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Alisha Marie. The rejuvenation of a social media workaholic.

alisha marie podcast homeOur interview of Alisha Marie for “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes. Alisha Marie has 7.6 million YouTube subscribers and 3.7 million Instagram followers. Alisha has been described as the hardest working influencer on YouTube. We talk about the four phases of her career from getting started to her workaholic phase which ultimately led to burn out. She is now entering the rejuvenation phase of her career. Alisha gives great advice to anyone starting their YouTube career.

Alisa shared the following takeaways:  

Jon: If you were just starting out now, is that what you would do?

Alisha: Oh, fully yeah because I think there’s so many times, it’s kind of funny. It’s known that I like, like I will stalk smaller channels so much. I love it because it gives me the nostalgia of when I started. Like and it’s so funny because a lot of people like—a lot of my friends make fun of me cause they’re like, “Oh my god you like know the YouTube world,” and all that stuff. But my biggest thing is I’ll come across people and they’re like an identical clone of someone else that we all know. And it’s just—there’s such potential there but they’re limiting themselves cause I’m not gonna subscribe because I already follow that someone else. 

Jon:  When did you first start to consider yourself an influencer? 

Alisha: Genuinely, I don’t think that long ago. And that’s when I started trying to change my vocabulary of like no like I can use YouTube, but that’s limiting me to one platform and like I’m an influencer you know and you know even starting a podcast or something like that’s not YouTube, and I think that’s more respected in the traditional media Hollywood sense too of like when you just say YouTuber like how many headlines are there with horrible things with YouTubers you know what I mean, so to say like no like even blogger sounds more professional, which is funny cause it’s still—like it’s oh I’m a blogger like there’s just this stigma. But yeah I think anyone could be an influencer, it’s just devoting your time to it.

Jon: You’ve been on YouTube 10 years. If you could go back to your 10 year younger self, what would you tell yourself?

Alisha: Oh my god, I would love that. I would tell myself to not care about what people think, to just do whatever I wanna do because I have—I am talented in it, and I think I needed—I think I really discovered along the journey of like my talent and like—now I can sit here like so confidently and say, “I’m meant to be a creative director,” where back then I was just like oh maybe people are gonna think this, or like I don’t know I’m not confident in myself. Where now I’m just so confident and YouTube’s definitely brought that confidence. Going back to being an introvert, a lot of people from my past at different times have just said, “You of all people like you were so shy.” But it’s kinda funny now being in this space, a lot of influencers are introverts and are shy and it’s just it’s so funny.

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A transcript of the full interview follows: 

Jon: I am joined today by Alisha Marie, welcome to the podcast. 

Alisha: Hello, thank you.

Jon: Full disclosure, we’ve worked together for about three years.

Alisha: Have we really? It’s been three years?

Jon: I looked it up.

Alisha: Oh my gosh, I love that.

Jon: Ok, so in preparing for this, I went back and did some research on your career.  And I’m going to divide your career into four phases, and I want to see if you agree with me.

Alisha: Okay.

Jon: The first phase is the ‘getting started’ phase, second phase is the ‘workaholic’ phase, third phase is the ‘burn out’ phase, and then the fourth phase is the ‘rejuvenation’ phase. 

Alisha: Yep.

Jon: And these phases are not equal time. So for instance, the getting started phase is—you joined April 18, 2008.  But your first posted video that’s still online is January 17, 2011.

Alisha: Yeah so that’s still posted online. I remember going through and deleted so many videos. But my first video, I remember, and I really wish YouTube could find it. They tried to get it, but they couldn’t because I deleted it forever ago, but it was a makeup tutorial that was a minute and forty five seconds long, and I was sitting down in my room, and that was that same year—2008. 

Jon: Ok, so why did you go back and delete?

Alisha: I remember going through a phase thinking that—I think that was also the start of everything needs to look good as far as like my videos and stuff, and I’d been doing it for so long, and I was thinking more of like visually, and I was just like those are old, they don’t get views, and I should delete them. And I really wish I didn’t delete it, cause it was my first video but…

Jon: And I take it you didn’t back them up any place else? 

Alisha: No, not at all, not at all. I know..

Jon: Ok so, how many did you delete about?

Alisha: A lot are private, which means only I can see that. And at that time when I deleted the first one, you didn’t have that feature. So, there’s probably a few hundred that are private.

Jon: Oh really?

Alisha: Yeah, there’s a lot.

(laughter)

Jon: So, why did you join YouTube?

Alisha: I joined YouTube so long ago, and that was when it was just a genuine hobby. I loved make-up so much, and I loved watching people do tutorials and show themselves what they bought when they were shopping, and I just wanted to be apart of it, and I just thought I could do it, and I thought it’d be so fun, so I tried and I definitely failed the first like four years. 

(laughter) 

From watching those old videos I’m sure you could see like when it like finally took off. It was definitely awhile, but I just fell in love with it because it was genuinely, and I’m not exaggerating, like all of my interests in one thing. And I think that’s what I liked cause I grew up doing theatre, and I loved that, but it was never enough for me to be like this is my passion, and I wanna pursue that. I love music so much. Same exact thing. Same thing with acting and beauty. And at one point I wanted to be a make-up artist, but I just kind of knew that wouldn’t really happen so it was this one place where I could—just all of my like talents could be in one spot, and I just fell in love with it.

Jon: Now, I want to back you up a second. When you were little you were in theatre?

Alisha: Yeah. (laughter)

Jon: What kind of stuff?

Alisha: I was Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. We did a lot of just like musicals, and I always really really enjoyed it. 

Jon: So you’re comfortable in front of a live audience? 

Alisha: Yeah, definitely. And then I did cheerleading for I think 7 or 8 years. So I always loved performing. Being in front of an audience was never a huge problem for me. 

Jon: Did your parents take videos of you when you were doing this stuff?

Alisha: Yes and no. I know they’re somewhere, I need to find them. Especially now like I know they’re on VHS somewhere and to like convert it to like—I just gotta figure it out. But I know it’s possible. I would love to do like a reacting video to all these old like—it’d be so funny.

Jon: Yeah that’d be so fun to watch. In 2011 you have two videos, 2012 one video, 2013 eleven videos. And then what changed for you to decide to now post a lot?

Alisha: That was the time that I moved out of my parent’s house and my sister and I got an apartment together. And, it was kind of just this blank canvas of having the freedom to kinda do more of what I wanted to do. I really got into home décor then, so that was more content that I could do. Yeah, and I remember coming to this point, cause I was commuting to college that time, and I really wasn’t investing my time much into school, and I really wanted to just dive into YouTube, and I think there was almost like a switch moment of being like okay, if I’m gonna do this I’m gonna do this. 

Jon: And was there one thing that you can point to where you decided that’s what you wanted to do? 

Alisha: I think I just remember that’s when my channel switched form like beauty to more lifestyle, and that’s the moment I realized okay, I’m not a makeup artist, but there’s something that’s going here cause that’s when it started to take off, and ir ealized you know what, I’m just gonna think of it more like a magazine like there’s comedy, there’s makeup, it’s kind of like everything put together. But yeah, I just kept falling more and more in love with it.

Jon: Which we’ll touch on a little more later, but when you say you think of it more like a magazine, do you chart out what episodes you’re going to come out? 

Alisha: I used to. I used to definitely be like okay, I’ve done one makeup this month, so I should do a comedy one next, and then I should do a hair something, you know what I mean. I used to be very like thinking that was more of a tactic, which you can be. Where now my views have definitely changed a bit, but yeah I definitely used to.

Jon: What changed?

Alisha: I think realizing that it’s so much more your personality when it comes to anything online or digital, than your routinely upload—and that’s important to grow definitely and there’s definitely little strategies like that but just doing that isn’t what’s gonna make you a superstar or anything. 

Jon: So when somebody watches your videos now, how much of that personality is you?

Alisha: Well, hopefully with this coming back stage, it’s gonna be a thousand and twenty percent. I feel like my vlog channel is definitely more of who I am. My main channel, I was just talking to a friend about this, I think from doing it for so long, there’s been this more presentation like the main channel, it needs to be perfect, it needs to be—like you’re on camera. Where vlogs, what people love avout them is they’re so real. So, there’s plenty of times where I’ll sit down and I’m filming a main channel video with my nice camera, and I have to tell myself it’s my vlog channel. Just to kind of get me in the mindset of, there’s no difference between this camera and this camera, this one just seems like a lot more professional, formal, lights, um yeah.

Jon: Which takes us to your workaholic phase.

(laughter)

Jon: So, I went back and counted. From 2014 to 2018, you had 250 videos, about. Which is approximately one a week. The first question is, where’d you get the energy to do a video a week?

Alisha: You know what the hard part is? Like, one video a week doesn’t even seem like much, but it really is. And that’s—I genuinely—just my drive. Like nothing would’ve stopped me to upload even if I was sick, if I had the flu, like traveling. I would make sure that I had a video up. And it became more of a control thing, that workaholic phase, you know? And I’ve had so many friends be like “Alisha, how do you do it, what do you do, what’s your secret?” and I genuinely could just tell them there really isn’t anything, it’s just something in me. I have to have it done. 

Jon: I don’t remember who it was, that described you as the hardest working girl on social media. 

(laughter)

Alisha: Well, you know… there’s so much to it. And then, that led to the start of my burnout was me not caring as much. 

Jon: Well then, that was the last phase I wanted to talk about. Talk about that. When did that start to kick in?

Alisha: Honestly, last year. So last year when I look at my channel, I’m just really not proud of it because I love including comedy, but I’m not comedy. And I think that’s when I was looking back at my channel, for last year, I really noticed how much, I really noticed that it was all pretty much comedy, anything to get views, it wasn’t really me like a lot of the like…and it’s funny cause just looking at that channel, I just realized that that doesn’t represent me whatsoever, like yeah I got views but like it doesn’t matter, like it doesn’t mean anything now.

So then what kind of started happening was, instead of having more of a structured week and routine, I just started getting more busy with whether it was like press, or projects and stuff, to where instead of having the whole week to film one video, I ended up only having like two days to film it. And then what ended up happening was, I would film it Friday and partly Saturday, edit all Saturday night, Sunday morning, to get it up Sunday. And that became the routine for I would say probably five months. And that’s what really started kicking in the burnout, because I would be so exhausted by the end of after uploading, that I wouldn’t want to film again for a few days, and then by that time it’s Friday again, and I had to do the whole circle again. And I think doing that for so long and then not being proud of the videos…so that was two parts of it. 

And then also at that time, YouTube’s algorithm changed drastically, and there was this huge shift in just views and stuff. So basically on top of that, my views were low, and putting all those three things together, I just kind of took a step back and be like I was just, I’m not proud of this, and that’s what made me not care to miss a week if I happen to miss a week. And most of the times, they were really good reasons, if I was like actually super sick. 

So there was definitely valid times where missing a week made sense, and I wanted it to be something I was proud of. And the more that happened, the more that my old self that I would never miss a week, I realized how much my drive had changed. And I think that’s what made me notice that I was starting to feel burnout, and that’s what really kind of made it even harder for me of realizing like wow, I used to love this so much, it used to be my passion, what’s changed. And then also from there, I’ve had a lot of people in my life telling me, you need to kind of take a break, or slow down or something, especially being creative like you need time to be creative. And I knew that, but part of me, I don’t know if it was an ego thing, I was just like no, I can do this. It’s ok.

And then finally one day I just knew I needed to take a break and had a full on break down and was like okay, this is even more of a sign that I need to take a break. 

Jon: You posted, and I want to come back to how long it took you to get to this point, but it’s May 13, 2018, you posted a video titled “This Isn’t Goodbye.” How long before you filmed that did you know you were going to do that video?

Alisha: Honestly, only like a week. Maybe two. Two weeks max. I think I remember also knowing, if I’m gonna do this, this is actually the best time to do it because you know, summer has always been a huge time for my channel, and like even just thinking on like the business side, I’m like okay, it kind of makes way more sense to like, if I’m gonna do this, like now’s the best time to do this, from that way. 

But then also, just on a personal side, of just like, okay, like you’ve known this for a long time, there’s no better time than the present. But yeah, I didn’t really think, like I think, it was so funny, like looking back it was so obvious. But for some reason, I just didn’t…

Jon: Well it’s never obvious to the person going through it.

Alisha: Oh completely, my biggest fear with it was there’s this cycle within I would say influencers, but mostly YouTubers, or everyone I don’t know, there’s definitely this cycle that I’ve noticed with other YouTubers that they’re killin the game, they’re uploading so much, they’re literally on top, and then they start to slightly care less, they start skipping one upload, then they start missing months, and then their channel’s dead, and by the time they try to make a comeback, they always try to make a comeback to YouTube, their channel’s dead. And that was always my biggest fear of just becoming irrelevant, or like that it’s just all gonna be gone.

And then something I really had to keep telling myself is one Alisha you’re not those other people like you’re different, you have your own drive, you’re different, and then on top of that I think it’s better to save this before it’s down in the dirt, like it’s not, my channel isn’t done, it’s actually like, for most people’s standpoint, I guarantee that they looked and they’re like oh, I didn’t even notice, you know. Because I felt like taking that break while things were still good, was a huge strategy that I wish someone kinda had said that. 

Jon: I don’t know if you looked, but that video has over 47,000 comments. 

Alisha: Oh my God, yeah. I’m sure it’s the most commented. And the love everyone gave me, was so much. I genuinely couldn’t read the comments that day cause I just kept crying every time I would read it, and I was just like why, like why did it take me so long to do this, why was my fear that they would be mad or…do you know? 

Jon: So now then, we enter into the fourth phase, which is the rejuvenation phase.

Alisha: Ah, I’m so excited for this. 

Jon: Ok, where are you know?

Alisha: I have kind of come full circle and I think I truly realized more than ever—f you just do what you love, people will follow it, and for the longest time I also thought, or I felt like I was following my old subscribers and doing what they wanted to see instead of just doing what I wanted to do and allowing them to follow me. And also, I can find a new audience. Just because I’ve aged up doesn’t mean I’m stuck to just catering to the millions of people who have subscribed and what do they wanna see, what do they wanna see instead of no, let me just do what I wanna do–

Jon: —does that involve getting older as aged up? 

Alisha: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

(laughter)

Alisha: No for sure, yeah that’s something I kind of have like a lightbulb moment of just, why am I chasing what other people want to see from me, instead of just doing what I wanna do, you know? Like I feel like the best filmmakers could never live that way, you know like you’re sacrificing your art and creativity just to make people happy, and you’re never gonna make people happy. 

Jon: well that’s why they remake all the Spiderman movies.

Alisha: Yeah, for sure.

(laughter)

Jon: So what do you have on your plate?

Alisha: Right now, definitely preparing for when I come back. I think that’s something I also realized of I don’t wanna just come back, I wanna make sure I have a plan, you know, I’ve pre-filmed a little bit cause pre-filming’s always my biggest struggle of life. And just doing it right, you know like I actually do have the chance to start over, so I’m just excited to do that.

Jon: When you say pre-filming, what do you mean?

Alisha: When I say pre-filming, since I do upload about once a week, like I said I used to be filming it Friday and uploading it two days later, where now I wanna make sure I have at least a video or two ready to go that are at least being like, I’m editing, working on, weeks before they go up. And I think that’s just—I have to do that.

Jon: In the time off, what have you done to refresh yourself? I mean you obviously thought about what you want to do for vision.

Alisha: Yeah, it was really hard, which I feel like is not that big of a surprise. I could not sit still, I could not work, like I still am a workaholic and what I kind of did, which wasn’t the smartest thing, but I dove into my Instagram, which because I was like, oh I’m just taking a break from my main channel, so I can take a break from that and then like I dove into Instagram, there was a lot of different like events and stuff that I went to, which I probably didn’t have to go to, but I definitely said I would.

I did go to Greece and that was a fun trip. That was a—

Jon: You vlogged about that.

Alisha: I did vlog that. That was my first time vlogging back. So I did end up taking about a two week break from my vlog channel but over the past like three months, I think I barely even vlogged, and I think that was also a moment for me of noticing the burn out because my vlog channel’s been something that I always been obsessed with. I loved so much, sometimes even in some ways more than my main channel because it’s so real. And I never really tried much for that. So the fact that I noticed that I went like a month without even uploading, that was another moment for me being like okay, something’s up, you know?

Jon: So now, are you the kind of person that can go to the beach and just lay there?

Alisha: No, I have to—I’m like this is also the struggle that I have. My hobby is taking photos. I need a new hobby that has nothing to do with social media I think because I’m just like—when we were in Greece there were so many times I wanted to enjoy the moment, have fun, but I’m like no what I want to do is just go around town and take some photos cause I love photography too. I like even being behind the camera so that’s like—it’s so hard again that whole thing of all my hobbies being one. In some ways I’m like okay maybe it would be good to have like I don’t know, I can draw, paint—

Jon: Well, most people’s greatest asset is also their greatest liability.

Alisha: Mmm, I love that. Me.

(laughter)

Alisha: literally me. 

Jon: So it is. It’s like what has gotten you where you are is also going to be the hardest thing you have to fight. 

Alisha: Wow, that’s so true. Dang. 

Jon: So there you are. Do you want to announce you’re—

Alisha: Oh my god, I can! Can I?

Jon: Yes, sure. 

Alisha: Oh my god. Um well, other things that are coming up that I’m super excited about. Um I actually am doing my own podcast soon, which I am so excited about. There is another influencer doing it with me, I’m not gonna say who yet. But um, I feel like there’s so many moments where I’m always telling people, “oh something exciting’s coming, and I feel like this is something where I’m genuinely so pumped for it, and I know it’s the right thing to do, and it’s gonna be so good. Like I’m genuinely so excited for that. So not exactly sure when it’s gonna come out, but you’re the first exclusive. Oh my god! 

(laughter)

Jon: I’m going to call E entertainment.

Alisha: There you go.

Jon: Let’s shift gears a second.

Alisha: Okay. 

Jon: Let’s talk about your platforms. Right now, you almost have seven and a half million YouTube subscribers. 

Alisha: Yes. 

Jon: 5.3 million Twitter followers.

Alisha: Yeah, I don’t know why that one’s so big.

(laughter)

Jon: Yeah, I was going to circle back on that. And 3.7 Instagram followers. Are you on Snapchat?

Alisha: I am. They don’t show you how many followers you have on that. But views-wise, it can be anywhere depending from 300 to almost 500k. 

Jon: What about Facebook? 

Alisha: Um, I’m just not on it. I mean I’m on it, I have an account, I think there’s like 20k maybe 50—I don’t know that many but–

Jon: Are you on it privately?

Alisha: Um, not that much. And I think that’s my thing. I think I need—I’ve been told by so many people that I need to like get on that, so maybe this year, finally. 

Jon: Back in your workaholic days, how many hours a day were you online? Making content, just online. 

Alisha: Oh yeah, and I’ve noticed the times that my channel is doing the best is when I’m watching YouTube videos as a viewer. Just like being aware of the content, the trends, and just genuinely wanting to watch it. So I think—also, sorry I keep flipping between all these phases, with the whole burnout thing, there was easily two months where I didn’t watch any YouTube videos, and I had no desire to. Almost like I resented it maybe, probably, honestly. But yeah I noticed I didn’t even care to watch it then. So I’ve noticed when I’m feeling really good about my channel and proud of it, I’m usually watching it. It’s funny cause like it doesn’t have to go hand in hand, but it kind of makes sense.

Jon: You’re most popular video has over thirty million views. 

Alisha: The pranks one. 

Jon: Funny pranks, roomates—

Alisha: —I love that one.  

Jon: Why do you think that is?

Alisha: I think that was the first—well, I remember that was the first video I filmed in this house. I remember genuinely just having so much fun with it. Like Ashley and I going back and forth and that was part of a series so I think people were looking forward to it and stuff. But I think it was also –it’s just entertaining. Like when you watch it there isn’t a three minute long intro of me talking that people skip, you know like it just dives straight into it. It was fun.

Jon: Where did you get the idea of pinning a bar of soap? 

Alisha: You know what, you’d be surprised with what you can find online. That’s all I have to say. There’s so many things. There’s only some that I’ve actually come up with but most of them I do find online and stuff. But it’s so funny like some of the things like wow, if I was super young finding all this it would’ve been horrible. Like I totally would’ve done all of them on like Ashley for sure. 

Jon: And Ashley’s your sister. 

Alisha: Yes.

Jon: Do you have any other sisters? 

Alisha: No, I don’t. I do have a brother but no other sisters. 

Jon: Do you go for G, PG, PG-17, R? 

Alisha: for the longest time, I was definitely G being super super clean. Think Disney Channel super clean. And then throughout I definitely aged up more to like a PG. And then moving forward, especially with me growing up and stuff too just like there’s no, no one wants to see I don’t know. I don’t want myself to limit myself to—I’m rambling so much I’m sorry. 

Jon: That’s what a podcast is.

Alisha: (laughter) I love it. Yeah no definitely moving forward I wanna age it up and have it more PG-13 and have it more treated just like who I am and stuff. And it’s not like I’m a crazy party girl or anything but you know just having it more realistic because I think I’m at one point—

Jon: —well you’re not 16. 

Alisha: Yeah, I’m not 12 anymore, and I think that’s something that—you know if I wanna age up that audience that’s just gonna have to be something. And then I think also getting older. For the longest time I truly was like what you see is what you get. My channel was 100% representation of me. That would always be something I loved when people would come up and say wow, you genuinely are that same person. But as I’ve gotten older there becomes this moment where people kind of almost don’t trust you cause you’re like okay, there’s no way you can be like this. Who’s the real you. And I think coming to that moment—I think the timing’s perfect because I think genuinely within the past few months I’ve changed so much. It felt like ever since I cut my hair. Like I don’t know what happened but the second that happened—

Jon: You know, it’s common when you get out of a relationship they cut their hair.

Alisha: Cut their hair, dye it, do something different. It was literally like out of a relationship with my channel that’s so funny. So I am excited to kind of reintroduce everyone to the new me, and how I’ve changed and grown up and yeah. 

Jon: We talked a little about your being comfortable in front of a camera. When you were acting as a kid, do you want to be in front of a camera or just live? 

Alisha: I don’t think I ever made the conscious thought of which one. I definitely just enjoyed it a lot. And I remember making movies with my friends when we were so young, and I remember even then thinking about editing and thinking oh, when I edit this I can like erase this and we can do flips and it was like this spy series. It never made it. We do have the footage somewhere, but um yeah like just always loving cameras. And there was this one time I wanted a video camera so bad but like we didn’t have the money for it. And then finally one year, I got one, and it was this like huge thing, it was literally so huge and I loved it so much. Fast forward about a year, I think it died or something and it broke. And all I wanted to do was break it so I could see how it worked. And I remember my mom was so confused because I was like, “Can I go smash this in the backyard?” And she was like, “Why?” and I was like, “I just wanna see how it works.” She’s like, “Okay, cool.” So I literally got like a hammer and just like—it was so funny. But like I don’t know cause I just always loved them. 

Jon: Which kind of leads us into the creative process. You talked about getting some of your ideas for the pranks just Googling them online. Where do you get your ideas? 

Alisha: Most of them and this is so cliché sounding, but I always tell people this on panels or anything, my best ideas come when I’m hanging out with friends. And it kind of makes sense because especially being in a more relatable category like I feel like a lot of my content is geared towards that just because I’m like I’m not like a Kylie Jenner I’m just like me kind of thing. Um, whenever I’m just like hanging out with friends and someone does something funny, I always say like, “Oh my god that would be a great video idea.” And, the times that I’ve tried to like slave myself to my desk and think of a viral video—it never happens. So a lot of those pranks—even though it’s a prank, some of them have been—I have a like go to group chat of friends who always I can just bounce ideas off of and say like, “Hey is this actually funny like do you have any rec”—you know what I mean? So um yeah.

Jon: When do your friends think of this. The whole online—

Alisha: You know what’s funny is I’m actually not that close to anyone I went to high school with, and I’ve always just been doing YouTube for so long so there kind of beame a point where like all my friends all do it or are aware they are fully in it. Um so I’m curious what a lot of people from high school think.

Jon: So dating.

Alisha: Nonexistent (laughter) 

Jon: How much do you think though when somebody meets you, they’re going to go actually watch the videos—

Alisha: Oh, I’m sure everyone would. I mean like I think about it, maybe it’s just because I don’t know is it cause I’m a girl I don’t know. But I feel like if I met a guy and he said, “Oh yeah, I do this,” and he explained it and said his channel name, you know the next day I’m gonna look it up, you know, just cause I’m like curious. Um yeah, but also I feel like I don’t know maybe they don’t, but I think—what’s hard about it is it’s 90% of my life so it’s so hard when I meet people even friends to not talk about it cause especially—I remember I did an acting class um over a year ago, and I tried to not bring it up because I didn’t—I don’t know I hate people thinking that like they’re bragging or something and there really no—so I tried not to bring it up, which almost more—I feel like that kind of hurt me more because genuinely I just saw so quiet in the back, I’m such an introvert by the way, I sat in the back of the class and didn’t talk to anyone cause I’m like I don’t know how to not talk about it so I’m just not gonna talk to anyone. And of course people are genuinely just like you know—you especially acting class you’re doing like group things, you’re you know in front of everyone. At some point, everyone just even one on one be like, “Oh so what do you do, are you in school?” I’m like okay, I don’t wanna lie like no I’m not in school. Um so I do this YouTube—and I’d always be so awkward with it and then there came a time where I realized, “Alisha you just have to own it and like you know you’re not bragging,”—it’s just so much in my life it’s so weird to not talk about.

Jon: When people point out you are on YouTube, are there preconceptions that you bump up against?

Alisha: Um, yes. It depends—it truly depends on the person and their views of social media cause a lot of people will be like “Oh,” and you know like—it’s very obvious that they think I don’t work, I don’t do anything almost, I mean I just have to travel everywhere. Um and then you get some people who understand it and they’re super impressed. They’re like, “wow that’s amazing I follow these people,” which over the years it’s definitely gotten to that but…

Jon: Well let’s talk about that. You said towards the end it was kind of a three day marathon to create videos. Take us through the process. What is the process?

Alisha: The process is an interesting one. I think—ah see it’s hard because there’s the process before the burnout and then during the burnout but—

Jon: Well what do you think the process is going to be going forward?

Alisha: Oh, here we go. The process going forward um I already have a list of video ideas that I wanna do, and I genuinely—I have told myself, and I’ve promised myself that I’m gonna keep to this—I’m not gonna have set day for uploading because I think half of my stress genuinely came—

Jon: —was meeting that deadline. 

Alisha: --meeting that deadline. And it was a great tactic to grow of having—so people know when to come back to your channel. It’s one of the biggest things YouTube tells people you should do, but I think now knowing my personality and knowing how I work, that stresses me out so much to where I would put away all the creative to put up just a crap video that literally I’m not proud of. I wouldn’t even wanna watch it, who else would wanna watch it just to meet that deadline so now I’m definitely not gonna have a set day of uploading, and if I wanna upload twice in one week I have that freedom, and if I wanna skip a week because I need more time to work on the next one then I have that freedom too. So I think it’s—im curious to see if it hurts the views or if it makes it better just because the content is so much better you know? I don’t think it’ll matter too much.

Jon: So how long is your typical video?

Alisha: Um between five and ten minutes.

Jon: How many takes does it take to get it?

Alisha: It depends what mood I’m in that day. I can be a perfectionist, which I also hate about myself. Um, so there’s definitely times where I’ll refilm the same scene or same shot so many times and then I finally get so frustrated I’m like, “Alisha, no one else cares like it’s okay.” So but I still try to get the shot that I want.

Jon: Do you use a camera person or tripod?

Alisha: My sister helps me. So it’s really just us. Moving forward I’d like to hire people when needed. You know, if I’m planning on doing like a let’s say house tour, and I really want like a ronin, and a stabilizer, and the full thing, definitely hire someone. Where I think before I would waste time trying to do it myself because I have in my head it’s this huge cinematic movie like video, but it doesn’t meet that standard and that’s what makes me have to redo something 20 million times, and I realize okay, like next time I needa be more realistic, like can I actually get the shot that I want. You know is it the right time of day instead of like oh, it’s Friday the sun’s going down and okay I’ll do whatever.

Jon: What about Instagram those photos?

Alisha: Instagram, oh my god. Um well Instagram is—I’m known within my friends to take the most photos. Like I—like so many of my friends they’re just like, “Hey can you take a photo of me,” cause whenever we go on trips I’m usually the one who takes photos of everyone and then Ashley will take them of me and everyone maybe 30 photos max like maybe and they’re like, “Yep that’s good, sure that works.” And then me on the other hand I’ll take a million and I’m like no that’s not good enough and I want—and it’s bad I will say. Um I’m actually, moving forward, trying to have new feed thing on my feed of um just less effort. I think that’s something—it got—Instagram’s definitely that place where people want—people show the highlights of their life, the best of the best.

Jon: Well certainly the beautiful channel. 

Alisha: I feel like moving forward though, there’s going to be a switch at some point where people are like just so—everyone on YouTube at least is just so tired of that picture perfect person, and I think Instagram’s gonna be following that step soon. I think it’s just so hard because now everyone knows that most people photoshop everything. Even like locations um, there’s a lot of people who photoshop like if they’re at Huntington Beach it looks like it’s Thailand, you know what I mean.

Jon: Well like a typical shot that you do, how long does it take to set it up? How much thought do you give to the background and how you’re sitting…

Alisha: Kind of a lot. Usually—a lot of times I’ll work with photographers and we’ll just set up like a quick little photoshoot or something and before that I’ll usually like think about the outfits that I want and the locations and then I’ll just be like, “Okay, do I want to have like an ice cream with this one, do I wanna just be like chillin on my phone, or um is it like an outfit one,” and then once I get all the photos, narrowing them down to the like hero top four you know, and then from there there’s an app on my phone um, I usually use snug and that’s one where you can basically preplan all your photos to see what it’ll look like um and most people use something like that. So that’s like—right now I think I have like 10 photos that are just like ready to go but like I still have to figure out the perfect feed and order for it. 

Jon: How much time do you spend working on that? 

Alisha: A lot, it kinda feels like a game. I don’t really go on games on my phone, and I’ve realized what feels like a game to me is finding the perfect—it’s like a puzzle. Finding the perfect order um for that or like this is horrible lowkey online shopping like—like I realize I don’t like—the apps make it so much—it just feels like a game where I think that’s why a lot of my time and energy goes there because it can be addicting where you’re just like, “Oh I have to figure out the perfect puzzle and like when your feed looks perfect you just have this satisfying moment of like yeah, I did that like but then I don’t know so it’s interesting seeing how much is what you purposely put in as—cause I’d love to have more of like a 9 to 5 where it’s like okay, now I’m gonna work on my Instagram for like 20 minutes, but it’s just like it doesn’t really work that way. 

Jon: So how did you grow your following?

Alisha: At one point I realized—it took a long time to realize this that thumbnails matter, titles matter, the more technical side of you know, YouTube matters. So, what I kinda did, I remember noticing that looking back on my channel, I remember having this moment of realizing oh, I should do videos that other people are doing, are searching, popular videos. At that time, morning routines were everywhere. Back in the day, like literally if I had a video get a hundred thousand views, I didn’t think in my head oh I should do more like that. Like I genuinely was just like, oh that was good, now I’m gonna do this eye makeup look and name it some fancy, creative title to make me stand out but in reality no one searches that. So, I think I had that moment of realizing oh, that did well, I should do more of that, people like that, this is trending, this title works better. Um so I think just having that moment is what really—I always tell people starting out on their channel, that’s what if feels like, um that you should do popular videos and trending things; however, have your own twist to it to where when people wanna find it they’ll wanna stay and watch more cause like you’re standing out.

Jon: So if you were just starting out now, is that what you would do?

Alisha: Oh, fully yeah because I think there’s so many times, it’s kind of funny. It’s known that I like, like I will stalk smaller channels so much. I love it because it gives me the nostalgia of when I started. Like and it’s so funny because a lot of people like—a lot of my friends make fun of me cause they’re like, “Oh my god you like know the YouTube world,” and all that stuff. But my biggest thing is I’ll come across people and they’re like an identical clone of someone else that we all know. And it’s just—there’s such potential there but they’re limiting themselves cause I’m not gonna subscribe because I already follow that someone else. 

So it’s like having your own personality, which I realize ten years later, is the number one most important thing—is what I would do. 

Jon: Now on Instagram, about how many people do you follow?

Alisha: Under a thousand cause at one point I was at a thousand and I unfollowed like 200 people and the reason why I unfollowed them all was I just—I took a second and was like, “I don’t even know your first name.” I like, like I usually feel bad about myself because your body’s so perfect like when I see your post, so why do I wanna see that. And then three I’m like I just don’t know who you are. So I’ve realized, most of the people that I unfollowed at that point, it was nothing against them in anyway, I was just like, like I can’t connect to you on something. So I think realizing that, and being a viewer, and being active user, helped me as a creator because I realized what I was looking for. 

Jon: So do you follow people that you’re not friends with—

Alisha: Oh definitely but for some reason there’s something about them that sticks out to me and that I remember the by and I either follow them because I love you know, their feed their photos I feel like they’re standing out they’re like being themselves and doing something different. There’s this one girl her name’s Tessa and she’s on Instagram and she’s been blowing up lately, but it’s because she—like she came in and her vibe was just so different than everyone else and she stood out in front of the world of other bloggers, and I don’t really blog that much, but I like love—my sister told me about her and I love really loved her and it’s funny because everyone talks about her and says the same thing. So it’s interesting how much people like having like—people like things when they’re the same but at the same time love when things are also different.

Jon: Now you had mentioned earlier you think the next thing on Instagram and a little bit of YouTube is to be more real. 

Alisha: Yeah, I kinda—I had this idea which I was like it kinda could be fun to do my feed like normal but when you slide the next photo’s like a blooper photo and that way it shows people like yeah I got this perfect photo but there were literally 200 other ones where I felt I looked horrible you know what I mean, so I think  that could be something fun. Someone like Lele Pons, she’s huge. I think she does an excellent job in showing her goofy funny side and not her like so perfect—cause like oh my god she’s beautiful and she’s like—but she has those photos but at the same time she’ll have her derpy photos and rock it and that’s why she has—I don’t know I forget how many followers, but it’s close to like 20 million, like she’s massive, and I think that’s people want something to connect with and you know.

Jon: So what do you think’s going to happen when Instagram allows hour long videos?

Alisha: Ooo, IGTV, I actually at first I was a little confused by it, but I think it’s also really good just for YouTube to have a like a competitor. Um, and yeah so it is a separate app and stuff but at the same time—I don’t know I think it’ll be good. I think it’ll be fun even it pushes me as a creator to think of, “Okay, like what kind of content do I wanna do hear.” Um, I think that’s also gonna show—cause obviously you can edit, but I think in the long run it’s like you’re gonna see more of someone. 

Jon: More vlog…

Alisha: Yeah, you’re gonna see more of someone’s personality where on Instagram, most people don’t upload videos to Instagram. Some people do but overall most people don’t just because it ruins the feed, or it like—you can’t edit it the same way and there’s just a lot of little things around it. So I think IGTV was a great way for them to kind of like bring that in.

Jon: So now we’re going to get into a little self-reflection. 

Alisha: Yes.

Jon: On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being you care less, 10 means it matters a lot, how important is how people think about you?

Alisha: Oh. Um, used to be a 10. Definitely now I’d say it’s a 7. 

Jon: Which takes us to, how about criticism? Which is kind of a twin sister of this. 

Alisha:  Weirdly enough, and I thinks this is what I’m still figuring out about myself, and lowkey going to therapy helped me realize this, but in some ways I don’t care at all what people think. And other ways, I really care what they think. When it comes to viewers, I told you like hearing that they were super supportive and stuff helped a lot, but overall the average hate comments don’t really bother me, but when it’s other creators, and I want them to respect me as a creator because I—that’s what I think of that I overthink things, and I’m just like, “Oh I care about what you think,” when I think of like other peers or something like that.

Jon: Do you read your comments?

Alisha: I do within the first like hour or two and sometimes throughout the week I’ll kind of check up on it, but I used to read them all day every day. And then I finally realized for the most part, most the haters are trolls that your find your video later. The people that have the notifications on that you’re in sub box, within that first hour, you hardly get any hate because they’re subscribed to you. And if they’re subscribed to you and they’re still leaving hate then that’s just on them. It’s just like why are you doing that. Um yeah, so I’ve kinda figured out that little tactic and that’s helped a lot because honestly it’s like you’re most dedicated followers I guess in a way, you can say they get I don’t wanna say rewarded but like you will reply to them more like cause you’re gonna see them and stuff.  It’s like you get that interaction and then you don’t have to worry about the haters because they usually come later in the week when they just like stumble upon your video. 

Jon: What has been your family’s reaction to this?

Alisha: They’ve been so supportive. I remember when I first started I didn’t tell my parents at all.

(laughter)

Jon: How did they find out about it?

Alisha: Well this is what was so funny  cause especially then, to say you’re a teenager and uploading videos to the internet just sounds extremely—like I get why parents wouldn’t want their kids to do that fully, but I didn’t tell them because I knew they wouldn’t want me to do it, you know? 

Jon: Well I have my nephew. He’s from Omaha, Nebraska. He did a rap video, I saved it. 

Alisha: Oh my god yes I love it. Save it so he doesn’t delete it.

Jon: He took it down. He deleted it when his mom found out.

Alisha: He’ll want it in ten years I promise. Oh my god that’s so funny. Um, but I was watching YouTube videos, and I was watching them all the time. And I remember my dad walked by, and at one point was like, “When are you gonna do that?” And I literally was so shocked and was like, “Um, I already am.” But then that went and then from there I felt like I had that okay of like okay, they know it’s fine.  And then I think—I actually just talked to them about this recently, but it was maybe like a year after that that my mom kinda had that moment of like oh, like this could be kinda be something—I’m assuming like we were shopping and people kept coming up or something like that, and I think she was just like wow like--

Jon: When was that for you? When was it that the first person recognized you?

Alisha: Ah, I remember I went to a makeup convention it was called IMATS and there was this one girl, I forget—I probably had like 50,000 subscribers at that time, and this girl comes up to me and goes—she says, “Hi, I watch your channel can I get a photo?” and I was like, “Yes!” I totally remember what she looks like, I forget her name which pisses me off so much. But um, literally I was just like so blown away, and I think two people came up to me. Two or three people came up to me that day.

Jon: How long ago was that?

Alisha: Oh my god that was 2011 or 10? Maybe 2010, but it was literally like so crazy, and that made my freaking month. Like I was just like, “Oh my god, that girl came up to me.” And it’s just—it’s the best way to get—it’s so easy online just to see a number and to see it as a number. When you actually have someone face to face with you—like there’s times when let’s say a video hits a million views and I was expecting it to hit 2 million, and I’m like upset about that you know? If a million people were in front of me, I don’t think I would even care, do you know what I—like –I mean I would care—like I wouldn’t care that I didn’t hit 2 million, like it’s so easy to see a number and see it as a view but when you have a meet and greet and meet people in person like that’s such a special connect, and I think it’s really important for creators to find a way to connect with their fans whether it’s face to face or something like that.

Jon: How often when you go out now, how often do you get recognized? 

Alisha: You know what’s funny? It’s definitely all the time. I can definitely expect it um like it wouldn’t shock me ever um but what’s interesting is I can go to Disneyland, I love Disneyland, I can go there and if I don’t Snapchat, if I don’t vlog, if I wear slightly darker clothes, like I can easily not get recognized you know, it’s like it’s funny how I can either have a meet-up if I really want it you know, if you see a girl with a camera, like that just brings attention you know, so it’s funny how I can pretty much—I can know what to expect by like what I’m wearing, if I’m vlogging, if um—but yeah it’s definitely a lot, I will say. 

Jon: Completely shifting gears, what is your definition of influencer? 

Alisha: Oo, um well lately I’ve tried to change my vocabulary and stop saying “YouTuber” because I realize no, I’m an influencer you know um and --

Jon: —well you forget your Twitter followers. How come you don’t follow Twitter that much?

Alisha: Twitter’s an interesting one.

Jon: And now we’ll come back to your definition of an influencer.

Alisha: Um okay, definition of an influencer I would say anyone who just—it’s so cliché—influences whether you have a blog of a Facebook, it’s just, it’s your—I would say your full-time job of just doing social media and all that stuff.

Jon: When did you first start to consider yourself an influencer? 

Alisha: Genuinely, I don’t think that long ago. And that’s when I started trying to change my vocabulary of like no like I can use YouTube, but that’s limiting me to one platform and like I’m an influencer you know and you know even starting a podcast or something like that’s not YouTube, and I think that’s more respected in the traditional media Hollywood sense too of like when you just say YouTuber like how many headlines are there with horrible things with YouTubers you know what I mean, so to say like no like even blogger sounds more professional, which is funny cause it’s still—like it’s oh I’m a blogger like there’s just this stigma. But yeah I think anyone could be an influencer, it’s just devoting your time to it.

Jon: Have you had an “I made it moment”? 

Alisha: When I hit a hundred thousand subscribers, I like cried, I have a vlog, I like cried my—my family got me a cake like literally it was such—but back then a hundred thousand was like the million now because it was just so not saturated like it is now. Like hitting a million now sadly isn’t as impressive anymore because the bar just keeps going higher and higher but back then like I hit a hundred thousand I was so—I was just like it was everything. 

Jon: You’ve talked about advice on if you were growing a YouTube channel, what’s your general advice for somebody that wants to get into this space?

Alisha: Oo..

Jon: On managing your life, on managing who you are, why you’re still being that out there.

Alisha: I think definitely having—and it’s fun it’s so cliché, I’ve heard this so many times but it didn’t like click to me—but just having a support group around you whether its friends, family, of people who can kinda keep you in check and that are just gonna be so honest and genuine with you like there’s so many times I see people and they’re in friend groups and it’s just like toxic because you know that they’re just like it’s all superficial and like you know that they really don’t have each other’s backs and when I think of the people who are in my life right now, I’m just like blown away because genuinely all of them care about me so much and they know the real me, and I think that’s the biggest thing of just have a good support group, have like balance to your life, like as—it’s always just going to be the next thing like the vlogs are just gonna have to get crazier and crazier if you set that precedent and like yeah. 

Jon: So you’ve been on YouTube 10 years. If you could go back to your 10 year younger self, what would you tell yourself?

Alisha: Oh my god, I would love that. I would tell myself to not care about what people think, to just do whatever I wanna do because I have—I am talented in it, and I think I needed—I think I really discovered along the journey of like my talent and like—now I can sit here like so confidently and say, “I’m meant to be a creative director,” where back then I was just like oh maybe people are gonna think this, or like I don’t know I’m not confident in myself. Where now I’m just so confident and YouTube’s definitely brought that confidence. Going back to being an introvert, a lot of people from my past at different times have just said, “You of all people like you were so shy.” But it’s kinda funny now being in this space, a lot of influencers are introverts and are shy and it’s just it’s so funny.

Jon: You see that with a lot of television actors and--

Alisha: Yeah, everything entertainment is so funny. I mean obviously there’s other, but it’s so funny.

Jon: So this has been great. So where can people find you?

Alisha: Yes, main channel is AlishaMarie. I have my other vlog channel which is AlishaMarieVlogs which is just a daily like follow me around on my day kinda video. Um, Instagram @alisha, I don’t know how I got that but I did, it’s just @alisha. And @alishamarie on Twitter. So, if you type Alisha it should come up anywhere but…

Jon: Thank you.

Alisha: Thank you. 

______________________________________________________________________________

The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California. Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them. 

  • The Creative Influencer , Podcast , Influencers | Social Media
  • Jul 31, 2018

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