The New Hollywood


Grip Magazine

YouTube sensation Liza Koshy advertises Beats Electronics alongside big name celebrities Karlie Kloss and Pharrell Williams.

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

From the Ryan Gosling craze to Taylor Swift drama, the red carpet has always been primarily occupied by movie stars, supermodels, pop stars, and the like. The recent millennium, however, has seen a rise in digitally focused culture and social media. With the changing times, the spotlight is cast on a different genre of celebrity: media figures finding themselves with as much influence over their young audience as stars on the big screen.

An important, distinctive trait of the modern social media stars which distinguishes them from the traditional celebrity includes their connection to their audience. A multitude of media platforms allow viewers and fans to interact with these stars directly, instantaneously, and frequently. Comparing this to movie stars, for example, who connect with their fans nearly exclusively through street sightings and photo ops, makes it easy to see how media stars have gained their popularity and role within today’s sphere of influence. A simple reply to a comment or liking of a photo establishes a deeper connection with their audience, amplifying the era of media stars.

Social media stars are largely dominated by video bloggers on YouTube dubbed “creators.” The past decade has seen a large growth in YouTube viewers which have allowed a career solely on creating videos to be quite sustainable. Creators are capable of earning a living out of filming, editing, and posting videos of their daily lives, skits, tutorials, and more. According to Business Insider, YouTube creator PewDiePie, who has the largest following of nearly 60 million subscribers, allegedly earned $15 million in 2016 for merely posting videos of himself playing and commenting on video games.

Several creators also maximize profit through allowing advertisements before their videos and even creating their own brand by releasing costly merchandise to their eagerly receptive fans. Instagram users are most notably known for promoting large brand companies through paid partnerships. Lyzabeth Lopez, who runs a fitness page on Instagram, reported to Forbes that she charges between $3,000 to $5,000 for a single sponsored post.

Creators may specialize in producing content in a wide range of genres, from comedy and humor to video games and makeup tutorials. Notable YouTube stars include Liza Koshy, a 21 year old comedian with over 13 million subscribers as well as partnerships with Beats Electronics and the Giving Keys. Logan Paul and Jake Paul are also popular online, with over 10 million subscribers each through posting videos of their daily lives. They have become infamous for a multitude of controversies, however, which call for a reevaluation of the extent of the influence of creators over their audience.

Such a large scale mass following must constitute careful examination with the message and content that these media stars are posting and promoting. Logan Paul’s recent offense regarding his video filmed in Japan’s suicide forest has prompted students such as Angelina Nguyen (10) to comment, “I love watching YouTube and scrolling through Instagram just as much as anyone, but Logan Paul’s disgusting video really made me rethink the people I’m watching and what kind of people they are. And I think everyone should, too.” In any case, it is inarguable that a new generation of celebrities is rising, and their legacy may be traced through the simple click of a “Follow” button.