Like many teenage girls, I first started watching Emma Chamberlain’s YouTube videos when I was in middle school, when she was at the height of her YouTube popularity. At the time, she was known for revolutionizing the vlog-editing style with her fast-paced cutscenes and zoom-ins, plethora of sound effects and the famous cut in the middle of a video to her editing in bed with the caption “me editing” followed by some funny reaction. Soon enough, many of the popular YouTubers of the time started editing in a similarly fast-paced and chaotic way — even amateurs vlogging from their bedrooms started including “me editing” clips. However, sometime during the beginning of high school, the popularity of her frenzied editing style fizzled out and I stopped watching Chamberlain’s videos.
Every once in a while, I would see people talking about her coffee company online, or hear about her podcast, but I pretty much thought my days as an Emma Chamberlain fan were over — until now. During this past year, one of my friends and I were discussing good podcasts we could listen to during our long walks from Clark Kerr to campus. I was looking for some new ones to try, and my friend (shoutout Skylar) recommended Chamberlain’s “Anything Goes” podcast. I kept meaning to give it a listen, but I never got around to it.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I listened for the first time to one of her new episodes, titled “nicotine addiction.” In this episode, Chamberlain explains how she has always been too embarrassed to admit to her addiction publicly until she finally decided to quit her years-long vaping habit two weeks prior to the episode being recorded. I was blown away by her honesty and vulnerability in talking about such a personal matter, but also by how much she retained her old sense of humor combined with relatability. She was able to analyze the contributors to her own addiction in a very introspective way, while also making her story very sympathetic to listeners who might struggle with a similar addiction.
Now, I am an avid “Anything Goes” listener whenever I’m driving by myself. Other recent ones I have enjoyed include “things i like rn” and “embarrassing things i did in high school.” Ultimately, I think what sets Chamberlain apart from many other influencers who gained their fame from social media is that she remained true to her brand and to herself. She didn’t decide to go forward with some brand deal that didn’t feel authentically like her. Instead, she decided to start her own coffee company, something her fans know she’s been interested in since the beginning of her YouTube channel. Similarly, she has made it possible for her to keep showcasing her personality and lighthearted sense of humor through her podcast, just like she used to in her viral YouTube videos back in the day.
Listening to Chamberlain laugh with embarrassment while recounting a story or excitedly sharing gadgets she’s passionate about feels exactly like watching her exciting and self-deprecating YouTube videos years ago — but this time, she feels more mature and relaxed. For that reason, I know who I am at heart: always and forever a diehard Emma Chamberlain fan.