Meet Alisha Marie, content creator, influencer, and YouTuber best known for her lifestyle videos filled with “life hacks”, relatable skits, and DIYs.
Having started her channel at only 15 years old, Alisha has been on YouTube for more than a decade. With over 1 billion video views on her main channel alone, Alisha has a track record of creating viral content for a loyal audience, her 8 million and counting YouTube subscribers staying only a click away from the next Alisha Marie video.
10 months ago, Alisha announced she’d be taking a break from creating videos for her main YouTube channel to recuperate from burnout and feelings of disconnectedness. In July of 2018, Alisha released what she called her, “reintroduction” to YouTube, vowing to create more content that showcases more of who she really is, and the parts of her self she would’ve been reluctant to share months prior.
The uploads that followed Alisha’s break saw a major pivot and change of energy, offering a raw look into her everyday life, and comedic relief that was far less staged. When asked how she feels her content has changed, Alisha admits that she’s taken a more laidback approach to content creation, which in turn, has allowed her to make videos that are consequently more relatable.
I chatted with Alisha about everything from self-love, to podcasting, and our shared loved of The Skinny Confidential.
THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR BREVITY AND CLARITY.
Do you remember the first video you made that got a lot of views?
“The first video I ever ever made was this M.A.C [Cosmetics] Lipglass review. I remember pretending like I knew everything about M.A.C, but it was the only product I had by them. I was so sad that I actually deleted that years ago. YouTube was even trying to help me get it back at some point, and they weren’t able to either. It took a long time for my channel to take off. The first [video] that ever did really well… I think it was either a ‘Boyfriend Tag’ or a ‘Heatless Summer Hairstyle’ video. That was years ago.”
HOW LONG HAD YOU BEEN DOING YOUTUBE BEFORE YOU STARTED TO SEE SOME GROWTH?
“It took about 3 or 4 years before it started picking up. That was around the time that I figured it could actually be something if I put a little more of my effort into it. Before that, I was in school and it was more of a weekend hobby; every Saturday, I would film 2-3 videos and upload them during the week.”
When did you have to bring on a manager and someone to help with brand relations and negotiation?
“For quite a while, I did everything myself. Back then, there was a lot less influencer marketing than there is now. I would say maybe in 2013 or 2014? I got a manager and that helped a lot, deals that I wouldn’t necessarily get myself, they were able to get for me. Also, just networking in general. I think I was at around 300k subscribers, and that’s when I noticed needing help.”
DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST BRAND DEAL?
“Yeah! It was a college [textbook] site. I remember thinking I had won the lottery and I was so excited.”
WHEN DID YOU START DOING YOUTUBE FULL-TIME?
“Around 2015. I was still in college and I was trying to decide if I wanted to go full-force with this. That’s when I started prioritizing [YouTube] over my schoolwork. I was so set on my schedule, I would never miss an upload, every single week there would be a new video. That’s also around the time I started going to conventions and trying to get into the space.”
A lot of YouTubers who were making videos a decade ago have fallen off and become less relevant with time, but it seems that you've only grown over the years. How do you maintain that?
“You know, that was always a really big fear of mine. Last year, being burnt out and taking a break, that was one of my leading fears, becoming irrelevant and not knowing what was gonna happen. There are a lot of different factors to it. As long as you’re uploading something that you’re passionate about… if you’re into it, someone else will be into it. I think it’s about not choosing views [over passion]. That’s something I have to tell myself every single day, I’m definitely no expert at it. Bringing it back to what you’re passionate about and letting your audience find you. Also, being willing to evolve. I know Shane Dawson has done an amazing job at this. Things that were trendy 2 years ago, or even last year, for me, I don’t really do them anymore because my interests have changed. I’ve changed as a person. Another huge thing is that, as much as it was hard in the beginning and it took a long time to grow, I never had that one viral video that took off, and I think it taught me a lot of diligence and work ethic, and to do it because I loved it. In a way, I’m really grateful that it took so long to grow because it’s such a huge passion of mine and steady growth over time is just as important and beneficial as one viral video.”
Yah, and you learned how to build a stronger audience that’s not just based on just one video and then have people lose interest.
IT WAS A REALLY GOOD POINT THAT YOU BROUGHT UP ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT YOUR CONTENT EVOLVES AND CHANGES… HOW HAS YOUR CONTENT CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
“You know… it’s such a funny thing because it seems like it would be so easy, but what I’ve been trying to do lately is to keep things [true] to who I am. Years ago, I was definitely trying to play this role of ‘Alisha Marie’ and I would put so much work into trying to be funny or having a distinct style. Now, people just want to see your life. I’ve been putting in less effort and it’s allowed me to evolve. This is embarrassing, but a couple of years ago, or even a year ago, I would make sure I had the perfect outfit that matched my feed, and if it had a little bit of black, I wouldn’t wear it. Now, I wear athletic wear every single day, and I’ll post stuff like that because it’s true to who I am. I think that’s been helping a lot. Instead of trying to look like I have my life together…showing the funny side when my hair’s a mess or my room’s messy, that’s the stuff that people really relate to.”
And you create a lot of content. You have your Youtube, your instagram, your podcast… what does your schedule look like in terms of content creation for all of tose different platforms?
“One thing that has been my lifesaver is my Google Calendar that I finally started using. I realized working from home is amazing, but it also can have its difficulties. Having a set schedule is the hardest thing ever. I made a schedule for myself where Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are content days, filming, brainstorming, etc. and I have Tuesdays and Thursdays for interviews or shoots. It’s been great to share with my team, so that when they book me for things, they know to do that on a Tuesday or Thursday. Wednesdays are my main filming days. I think having that somewhat set schedule has helped me so much, and I’ve been able to do a lot more.”
Yeah, time batching! I don’t know if you know LAURYN FROM THE SKINNY CONFIDENTIAL?
“I love her!”
YES! I INTERVIEWED HER FOR PUR OPULENCE AND SHE TOLD ME ABOUT TIE BATCHING AND IT’S CHANGED MY LIFE.
“Oh my gosh, completely! And even just being on my phone less. A few months ago, I noticed how much I was on my phone, and it was so counter-productive and it did nothing. I would even justify it to myself like, ‘[social media] is my job, I’m working’, but I know the difference from when I’m actually actively working and I’m not. [Lauryn Evarts] talks about it on the podcast, there’s a difference and you can really prioritize that.”
I LOVE HER PODCAST TOO. SPEAKING OF PODCASTS, HOW DID YOUR PODCAST COME ABOUT?
“I never ever wanted to have a podcast, but then Remi Cruz and I have the same agent and he always hears us banter back and forth and brought up the idea that we should start a podcast and it was the first time that I ever thought I would actually love to do it, [the idea of] me doing it with her. She brings out a side of my personality that I don’t normally show. It’s been such a great experience for both of us. It’s helped us personally grow and even connect with our audience more. Audio is so different from video because it’s less formal, we can just talk about whatever and it’s a dialogue, so it’s not planned out or scripted, it’s just us talking. I love it.”
PODCASTING IS SUCH A POWERFUL MEDIUM THAT’S REALLY GROWING. NO ONE WAS REALLY DOING IT A FEW YEARS AGO AND NOW IT’S REALLY BLOWING UP.
“I think it’s just getting started too. It’s one of the biggest things that I recommend people to do because it’s not going away any time soon. I think it’s just starting to grow, so I highly recommend for people to get on that platform faster.”
What are some other podcasts that you love listening to?
“I love Gary Vee, I think he’s so inspirational. I love The Skinny Confidential, that’s definitely a top one.”
You're 25 now... What's something you know now that you didn't know at 20?
“So much! I think a lot of it it’s kid of cliché self-love stuff. I think just realizing that I don’t have to try as hard as I thought I would, and it’s okay to be who you are. Also, that there’s room for everyone. I used to be really competitive and looking back, it cause me way more stress than it needed to. The whole influencer world in general, it doesn’t have to be a huge competition. There’s room for everyone and everyone is so different and has different ideas or goals.”
What advice would you give to young women looking to start and grow their own YouTube channels?
“I think that exact thing. Do you. You don’t have to try and be someone else. It’s so much easier said than done. I think a lot of people to it too without even realizing. There were definitely times I got inspiration from people that was a little bit too much inspiration and I was just doing things because they were doing it or it was trendy. Just to be confident in my own creativity and realize that I can do this and I have great ideas. I would stress that to a lot of people who are just starting out. Especially because the YouTubers that I like watching are the ones that I can tell are going to make it and be successful, and the ones that stand out. It’s so funny how hard I tried to blend in and do things that everyone else was doing back in the day. Don’t be afraid to be different and be yourself. Cliché, but so true.”
LOOKING FORWARD, WHERE DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF YOUTUBE?
“YouTube definitely had a recent shift in the past year or so of people wanting even more real and raw stuff. My vlogs really took off, people want realness and that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I do thing longer-form videos are gonna be a huge thing. For whatever reason, 10 minutes and under was the norm for quite a few years, and now we’re seeing 90 minute episodes and longer videos. That’s definitely the new wave coming in.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE WAY THE PLATFORM HAS CHANGED IN TERMS OF ADVERTISING AND MONETIZATION?
“It really hasn’t affected me all that much, so I’m probably not the best person to talk to about that, but I do think, if anything, it’s showing how many more eyes social media and YouTube are getting because a lot of advertisers are looking to it as a way to monetize. It’s definitely changed a lot over the years. It’s hard because sometimes you can see how it’s turning into more of a business, but the influencers who are the most successful are the ones who still try to make it a hobby because they genuinely want to make videos.”
8 years ago, you never would have imagined being where you are now.
“No, definitely not! I heard a quote the other day that was along the lines of, “what are you taking for granted now that you once prayed for?” I don’t think I said that right, but it’s something like that! I have those moments all the time where I think, ‘this was all I wanted at one point’, so I try to take it in and live in the moment a little more and not rush it. I think that’s something I used to do too, always think about what’s next instead of just enjoying where I am. I’ve really been loving having my set schedule and taking it a little slower.”
If you were to imagine what your life would be like in another 8 years, what do you envision? what are your big goals and dreams?
“I would love to do more creative directing and having a brand where I can work behind the scenes a little more and less in front of the camera. It’s fun because I have no idea where I’ll be in 8 years, but I know I’ll definitely be doing something that I love. It’s crazy to think that YouTube could be gone tomorrow and maybe I’ll have a regular job, but at the same time, I’ve always loved the entertainment industry, so I think it would be something like that. I’d definitely like to have my own brand, maybe do more producing.”
What big projects do you have planned for 2019?
“I’m really excited. I have my merch and apparel, we’re definitely going to be doing more [product releases], so we’ve been brainstorming on that. Definitely wanting to meet more fans in person, so excited for that too. I feel like the sky’s the limit. It feels like one of those years where we can make anything happen and I’m really excited for that.”