YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing website with over a billion users, has upended the media landscape since it launched 13 years ago. A billion hours worth of content is consumed every day and its biggest influencers earn tens of millions of dollars every year from ad revenue and partnerships.
The platform has become a gold mine for influencers looking to build their brand and ingratiate themselves with a worldwide audience. Coupled with the growing reality that the lines between traditional media and YouTube are becoming increasingly blurred, it is natural that celebrities from the silver screen and beyond should look to YouTube as an increasingly viable outlet for their talents.
Provided they steer clear of controversy, YouTube can provide an existing star with the perfect forum to improve their brand, launch new brands, connect with fans, or exhibit their work to wider audiences. Just look at how Victoria Beckham and Rihanna—both famous music artists who have discovered new creative outlets—have recently transferred their fashion and beauty artistry to the creator’s video hub. This move represents an industry-wide trend—one worth keeping a watch on in the coming year.
While celebrities-turned-YouTubers run rampant, check out our pick of 10 celebrities with YouTube channels worth following in 2019.
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One of the most popular YouTubers in the world, Grande’s channel has frequently uploaded behind-the-scenes material, giving fans a close insight into her performances and music videos. Building on this, YouTube has picked up Grande to star in her own YouTube Premium series, Dangerous Woman Diaries, featuring an exclusive look of her 2017 world tour. YouTube’s acquisition of Grande represents an aggressive move into the mainstream, while she herself will look to take advantage of the potentially lucrative following she has on the platform.
Best known to mainstream audiences for his expletive-laden outbursts on his many TV shows over the years, Ramsay has built up a following of millions on YouTube. His videos feature recipes, cooking lessons, and highlights from his shows such as Hotel Hell. Ramsay has been ahead of the curve in many respects, having regularly uploaded videos for the past nine years, and his large subscriber base speaks for itself.
Megastar Will Smith made a splash late last year when he began uploading content. The typically private actor has since teamed up with YouTube to create videos as part of its ‘YouTube Originals’ programming—an effort by the streaming giant to associate itself with celebrities, and more lucrative advertising deals. Smith’s content features vlogs about his family, music production, and his Originals series, The Jump.
Actor Madelaine Petsch is best known for her role in CW’s Riverdale, but has garnered millions of subscribers since she launched her YouTube channel last year. She vlogs regularly about her day-to-day life and has featured collaborations with food network Tasty and the aforementioned Gordon Ramsay. Her status as a YouTube influencer outside the acting world has led to a recent sponsorship with makeup brand Il Makiage.
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Comedian and actor Russell Brand has enjoyed a popular and sustained presence on YouTube for several years, with his large subscriber base increasing a modest 20% over the past three years. Brand primarily uploads activism content regarding various aspects of politics and culture.
Better known as Snooki to fans of the reality star’s shenanigans in Jersey Shore, Nicole Polizzi has cultivated a significant following on YouTube and regularly vlogs about her family life. Snooki’s channel has seen increasing success in 2018, with a rise in subscribers of nearly 50%.
Shawn Johnson is the only celebrity on our list not to have found fame in the entertainment industry. A former Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, Johnson has since launched her own YouTube channel, releasing two videos a week and focussing on lifestyle blogging and her relationship with her husband. Like Snooki, her strong content schedule has allowed her channel to foster a strong support base, which has grown 43% over the last year.
Singer Adrienne Bailon rose to fame as a member of girl groups 3LW and The Cheetah Girls. The lattermost celebrity on our list to take her talents onto YouTube, Bailon established her channel in April 2018 and has already seen her subscriber total skyrocket to nearly half a million. She typically uploads content concerning fashion, food, makeup, and lifestyle.
Tia Mowry first found fame as a teenager in the 90s sitcom Sister, Sister. Mowry launched her channel last year through LA-based YouTube network Kin, which also helps produce Bailon’s content—utilizing both celebrities out of recognition that ‘digital influencers and traditional celebrities are converging.’ Mowry’s content covers DIY tutorials, food, fitness, and parenting.
Actress Jenna Dewan is known for her role in dance film Step Up among others. She joined YouTube late last year and has curated a substantial following since. Dewan has kept a consistent schedule of content since she began with an emphasis on dance, health, and beauty, in addition to her interaction with fans through livestreaming.