Think YouTubing (yes, this is a verb now) is just a hobby for bored teenagers? Think again. Last month, Forbes released its list of the world’s highest-paid YouTube stars, several of whom raked in millions of dollars in the past year alone. The YouTube elite come from diverse backgrounds and age groups, and create content on a variety of topics such as: health/fitness, beauty/fashion, gaming, cooking, etc. By amassing thousands (and millions!) of followers, several YouTubers have been able to build influential brands, launch products, and attract earnings from advertisers—often from the comfort of their homes.
YouTube videos are my background noise of choice when I am getting dressed, cooking, cleaning, and dare I admit —procrastinating. I’ve learned make-up techniques, how to cook new dishes, workout routines, and even how to fix electronics from YouTube University. But mostly, I simply get a good laugh.
If you barely have the time or attention span to watch a full TV show or a movie, or simply just need a bite-sized dose of escapism, here are 5 of my favorite YouTubers (in no particular order):
1. Patricia Bright (UK)
Patricia Bright is like one big happy pill. She is always so full of life, and her ‘glow-up’ has been inspiring to watch. Her videos cover a range of topics including how to save money, skin care tips, developing confidence, and fashion. Her diary style vlogs with her husband are also so much fun. Once a business analyst with Merrill Lynch, she quit her job to focus on her YouTube career and other ventures. Since then, she has worked with top brands like Nike and Harrods. She also recently landed a cameo role on a British television show. Need a dose of positive energy? Patricia is the one to watch.
2. Chanel Boateng (UK)
The first video of Chanel’s that I watched was a very raw one, where she spoke openly about surviving a late term miscarriage of twins. While some people criticized her decision to discuss her miscarriage, I’m glad she did. Too many women suffer similar experiences in silence. Even though her make up and plus size fashion videos are quite popular, it’s Chanel’s brave vulnerability that keeps me going back to her page. Amongst other things, she has discussed her weight, her experience as a single mother before she got married, dealing with facial hair, and her faith journey. Recently, Chanel announced a make up line she will be launching called Amby Rose. Watching a woman share her pain, and find success on the other side of that pain has been truly heartening. Looking for a YouTuber who keeps it real? Chanel is my go-to.
3. Cambria Joy (USA)
Cambria Joy’s Youtube page is where I go for fitness motivation. She once battled an eating disorder, and is using her experience to promote positive body image, and to inspire women to live healthy lifestyles. I enjoy her recipe videos most. Thanks to the fact that her videos are geared towards students (I am definitely older than her target demographic), her recipes are budget friendly and easy to make (which works just great for me!). I drink a green smoothie I learned how to make from one of her videos almost every day. Falling of the fitness wagon? Head to Cambria’s channel!
4. Shirley Eniang (UK)
Anyone who is into YouTube—British/Beauty YouTube at least—knows Shirley Eniang is the Queen Bee. She is best known for her fashion videos, and her obsession with neutral colors in particular. Shirley is a mathematician, and there’s just something about her precision with fashion, and the quality editing of her videos. Her style is what I would describe as ‘flawless minimalist.’ Need to upgrade your closet? Shirley’s channel has tips for you.
5. Toke Makinwa (Nigeria)
Last, but definitely not least: Nigerian "it girl" Toke Makinwa. I first ‘discovered’ Toke when she was a guest panelist on a Nigerian talk show, Moments With Mo. During the episode, which was centered on relationships, Toke opened up about hers, stating: "It hasn't always been a smooth sail. I can say that on national TV because I'm real, and I am honest enough to help other women know that there've been times when he's hurt me, and there've been times when I've thought, you know I can do better than this, what am I doing here? And there've also been times when you know who the person is, and you also know he's probably going through something of his own, and I had to learn, you cheated on me because you're insecure about something in your life..." I thought, WOW, who is this down to earth woman? A couple of months later, I discovered her YouTube page, and she has made me burst out laughing far too many times. Whether it’s satire like ‘How to Get Married Naija [Nigerian] Style,’ or her advice for healthy smelling female parts, Toke Makinwa has my attention. Her place in my heart was sealed when I watched her endure a very public scandal relating to her marriage with grace. She didn’t hide or pretend it never happened. Instead, she addressed the issue, and kept it moving. In the notoriously pretentious society that is Lagos, her authenticity is refreshing.
So what about you? Do you have any favorite Youtubers not on this list? I’d love to hear about them. Please comment below or share with me on my social media pages!