. I learned on my own too.
Gabby Murray: Yes.
@gabby_murrayy please help me convince her!!! ill film everything & drive back to GA to pick her up #trend #catsoftiktok ♬ EVIL TWINNN – ✰ .
Tubefilter: Did you just pick up things you liked from other creators, from watching all that short-form content? Or how did your editing develop?
Gabby Murray: It developed through dreams that I’ve had. I’ve talked about this in the past, but basically, I would get some weird dreams. I don’t know if it was the melatonin I was taking, not really sure, but I would come up with some crooked ideas and I was a huge fan of the show, Stranger Things. All these effects that they were doing with Eleven’s character where she was moving stuff, closing doors, all this stuff.
There was a trending sound on TikTok and it was of Eleven saying something. I don’t even remember what she was saying, [laughs] but she was mad, and people were just acting out the character, but I had this idea where if I took the idea of– Because people at the time cloning was a big thing on TikTok. It wasn’t as big as it became. This is a while ago, but it was, people knew what it was, people knew how to do it. I took that editing style and I made my door close with my hand, so I did this and then the door closed.
That has never been done. I’ve never seen that on TikTok. I just thought about it in my head. I was like, “Oh, this is genius. No one’s ever done this.” From what I’ve seen, and it did really well, and so that’s how it started for me. Then I just learned through spending hours editing my own videos and trying different things.
Tubefilter: Got you. Very cool. Do you remember if there was a specific video where your TikTok really started to take off? Or a specific period in time?
Gabby Murray: I want to say it was that video. I want to say that was right when TikTok was a thing.
Tubefilter: Early 2020 then? 2019?
Gabby Murray: 2019. I would say that 2019, that was a big year for me.
Tubefilter: You’re at 10 million, which is not an insignificant number. How did your growth do from then to now? Was it steady growth?
Gabby Murray: Honestly, there was a period of time where I was growing at like almost 100K every couple days.
Tubefilter: That’s wild.
Gabby Murray: It was nuts. That was at the peak of the slow-mo. Slow-mo trends were a thing. Transitions in terms of hair flips, slow-mo was a thing and I was the queen of that. That’s how people knew me. “Your edits are crazy.” I would just do all these crazy things with editing, and that’s really what launched me. Then when that started to die off, obviously if you don’t conform to the different trends, or if you don’t change the content, but I’ll also keep doing what you’re doing and be unique to you, but if you don’t evolve with the algorithm and the people that are flowing in and out of these apps, you’re not going to stick.
Then it became really focused on– What would I do? I would do the DIY stuff. I would do tie dyeing. I would do arts and crafts. I would go to Hobby Lobby, I would just find this paper mache unicorn and I would paint it. Very artsy crafty stuff, that was a thing for a while. Now it’s transitioned into more of like, beauty, everybody’s doing their makeup and talking about– You feel like you’re on a FaceTime call with everybody. It’s relatable content, it’s easy, it’s quick, it’s engaging.
Then I also do the transition stuff because people love that too, behind the scenes. People love that as well to see what is really like filming these videos? What goes through your head? What’s the creative process like? People want to see that and that’s where we’re at now. I hope that answers your question. I ramble a lot.
Tubefilter: This is your full-time thing. What’s your current production schedule like? Do you have a set publication schedule?
Gabby Murray: Consistency is key. I really don’t think it’s the quantity in how much you’re posting, I think it’s just really how consistent you are, and so I try and stay consistent with like one YouTube short a day. Then in terms of TikTok I’ll just post whenever, to be honest with you. That algorithm’s so strange. I’m trying to throw up a video a couple times a week on TikTok, but I’m really trying to focus more on the YouTube space and trying to grow that with shorts, because that’s the new hot thing right now.
Tubefilter: Can you talk about that a little bit? Are you cross-posting your TikTok content to YouTube? How did you start your YouTube channel?
Gabby Murray: I started the YouTube channel, honestly, before TikTok, YouTube was always a thing.
Tubefilter: Just in terms of short-form, how did you start uploading short-form?
Gabby Murray: Well, when YouTube Shorts became a thing on YouTube, I just posted videos that I had already done on TikTok. I would just repost content that I’ve posted on other platforms. It’s interesting because the content that doesn’t perform well in TikTok always does well in shorts. I don’t really know why.
Tubefilter: That was my next question, actually. I think almost everybody says to me that if something does really well on YouTube, it doesn’t work on TikTok. If something does really well on TikTok, it doesn’t work on YouTube.
Gabby Murray: There’s an inverse relationship with it. I don’t know what it is. It’s really interesting.
@gabby_murrayy Reply to @simply.lub behind the scenes of my last video! this one came out cool #bts #behindthescenes #trend #tutorial ib:@paigetaylor.s ♬ neva cared polo g –
Tubefilter: Do you notice a difference in audience between the two?
Gabby Murray: Yes, I do actually. I do. I think TikTok for me is primarily very young people, younger people. I always have people coming up to me– I’ll know immediately. If I’m in public somewhere, “Can I get a picture with you?” I know exactly where they’re from, depending on their age. Usually the older teenagers are YouTube, Snapchat, and then Snapchat for me I’ve had people my age and older come up to me for Snapchat, but then it’s usually this very young like 10 to 15-year-olds, I would say 10 to 13 come up to me for TikTok. It’s really interesting to see that. Maybe that’s the reason, I’m not sure, or they’re just different algorithms, which they are because they are different platforms.
Tubefilter: That is interesting. Are you making separate content at all now?
Gabby Murray: Yes. Now I am. I still do cross–whatever you said.
Gabby Murray: Cross-posting! I had a brain fart. I know what it was, but the word wasn’t coming.
Tubefilter: Don’t worry. Happens to us all.
Gabby Murray: Cross-posting, I did every once in a while, but I try and produce more content on Shorts that is original and I’m trying to do that more currently.
Tubefilter: What made you want to build your presence on YouTube more?
Gabby Murray: I think YouTube definitely is always going to be there. It definitely is more guaranteed than TikTok. I know TikTok has a lot of different things that are happening. You hear all these things that it’s going to be a banned in this place and this place and this place. I think with YouTube also it’s been there and it’s always going to be there because it’s Google. I think it’s more secure than TikTok and I think that’s really why I want to do it because it’s my job and also I want to keep doing this. I love what I do.
Then with YouTube as well, I think the difference between a YouTube subscriber’s loyalty versus a TikTok follower is so different. I think 100,000 subscribers on YouTube is like a million followers on TikTok. I think that’s really how it is in terms of their loyalty and such. I think growing a YouTube audience would be super cool and beneficial to me in what I want to keep doing.
Tubefilter: I agree. When did you join The Network Effect?
Gabby Murray: Oh my gosh, I literally just signed with them, I want to say like Jan. 1.
Tubefilter: Oh, congratulations. How have they been helping you?
Gabby Murray: They’re just goated. They have a lot of different relationships with different brands and different partners in the platforms. They just really help us and guide us into building our own narratives. I speak for not just the– Obviously there are other creators as well. That’s why I said our, as a community narratives and they’re different than any other management that I’ve ever worked with because they’re very interested in not really like the short term relationships, not even with just brands, but with different partners and you as a person, they’re really interested in building a long-term connections with their partners and with brands and with us too, as creators, with them, they’re great. It’s very different building out the narratives.
Tubefilter: I’m curious because I’ve interviewed Alyssa McKay as well, and she’s also represented by them.
Gabby Murray: My girl Alyssa.
Tubefilter: I know she just landed a really cool acting gig. I was curious–you mentioned, are you interested in acting too?
Gabby Murray: I am. I’ve been taking classes for about four or five years now. It’s my thing. I actually just shot a movie, my first movie–
Tubefilter: Wait, what?
Gabby Murray: I did! It’s called A Walking Miracle. It comes out in April, I don’t know the exact date. It’s not a main part. It’s not a main role. I just finished that. I’m actually moving to Atlanta for six months in February in a couple of days to pursue that a little bit deeper. Also producing and directing is something that I really want to get into as well. I think that’s just the next stepping stone for me in terms of the social media stuff. Social media is a stepping stone to get to this. Acting is something that I’ve always been interested in and I love doing. It’s so fun. I love it. It’s so fun.
@gabby_murrayy Reply to @preppy.magnus26 behind the scenes of my last video! this one came out better then expected #bts #behindthescenes #tutorial #trend ♬ GUY.exe – Superfruit
Tubefilter: That’s awesome! Tell me more about how you got this. How did you get this acting part?
Gabby Murray: Oh, my God. My friend Johnny Valentine, I’ve been in one of his music videos before, this one’s called Into You. He’s an artist and a social media actor. He does it all. He’s an actor, which is crazy. He’s starring in his first movie. He’s a lead role in the movie. He plays Patrick and he’s the lead, and he overheard somebody on set saying that they needed to cast a nurse.
Gabby Murray: They needed to cast a nurse for this role. It was the first day of shooting. He goes up to them, he’s like, “Hey, I overheard you guys saying you need a nurse. I got the perfect person. Let me give her a call.” He gives me a little ring. I just woke up it was like 09:00 A.M. I just woke up, my friend was coming into town. I had a lot of things going on. He said, “Gabby Murray, I’ve got a role for you in this movie.” I’m like, “What are you saying right now?”
He’s like, “I’m on set, this movie,” blah, blah, blah, blah. I got on the call with the executive producer’s son, and he hooked me up, he sent me the brief for the movie, what it was about, who was in it. I was like, this is a pretty big film. I’m like, “Yo.” He’s like, “We need you in Atlanta today.”
Tubefilter: Super easy.
Gabby Murray: “We’re going to send you the script on the plane. We need you here today.” I was there for a couple…like five or six days shooting the movie. It was really fun. It was a great experience. I was there. Actually, I flew my friend out because she was supposed to be coming in from North Carolina. I was like, “Karen, I’m so sorry, but I have to go shoot this movie, apparently.” So random, I didn’t even audition for it, it just happened. Every day I’m like, “Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
That was so cool. I love him. He’s great. He’s super talented, too, so I can’t wait for it to come out there until– he’s the lead and it’s his first movie. He’s so talented. I feel exited.
Tubefilter: You said you’re moving to Atlanta, do you have anything booked or you just down there to be around the same scene?
Gabby Murray: I’m down there to be around the same scene. Everybody was very, very kind and nice. I got some really good information from some of the extras that were on set. They were also playing the nurses and stuff and so I got to pick their brains because they all live there. Obviously, as an extra, it’s usually people that are localized. We were shooting the movie in Atlanta, and I was like, “I was thinking about moving out here for a little while.” I wasn’t sure about it at the time. I think about moving out here for a little while, what do you guys think? I was picking their brains with different acting classes to take and what to avoid, people to avoid.
I have it all written down. I’m like, “I’m just going to send it, go to Atlanta for six months, study, work, take classes, meet people, make connections.” You know what? If nothing comes out of it, then nothing comes out of it, I’ll try again next time or I’ll just try and make these connections with other people. To answer your question, nothing is booked I’m just winging it. Why not, change of scenery.
Tubefilter: Gotcha. What other plans or goals do you have for this year, then?
Gabby Murray: For this year, I guess just to continue to grow my YouTube Shorts and my other platforms, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat. I said YouTube, I said TikTok too. Anyway, you know what I mean?
Tubefilter: I know what you mean, yes.
Gabby Murray: Just to continue to grow in that aspect and also, obviously work on my craft in terms of the acting, directing, producing, field, try and get my foot in the door a little bit more. Obviously, the connections that I made with the movie were phenomenal. Actually, the director is Daniel Baldwin and Steven Baldwin also in the movie, Denise Richard, Billy Baldwin, Dean Cain. There’s, like a whole bunch of stars, which is really cool.
It was cool to pick their brains about it, too. I guess just to learn more about that front of it, because it’s a totally different situation, but it is a stepping stone. Social media, I’m going to use as a stepping stone to get to that point. That’s the goals for this year.
Tubefilter: Perfect. That’s essentially the end of my questions, unless there’s anything else you wanted to talk about? Anything else you feel like people should know?
Gabby Murray: Yes. I would like to say that I hope everybody smiles today. That’s what I would like to say. I hope that you smile and have a great day and remember your half. Oh, my gosh. I’m so tired. It’s Monday. Hello. Your glass is half full. If it’s half full, it’s never half empty. It’s always going to be half full. If you look at life in that– that’s some deep but I try and just spread that to everybody and just smile. If your glass is half full, it’s half full, it’s not half empty, you know what I’m saying?
Tubefilter: That’s it.
Gabby Murray: That’s it.