Social media has become a place where trends are set and people make new connections. YouTube, one the biggest social media platforms, is drawing in more millennials than traditional television.
Although there has been a lot of controversy about YouTubers in the media, not all of them are replicas of Logan Paul. On the platform, you’ll find relatable people in front of the lens. Whether it be through sketches or serious sit-down videos, viewers feel connected and build a community with their favorite YouTubers.
Building her own community, Orly Sharpio (known as Orly Alexandra on YouTube) has more than 50,000 subscribers to whom she offers college advice, shares her beauty routine and vlogs her life experiences. The 21-year-old vlogger studies communication and sociology at Chapman University in Orange, CA. I sat down with Sharpio to discuss how YouTube has grown her entrepreneurial skillset, the pressures of being a role model and what’s next for her channel.
Plamedie Ifasso: When did you first start posting videos on YouTube?
Orly Sharpio: I started making videos when I was a freshman in high school. I wanted to connect with others over my interest in fashion and beauty at the time, and now I continue by making college and lifestyle videos.
PI: How did people first react when you started YouTube?
OS: When I started making videos, YouTube was nowhere near as popular as it is today. Some people thought it was a little weird, but overall people were supportive!
PI: Are you involved with any clubs or sororities on campus?
OS: Yes! I am in a sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. I also have an internship and am in a communication studies honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, and a Greek Life honor society, Order of Omega.
PI: Wow, that’s a lot. How do you manage all of that while having a YouTube channel?
OS: I have found a very good balance managing my YouTube, school work and my social life. School always comes first, then I focus on my time with friends, family and making videos. I am very organized and prioritize what is most important every day.
PI: With your growing subscriber count, people see you as a role model. How do you handle that type of pressure?
OS: I don’t consider myself to really be a role model. I try to be conscious of my words and actions because I hope to have a positive impact and be a good influence to my younger viewers, but I always stay true to myself and hope I am doing my best.
PI: A lot of your videos are structured around giving advice to college students about different issues they may struggle with. How do you decide which issues to highlight and how do you come up with the advice?
OS: I talk about topics that are relevant to me. Currently, I am finishing up college and figuring out my post-grad plans, so that is what I talk about. All throughout making videos I have focused my content on what I experience. I do not try to force content, but rather film my life experiences as they happen.
PI: Nowadays when people become fans of someone, they want to know every aspect of their lives. How do you decide what parts of your life to share online with your audience?
OS: I share as much as I feel comfortable with. I have been very open with my viewers because I believe if I share my experiences truthfully I may be able to connect with them and help them in some way. A lot of stuff I keep to myself though because it’s important to still have a private life.
PI: Has there ever been a moment you wish you hadn’t shared a piece of information online?
OS: There has not been anything I wish I hadn’t shared because everything is a part of my life. In my videos, I have shown past relationships and friendships with people who are no longer in my life, but I do not regret that. People come in and out of your life for a reason; I do not regret showing that.
PI: What are the best and worst parts of being a YouTuber?
OS: The best part is being able to connect with so many people. I met my best friend through YouTube and have been able to get to know so many people. I have had awesome opportunities and have learned so much.
The difficult part about YouTube is keeping up with filming, editing and uploading. It’s a lot of work but it is worth it.
PI: Would you describe your channel as a lifestyle and college focused outlet? If so, has that always been your focus?
OS: When I first started my channel in high school I made hair, makeup and nail tutorials. I also was very into fashion. As I have gotten older, it has turned into mostly a college and lifestyle channel.
PI: What are your current career aspirations? Do you think that YouTube will help or hurt you reach that goal?
OS: I am currently trying to figure out what to do post-graduation. I have many options; YouTube has given me the opportunity to explore various career paths and learn many skills. I think YouTube will help me in the long run.
PI: One big part of being a YouTuber is doing brand deals. Have you done any? If so, how do you decide which brands to work with?
OS: Yes, I do brand deals with companies I support and products I love. I decide to work with a company based on what sort of content they are looking for and if it aligns with my channel.
PI: What do you think being a YouTuber has taught you?
OS: I have learned so much from YouTube. As I manage myself, decide my schedule, organize brand deals and travel on my own for YouTube projects, I have become independent and an entrepreneur. I have learned how to edit, upload, market videos and how to stay true to myself in making videos I want to make.
PI: With so many people following you on your social media, do people often come up to you?
OS: Sometimes people come up to me and say hi as they recognize me from my videos; it is incredible. I have met so many amazing people through making videos and I am so appreciative of those who take time to talk to me.
It really makes me feel like my videos are worthwhile and it means so much to me. At school, lots of fellow students have come up and said hi; I have made some awesome friends from it!
PI: What opportunities or events do you think you would have never experienced because of YouTube?
OS: When I was younger, I traveled to LA and New York for YouTube events. I have been interviewed by Teen Vogue and USA Today, plus I have worked with a bunch of really amazing brands and companies.
I would not have met my best friend without YouTube, or probably ended up at Chapman. There are so many people I have met because of YouTube and I am so grateful.