If you possess any familiarity with the happenings of the online sphere in 2015, you know about the rise of BuzzFeed. From its birth in 2006, the venture has remained a source of entertainment for both casual viewers and diehard fans alike. Over the years, BuzzFeed has developed an extensive repertoire of material that fits all types of audiences.
However, because of the difficulties associated with working with the company, creators have begun using their skills to cultivate their own public identity — after leaving BuzzFeed. Below is a list of prominent ex-BuzzFeed employees who have taken their talents and transferred them into other endeavors.
1. The Try Guys
Several comedy groups have joined the YouTube platform and garnered subscribers from their content. However, the quartet known as The Try Guys has made a particular mark on the video-sharing network. The men have maintained a consistent presence on YouTube and have produced videos since 2014; in recent years, The Try Guys have taken their online fame and used it to churn out work offline as well.
In June 2018, the four friends announced that they had left BuzzFeed, started their own independent production company and bought the rights from the digital media giant. The Try Guys recognized that although BuzzFeed exposed them to numerous opportunities, they desperately wanted to grow beyond the brand. Additionally, the foursome desired to make content “in a more traditional sense.”
Now, The Try Guys own a company, 2nd Try LLC, with nearly two dozen staff members, and boast a YouTube channel with more than 7.5 million subscribers. At this moment in time, their page has earned almost 2 billion views.
Plans for the group include a Food Network show called “No Recipe Road Trip with the Try Guys,” which will follow a similar format to their YouTube series “Without A Recipe.” The special will premiere on Discovery+ and Food Network later this year.
Overall, The Try Guys have accomplished their goal of developing a brand beyond BuzzFeed and continue to work hard to expand their goals, growing beyond BuzzFeed and shooting for the stars.
2. Safiya Nygaard
For several years now, experimental-style videos have dominated the world of YouTube; however, viewers have progressively grown tired of their grating and saccharine nature. One exception, though, is YouTuber Safiya Nygaard. Fans have fallen in love with her candid personality and dry sense of humor, both of which nicely complement the over-the-top nature of her videos.
Unlike other popular channels of this niche genre, Nygaard does not shy away from the chaotic reality of her experiments. Often, they do not result in success or leave behind a spotless scene. Nygaard usually plays with cosmetics and creates zany combinations with them — all of which either create an entertaining mess or an aesthetically pleasing product.
This strange tradition led to the 29-year-old’s release of a lipstick collection in collaboration with ColourPop.
Moreover, Nygaard frequently displays her receptiveness to discuss various aspects of her life (e.g., her relationship with her husband, Tyler Williams); in other words, she has a relatively transparent, open relationship with her supporters. Because of this, critics have characterized her as a “breath of fresh air.”
Additionally, Nygaard’s uploads employ a wide variety of professional editing techniques that heighten the quality of her content and awaken the interest of potential followers. She left BuzzFeed and created her channel in early 2017 because she wanted increased communication with her fanbase and ownership of her work. Since the page’s formation, Nygaard’s viewership has grown exponentially — right now, she sits at 9.2 million subscribers.
3. Quinta Brunson
Not one BuzzFeed alumnus has successfully transcended online stardom as well as Quinta Brunson. Brunson is an American producer, comedian and actress who gained prominence for her relatability and witticisms. Videos, such as “What It’s Like Being The Only Black Friend,” have captured millions of people’s attention and helped establish her as one of BuzzFeed’s most prominent video stars.
In 2018, Brunson left the company and quickly worked on developing her résumé further. She explained to the BuzzFeed audience that she simply felt like she needed to move on.
“For me, it felt like college and you have to graduate from college,” Brunson said. “And I think it was really just time for me to graduate.”
However, the Philadelphia native added that she forever feels “fortunate to have had the experience” and “to have been able to support [herself] and not only [herself], but others.”
In response to the widely held belief that BuzzFeed has “fallen off,” Brunson provided a novel perspective to the discussion.
“YouTube has changed, the algorithm has changed, the internet has changed. And I think when I was there, it was like a special moment in time,” she declared. “And not because I was there but because it was … Everything was blowing up.”
Since leaving BuzzFeed, Brunson has provided voice work for animated TV shows like “Lazor Wulf” and “Big Mouth,” starred in the first season of the HBO series “A Black Lady Sketch Show” and helmed the forthcoming ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” Her rapidly growing celebrity status proves that the world just cannot get enough of her talents.
4. Michelle Khare
“If you want to do entertainment, you should make a YouTube channel,” Khare’s younger sibling suggested. “And you should do it about something that nobody else can do: cycling comedy.”
Unfortunately, while working at BuzzFeed as a full-time content producer, she encountered heavy restrictions with her channel “due to potential conflicts of interests”; therefore, it remained dormant.
After leaving BuzzFeed in 2016, Khare began focusing on her channel again and returned to uploading high-stakes, athletically based videos. Her most recent post showcases her attempts to perfect a backflip in 24 hours.
Khare unashamedly presents the different ups and downs of the challenges she undertakes in her videos, which is another reason she has gained a massive following. Her Type A, anxious personality seeps through almost all her videos, which resonates with audiences tremendously — especially when they take the tests she tackles into consideration. Khare’s contemporaries would avoid exhibiting the more negative side of these daring tasks and instead strive to paint an unrealistic, overly optimistic picture of the journey.
Her approach to her content certainly works, as evidenced by her 2.4 million subscriber count and over 220 million views.
Not only have these influencers gained a large following separate from BuzzFeed, but they have also managed to develop their own one-of-a-kind public image: None of them share significant similarities in content. With everyone’s career enjoying an unpredictable, positive trajectory, it becomes difficult to determine what comes next when it comes to BuzzFeed alumni. Quite frankly, I cannot wait to see what’s in store.