The Pressures of Being A YouTube Vlogger
Written by Elena Chen
I first found Sammi Quinn’s Youtube channel back in 2015, when the Nike Air Force 1s had just hit with their full force and a video of her gliding across a tennis court in knitwear kept me watching for the next four minutes. A 19-year-old social media presence across platforms such as Youtube, Tumblr, and Instagram, Quinn has amassed close to 100,000 followers on Youtube and Instagram alone, and stands not only as a personal but also public figure of style inspiration.
However, many of her videos thrifting at Goodwill, posing in pre-2016 styles, and chatting about her day to day can no longer be found on her channel. To me, Quinn never did embody uniformity and her style was always something I looked to for inspiration - a vintage sheek made modern. At times a hint of streetwear would pop up, an element that no longer appear in the videos still on her channel. As she moved to New York City for university to study fashion her personal style grew more eccentric and her content leaned towards conversation. I saw how she tended to topics of mental health, insecurity, spirituality and emotional wellbeing. More than anything, in creating content that was genuine, Quinn carved out a space that feels unequivocally tethered to her. The evolution of her Youtube channel was not all smooth sailings however, as she has taken multiple hiatuses from social media since starting the channel.
Whilst her videos on fashion typically receive almost three times the views as her latest content on astrology, Quinn’s focus on releasing videos she identifies with has not been swayed by public demand. She speaks openly and insightfully on social anxiety, its link to social media, overthinking, confidence, stagnation, sadness...the list goes on. Her fears are vulnerabilities that are in equal measure realities and she doesn’t shy away from expressing them. The content on Quinn’s channel is split mostly into work showcasing her personal style and conversational pieces discussing personal development. Occasionally, a room tour or favourites video sneaks its way in but it would be difficult to mistake Quinn’s channel for someone else’s. Amongst the growing pressure to deliver, Quinn has managed to stay true to herself and continues to produce in the name of her own creative expression.
Perhaps this is best exemplified in these transcribed excerpts from Quinn’s video: “why I left Youtube”:
“I’m just over the idea of being a Youtuber...I don’t want to approach Youtube in the way that other people do. I’m just not really interested in editing videos anymore, having super high quality cameras...I don’t know. If you’ve been watching my videos over the past year you can probably tell that I’m...more about sitting down and talking to you guys rather than putting up a facade? I’m not saying that a lot of Youtubers do that but I think that’s kind of what Youtube is? And I used to like Youtube for that, I used to like to have this creative outlet where I could show you guys my outfits and put together cool, edited videos and…”
“...I don’t want to be a Youtuber anymore. There’s just kind of a weird disconnect...I like this platform, it’s a perfect platform for what I want to do but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do my own thing. The people who are going to want to watch my videos are going to be okay with whatever I’m posting”
“Over the past few months I’ve just been trying to let go of working so hard to be at this place of perfect mental health, this ideal version of myself, I’ve just let go of that. And once I did that I’ve just seen so much growth within me, it’s kind of scary.”
“I feel like a lot of the times we try to be in a place that isn’t necessarily meant for ourselves? In that time. I don’t think that every single thing happens for a reason.”
“What I’m trying to say is accept where you are, change and growth happen very slowly…You just have to surrender and accept, then you’ll see things changing.”
“...not really interested in doing fashion videos, definitely not hauls. Possibly lookbooks here and there. But mostly probably just chatty stuff like this and if you don’t like this sort of stuff I’m sorry because I probably won’t ever be making the old sort of videos that I used to make 2 years, year and a half ago. But that’s just life. People grow up so.”
Although my interest in Quinn has always stemmed from an appreciation for her personal style, I’ve always respected how much she lived by her own truth. In the blend of experimentation and adaptation between thrifted threads, vintage finds, and contemporary streetwear, her style seems to have already betrayed a sense of individuality adamant against the pressure for any alternative.
“Thanks for watching…I really appreciate all of you.”
Thank you for your vulnerability and authenticity Sammi, keeping doing you.