As people have moved from big screens to, err, smaller screens – and now to slightly bigger ones again, because plus-sized smartphones are becoming increasingly trendy – YouTube has continued to soar to new heights in popularity. We’ve all heard of some of the bigger YouTube stars (Zoella, anyone?) but you’ve probably heard less about the smaller, newer YouTubers ready and willing to make their mark on the growing scene. Well listen up: they’re about to bring something new to the table, and this is something you don’t want to miss…
I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle and Aline Dufflocq Williams, two sisters living in Montana, USA, but carving out truly international audiences, right from the comfort of their own home. I wanted to find out what the YouTube world is like from their perspective as content creators. Here’s what they had to say.
I suppose the best place to begin is at the start: why did you decide to start your own YouTube channel?
Aline: It honestly was such a natural process. We got started just posting funny videos and covers of songs on Facebook for our friends to see, but when we received a lot of positive feedback it was a light bulb moment. We had watched a lot of YouTubers for a while but it had never seemed like something we could do. It always seemed like too big of a risk, like we weren’t “YouTuber material”. Once we stopped caring so much about what people thought and we began getting used to being on camera, things sort of fell into place.
Michelle: It also helped that we were in it together from the start. Being in front of the camera can be quite daunting, especially when you’re going to share a video on the Internet. It’s so much easier to let go and just have fun when we’re filming together since we are sisters but also best friends. Being “awkward on camera” was one of the biggest things holding us back from starting a channel; but when we film together, we just feed off of each other’s energy and it’s easy to forget about the camera and just have fun. We’ve always been extremely creative and loved filming and editing videos too, so it was definitely right up our alley.
Who are some of your favourite YouTubers to watch in your free time?
Michelle and Aline: That’s a really hard question to answer because our YouTube subscription box is absolutely flooded with so many different and amazing YouTubers. We love watching Zoella, Colleen Ballinger (PsychoSoprano), Alisha Marie, Dan Howell (danisnotonfire), Estee Lalonde and Cambria Joy to name a few.
You now have over 10,000 subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views. Did you ever think when you were starting out that your videos would gain such traction, and why do you think people enjoy watching your content so much?
Michelle: As huge fans of YouTube, we always aspired to grow our channel and it’s been a dream of ours to turn this passion into a career for a very long time. However, in the beginning we had absolutely no idea what to expect and what the reactions to our content would be.
Aline: At first we had honestly no idea what we were doing; and spent video after video inhaling helium, shoving marshmallows into our mouths and throwing coloured chalk in the air. We didn’t really know what direction we wanted to take our channel and who we wanted our audience to be, or if we’d ever gain an audience at all. But once we decided to become a beauty, fashion and lifestyle channel I think it became easier to gain an audience. We bring something new to the table in that regard, that’s what we’ve been told anyway. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, we’re not afraid of being a bit weird and we pride ourselves on being genuine. We might talk about our clothes and makeup but I’d like to think that people stick around for people behind them.
What can we expect to see from you in 2016? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions about what to achieve this year?
Michelle: It was around halfway through 2015 that we decided to invest more in our channel. We’ve been focusing a lot on the quality of our videos and paying attention to what our viewers enjoy seeing from us. We’ve been working so hard on our videos and have been so proud of the content we’ve been putting out recently. In 2016 we want to keep up this hard work but try out different things on our channel and be more creative and unique with the videos we make.
Aline: We also want to try to solidify our presence in the YouTube community itself, we want to build stronger relationships with fellow content creators and work at collaborating with them. At this point being able to be found is a big part of building our audience, with so many aspiring YouTubers it’s not easy for your videos to pop up in someone’s “what to watch” section. So getting our name out there is going to be a serious goal for the New Year.
Finally, what would be your advice to fellow aspiring YouTubers?
Michelle: It takes a lot of work to become successful on YouTube these days so you have to absolutely love it to make it worthwhile. Don’t do it for the fame or for the money because that will get you nowhere. Make sure you’re being yourself and rocking what you’ve got because people can tell when you’re being fake. No one can ever be you, use that to your advantage!
Aline: Be consistent. Be yourself. You’ll never get anywhere if you’re lazy because there are so many people wanting to do what you want to do but at the same time what’s the point if you’re not having fun?
To find out more about Michelle and Aline, check out their social media links below!
All photos © Michelle and Aline; this article was first printed in the March 2016 issue of ‘The Stag’, the magazine of the students of the University of Surrey.