Bethany Mota began making Web videos when she was 13 years old. Home schooled and cyber bullied, the California teen says she used YouTube as an outlet, a "safe place" for herself and anyone like her. From make-up tutorials to fashion chats to DIY, six years in, she is one of the biggest YouTube stars with more than 9.1 million subscribers.
Mota, now 19, was one of 12 YouTube creators chosen to take part in a "speed dating" session during last week's VidCon in Anaheim, Calif., meeting for 10 minutes with multiple brands.
"I met with Maybelline and L'Oréal," the 2014 Dancing With the Stars finalist said. "They're some of my favorite brands, and just meeting them in person and getting that sit-down time is nice."
After the speed dates, we sat down with Mota to talk more about her life online.
Adweek: Who are some of the brands you're working with now?
Mota: I don't work with too many brands. I don't have many partnerships. The one brand that I do work a lot with and that I do partner with is Aeropostale. I've been working with them for about two years now. I created a clothing line with them, which is so fun because that's something I've wanted to do. They're a great example of what I like to do. When I work with brands, they give me a lot of creative freedom, and they trust me when it comes to talking about the products. And they really trust my ideas and vision. And I trust them as well. So it's been a really great relationship together.
You've been doing this since you were 13. At what point did you think, I could make a career out of this?
I don't know if there's a specific time where I thought, 'Wow, this is my job.' I never really wanted to think of it as a job because I just really started it as a hobby, and I didn't want it to be anything more than that. But I think when I just started to see the channel grow, I was just very thankful that people were enjoying what I was putting out, and the fact that I can make this what I do for a living is so amazing to me.
What's your process like?
What I love to do at the end of the day is to create things. I love to have an idea in my head and make that become real. When I have a different idea, I go out and shoot it, edit it and put it together, and then that's my project that I made and I'm so proud of. The fact that I can do this for as long as I can … I told my viewers, "I'll make videos until I'm 60 if you guys want to watch them!"
You're very close to achieving YouTube's new "Diamond Play Button" status of 10 million subscribers. How does that feel?
That is mind-blowing. Oh my goodness. It just goes back to never thinking that I would reach 20,000 subscribers. It's just not something you really think about. And I'm just doing what I love and that's my main goal. I've never focused so much on the view count or subscribers. I've always just wanted to create content for my existing subscribers instead of focusing on how many more people I can get to my channel. I've always seen myself as my own competition, so it's always about improving. And the fact that so many people enjoy it is just icing on the cake.