Emma Chamberlain, for those not in the know, basically rules YouTube. By September 2019, she had amassed 8.43 million subscribers on her eponymous channel. This is especially impressive considering she only joined the video-sharing platform in June 2016. Chamberlain didn’t become famous because she’s a beauty guru like James Charles or a gamer like Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie). No, she hasn’t won the world over by baking treats like Rosanna Pansino or because she’s courted controversy like Logan Paul. Unlike many high-caliber YouTube stars, Chamberlain has won the internet over by simply being herself. Oftentimes, that means stepping in front of the camera donning a hoodie, no makeup, and a messy ponytail.
“She’s unapologetically forthcoming about every aspect of herself, deeply skeptical, and self-deprecatingly honest,” a Marie Claire profile of the YouTuber revealed. “For a generation that’s grown up filtering photos and curating content,” the profile continued, “Chamberlain is a much-needed antidote to the pressure to be perfect.” There are plenty more things to learn about this famous YouTuber. This is the stunning transformation of Emma Chamberlain.
Emma Chamberlain had a hard time in high school
Emma Chamberlain’s unbridled sense of humor is usually on full display in her YouTube videos, but being authentic also means she doesn’t shy away from hard subjects. In 2017, Chamberlain shared a vlog explaining why she left high school. “To put it in simple terms, I was just having a s***ty time,” she told her fans. Her attendance during her sophomore year was spotty, and, when she did attend, she said she would break down in tears. “Towards the end of the year, I became severely depressed. I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t hang out with my friends — I completely cut off all my friends — I didn’t hang out on the weekends, I didn’t do anything.”
Starting a YouTube channel helped to pull her out of the depths of depression for a time, but things became worse during her junior year. “I could not cope with being at school,” she explained. Eventually, Chamberlain’s parents allowed her to leave. In a video she created with fellow YouTubers Ethan and Grayson Dolan, Chamberlain explained that, although she did leave school, she still earned her high school diploma.
Emma Chamberlain was once a competitive cheerleader
Before Emma Chamberlain became the YouTube star she is today, she was a competitive cheerleader. In a video on Hannah Meloche’s YouTube channel, Chamberlain revealed that she participated in All-Star competitive cheerleading for five years. She shared that she also “did high school cheer for one year” before getting “kicked off the team.”
When Chamberlain was around 15 years old, she filmed some of her competitions with a GoPro camera and shared them on YouTube. At the time, though, those videos didn’t take off. Chamberlain has since reposted some clips from her cheerleading days. In 2018, she took to Twitter and confirmed to fans that she was once a cheerleader. “And I was sassy too plz let me go viral im desperate,” she joked. The three-second clip has been viewed over 153,000 times on Twitter alone.
Chamberlain has since given up cheerleading, but she’s demonstrated that she still has the moves. The YouTuber taught Hannah Meloche and Ellie Thumann how to warm up with “cheerjacks” and taught the girls how to tumble and perform toe touches.
Emma Chamberlain used to "imitate what was popular" on YouTube
When Emma Chamberlain started her YouTube channel, her videos weren’t anything like they are today. Believe it or not, she used to focus on DIY projects. “I don’t know how to do crafts! I don’t know what I was thinking,” Chamberlain admitted in an interview with Forbes. “I was honestly just trying to imitate what was popular at the time. But doing that didn’t get me anywhere and the second I started doing things that were more me, it was like ‘Yeah!'”
Ironically, the moment Chamberlain gave up trying to be popular, she became popular. Chamberlain had a video go viral for the first time in July 2017. Her vlog titled “We all owe the dollar store an apology” — a satirical take on a shopping haul — exposed viewers to the real Emma Chamberlain and has since been viewed over 4.2 million times. While that vlog accelerated Chamberlain’s success, her YouTube channel had already started to become profitable just a few weeks after sharing her “City Inspired Summer Lookbook 2017” video in June of that year.
Emma Chamberlain "struggled financially" before becoming internet famous
It’s perhaps all too simple to look at Emma Chamberlain’s life today and assume she’s always had it easy. The internet personality says otherwise, though. “There were times when we couldn’t even go to the movies, when I was a kid, because there wasn’t enough money,” Chamberlain recalled when speaking to Forbes. “And my dad is an artist, and he got sick for a little bit and couldn’t paint, so there was hard times for our family.” The YouTuber said her dad’s health has since improved, but revealed that “having no money at certain points was weird.” She continued, “I’ve always been the one who struggled financially, so now it’s so cool that I can make my own money and do whatever I want with it.”
Her father, Michael Chamberlain, told Business Insider that his daughter first started making her own money through advertisements on YouTube. “By the end of the summer , it was pretty clear that things were going well,” he revealed. “Her [Google] AdSense was like a decent job at that point.”
Emma Chamberlain became a near overnight success
Building a following on YouTube or any social media platform can take time. And, statistically speaking, the odds are stacked against you if you hope to earn a living through video monetization. Mathias Bärtl, a professor at Offenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany, revealed to Fortune that more than 96 percent of aspiring YouTubers will not make enough money through advertising to even broach the United States poverty line.
Against all odds, though, Emma Chamberlain practically became an overnight success. “My family wasn’t shocked by my success, but I was,” she explained to Forbes. “When I was younger I had a gut feeling that I was going to use my personality in some way, but I didn’t know how,” she continued. Her father, Michael, told Business Insider that his daughter was “overwhelmed” when ” she blew up and started getting a lot of viewers.”
After going viral, Chamberlain secured an agent, and she and her family relocated to Los Angeles, Calif., as noted by Forbes. Although she immediately began to thrive there, her father said the transition was “a challenging time.”
Emma Chamberlain had to learn to deal with hate online
YouTube continues to be a sanctuary for Emma Chamberlain, but there’s no denying that social media can be a toxic place. As her online following grew, the star began to receive dislikes on her content. Her father, however, helped her to view it as nothing more than a sign of success. “When you start thriving or succeeding, the haters are going to come out,” he recalled when speaking to Business Insider. “It’s just part of the deal.”
“People see what happened to me (success) and they want to hate me,” the YouTuber told Forbes. “But I don’t get it. When I was a fan, and I saw people I was fans of get success, I was genuinely happy for them.” Soon enough, the hate became excruciating. In addition to false rumors being spread about the star, Chamberlain said she “was getting only hate for a solid month” and it made her consider quitting. She added, “It’s really uninspiring when you post a video and everyone says, ‘Go kill yourself.'” Chamberlain credits her “support system” of friends and family for helping her continue on.
Emma Chamberlain was raised as a vegetarian, but has stayed one by choice
If it were up to her, Emma Chamberlain would “never eat a gosh darn veggie again.” Be that as it may, Chamberlain was born and raised a vegetarian. “Growing up, my parents were vegetarians and so was I because there was no meat in the house so, what was I going to do? Like, buy it myself when I was 7? You can’t just walk into a store when you’re 7 and buy f***ing bacon,” she joked in a YouTube video. The star admitted that aside from pepperoni and bacon, she’s abstained from eating meat. However, Chamberlain decided to submit to being blindfolded to taste a variety of mystery meats for her viewers.
On camera, she tried chicken breast, chicken nuggets, steak, sushi, meat lovers pizza, and even an In-N-Out cheeseburger. In the end, she rated meat a “solid four and a half out of ten.” She continued, saying, “I’m probably still going to be a vegetarian after this and that’s the damn tea.”
Emma Chamberlain gained fame on more than just YouTube
When Emma Chamberlain first started out on YouTube, she was also busy growing her Instagram. At the time, her posts were getting about 15,000 likes each, according to Forbes. By September 2018, each post averaged 1.5 million likes. “Her social media engagement — the amount of likes and comments of a post divided by the total amount of followers — is averaging around 25% on Instagram,” the publication reported. While 25 percent may not sound like a big deal, Forbes revealed Kim Kardashian only has about a nine percent engagement rate.
Still, Chamberlain doesn’t do anything fancy to get that kind of response from her fans. “I’m just going to put the best stuff I can put out; whether it’s photos, tweets, whatever,” she explained to Forbes. “And it’s not up to me how it does. And usually people appreciate that.” However, she did admit that Instagram is “really stressful.” She continued, saying, “It’s a lot of pressure. You want to look good.” She feels Twitter, on the other hand, is more relaxed.
Emma Chamberlain tried something "different from anything" she'd ever done
Emma Chamberlain’s success may have no bounds. In addition to being a huge deal on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, Chamberlain decided to launch her own podcast called Stupid Genius. “In every episode [Chamberlain] takes a puzzling question, like ‘Why do onions make us cry?,’ and is given three guesses to try to solve it. Will she be able to do it? Listen every Thursday … to find out,” the podcast’s description reads.
It turns out that launching this podcast was not at all a stupid idea, but a completely ingenious one. “It went a lot better than I expected it to,” Chamberlain told W magazine. “I love making and recording them, and so far it’s been received pretty well.” Yeah, we’ll say. In April 2019, People reported that Stupid Genius had become the top podcast in 50 countries. “It’s been a cool thing to experiment with that was different from anything I’d done before,” Chamberlain modestly told W.
Emma Chamberlain realized she has a "third eye" for fashion
While much of Emma Chamberlain’s success has come from internet mediums, she’s started to branch out to fashion. “I don’t think I’ve ever had goosebumps that big,” she said of attending the Louis Vuitton fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in March 2019. “I’d never experienced a fashion show, period, so that was pretty overwhelming — and it takes a lot to overwhelm me,” she told W magazine. She admitted that she didn’t understand the appeal of fashion shows until she saw one firsthand. “It’s the ambiance in the room, the music, the hair and makeup. It encapsulates a whole mood, and I didn’t realize that until I sat at one,” she recalled. “As stupid and corny as it sounds, it completely opened my third eye, my third fashion eye. She was there, she just wasn’t open yet.”
What Chamberlain will do with her love of fashion remains to be seen — although she did develop a partnership with Hollister and her own line of merchandise. Still, YouTube continues to be first and foremost in Chamberlain’s life. Her videos are her “children,” she told the publication.
Emma Chamberlain joined Sister Squad… but are the YouTubers still friends?
When Emma Chamberlain attended VidCon in Anaheim, Calif. for the first time in 2018, she was introduced to fans and YouTubers alike. “That’s when I met all of my best friends that I currently have,” she told W magazine. “They are all genuine friends.” That’s not to say she gets along with every YouTuber, though.
She told the publication that she actually prefers to “have friends who are maybe not even YouTubers.” She continued, saying, “Four of my best friends are YouTubers, but that’s just a coincidence. I’ve been backstabbed multiple times — literally, at least 10, just off the top of my head — by other YouTubers, and it’s awful.” She refrained from naming names, however. “I don’t need to bash,” Chamberlain revealed. “It’s unnecessary.”
Although Chamberlain has long been part of the Sister Squad — a group made up of the Dolan Twins (Ethan and Grayson Dolan), James Charles, and, of course, Chamberlain herself — fans started to worry when she unfollowed the gang on Instagram. Chamberlain promised fans that everything was okay and that she was just performing a “social experiment.” Hmm.
Emma Chamberlain went from "a Dolan stan" to half of Ethma
Before Emma Chamberlain met the famous YouTube duo the Dolan twins, she was a fan. “I was a Dolan stan,” Chamberlain admitted in a vlog with Tana Mongeau. Her “favorite” Dolan? After much deliberation, she quipped, “I think Ethan.” Once Chamberlain and the Dolans met and began appearing in each others’ videos, fans began speculating that Ethan and Chamberlain — dubbed Ethma — were dating. There’s even a timeline of their relationship on Seventeen you can reference, folks.
Despite all of the speculation and rumors, Chamberlain has not confirmed the status of their relationship. “Relationships with people in general, in no matter what capacity, are something that’s very emotional,” the YouTuber told Marie Claire. “They mean a lot to you. I think having eyes on that in a critical way can be really tough.”
Although she said she’s an open book about pretty much everything, she keeps some things — like a relationship with Ethan Dolan, perhaps? — “genuinely sacred and private.” Her dad advised her about as much when she first started becoming famous. “It is your responsibility to make sure you are maintaining a certain amount of privacy,” he recalled in an interview with Business Insider.
Emma Chamberlain says she's still a "normal" person
Although she’s only been a big name since 2017, Emma Chamberlain has transformed into an empowering role model and young adult. “I want to spread the message of ‘Hey, girls can not wear makeup,'” she revealed in an interview with Marie Claire in August 2019. “They can put their hair in a bun. They can have their acne out. They can do whatever they want.” She added, “Hopefully my not giving a f*** can rub off on a few people.”
While some have criticized her for no longer being relatable, Chamberlain is still adamant about being herself. “Even though I might be doing things that are very — maybe in some people’s eyes —unrelatable, the way that my brain functions is the exact same as everybody else,” she explained. “I don’t think I’m some sort of ethereal being. Who I am in general is still relatable. Hopefully? Maybe I’m wrong. Because I have stayed true to myself and I still think of myself as a normal f***ing person.”
What's next for Emma Chamberlain?
Prior to becoming an adult, Emma Chamberlain said she didn’t think her life was going to change much since she was already living on her own. “I think if anything it’s going to be nice to go to the doctor by myself,” she told W magazine. “It’ll be nice to do activities with my friends, like go zip-lining, and not need a parent there.”
Chamberlain celebrated her 18th birthday in May 2019, which means she has many years ahead of her to decide what’s next for her life. Will she forge a fashion career or will she take a stab at something entirely different? Chamberlain neglected to spill the tea about any future endeavors when speaking to Marie Claire. “I’m young,” she acknowledged. “I’m keeping an open mind.”
Of course, she doesn’t exactly need to take on any additional projects. She runs her YouTube and social media platforms entirely on her own and has her hands full with her workload. Not to mention that her net worth is estimated at $3 million, as of this writing. You do you, Emma Chamberlain. You do you.
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