Who can forget the carefree 2000s YouTube when videos like “Charlie bit my finger” and “annoying orange” were the essence of the internet? It seems like just yesterday that this kind of light-hearted content was all YouTube contained. However, with the increasing monetization of the site, many of its creators and channels have shifted more toward making money than jokes.
Regardless of the shift from funny to money, there are a few OG YouTubers whose channels have taken a turn for the better. Shane Dawson and Rachel Meyer, the proprietress of Grav3yardgirl, represent two examples of old-guard content creators who have managed to transition, successfully, into the brave new world of modern YouTube. While Dawson’s shift was more of a maturation, and Meyer’s looks more like an overhaul, both video makers are examples of how authenticity will always translate positively. So whether the two have been on your radar for years or you’re just hearing about them now, here are a handful of reasons why Dawson and Meyer are two of the best entertainers on the web.
With over 15 million subscribers on his now main channel, “shane,” Dawson has definitely grown from when he first began in 2008. The California native turned to YouTube to fulfill his passion of videography. One of his first (and to this day most viewed) videos on his channel, entitled “FRED IS DEAD,” is a parody of the 2008 internet sensation “Fred” created by Lucas Cruikshank.
You might remember some of Dawson’s characters from back in the day, the most notorious of which he called “Shanaynay.” Playing off his own first name, the former Jenny Craig employee used his Shanaynay counterpart in multiple videos, alongside other beloved characters “Ned the Nerd” and “Aunt Hilda.” These hilarious debuts of Dawson’s different roles helped his channel thrive and become a viral icon.
Much of Dawson’s early content followed this easy-going format. With no rigid expectations for his channel, Dawson was able to create goofy videos to make his viewers laugh and forget their troubles, even if it was only for a few minutes. Dawson, who was bullied in high school, always emphasized the value of authenticity, and more importantly, being able to poke fun at yourself.
As Dawson continued to upload ridiculous parodies and sketches, the appeal of this type of content slowly started to fade. YouTube’s audiences began to change, and the curtain started to close on a once-beloved internet symbol.
After a spell of halfhearted videos, Dawson began to find his niche again. Within the past year, Dawson has revamped his channel to fit both his and his audiences’ interests. Dawson now shares genuine experiences and stories through his channel, discussing topics like popular conspiracy theories and controversies like the truth behind the disastrous “Tanacon.” He has also collaborated with other popular YouTubers and aided them with their own channels, one of which is “Grav3yardgirl” (more on her later).
With each video now receiving over 5 million views, Dawson continues to kill it, even without the help of his old characters. The 30-year-old YouTuber now has nowhere to go from here but up.
Rachel “Bunny” Meyer proves that you don’t have to pretend to be someone else in front of a camera for people to love you. You may know her as the eccentric beauty guru with a strange obsession with dolls, but there’s much more to Bunny than just her eccentricities.
Beginning her channel in 2010, Bunny coined her nickname and geared her content around her experiences with the paranormal. Her earliest videos are her sitting in front of a low-quality camera and simply sharing her ghost stories with the world. Featuring all black eyeshadow, Bunny’s first videos are some of her most casual. While most people are too nervous or scared to even speak on camera, Bunny seems completely at ease in her vlogs discussing her ghostly experiences.
As she became more involved with her channel and delved into the world of makeup and beauty, Bunny’s internet personality began to take form. Often speaking very loudly in front of the camera and displaying quirky mannerisms, her channel transformed from casual conversations about graveyard hangouts to shouting “DOES THIS THING REALLY WORK” about a silly television product that usually ends up being junk.
Uploading videos almost every single day, Bunny began noticing and obsessing over the fact that her views were not reaching the heights she wanted. In her recent collaboration with, you guessed it, Shane Dawson, Bunny opens up about her struggles with anxiety and self-confidence, something she never would’ve shared in her typical fashion/makeup-based videos.
If you watch the collab, you can immediately pick up on Bunny’s laidback yet introverted demeanor. You might also notice her lack of willingness to show her home on camera, something Dawson is able to uncover later in the video. Although a long one, the collab is worth watching if you’re a true grav3yardgirl fan. Viewers get a glimpse into Bunny’s life outside of YouTube and learn that she is more than a Texan with a love for peculiar things.
In Bunny’s most recent videos, she opens up about the struggles she has been facing the past few months and how she hopes to move forward within herself and for her channel. She even did a “Gucci Dressing Room Tour,” which was a huge step for her in displaying the success she has built for herself through YouTube. She has mentioned that one of her biggest fears is being viewed as “snobby” by her subscribers because of the expensive purchases she is now able to afford.
Despite her concerns, “grav3yardgirl 2.0,” as her fans now call her, is receiving all the love and praise she deserves. Hundreds of comments on her recent videos claim that Bunny looks and acts much happier now that she is able to reclaim herself and release content with no fear of what the haters will say.
Although the internet is constantly moving forward at lightning-fast speed, authenticity is something that will never go out of style. Take it from these two YouTube icons — no matter where you started or what you have gone through, you can never go wrong with staying true to yourself.