TIFFANY FERGUSON talks YouTube, Growing up Poor and Other Important Things

With 5.5 million views and over 60,000 subscribers, Tiffany Ferguson has been around since YouTubes humbled beginnings when the kind of content being uploaded was Harry Potter puppet videos or teenage girls dancing to One Time by Justin Bieber. YouTube has progressed to a place I never ever would have predicated. With book deals and world tours, large companies are paying in the tens of thousands just for a shoutout at the end of someone’s Q&A video. But something has been lost along the way for many YouTubers rise to stardom, and thats the personal connection viewers had with the creators in the first place. People liked YouTubers because they were different to celebrities, they gave insight into their personal lives and shared their own stories, but a lot of that has been lost. Tiffany is different though, and that’s probably the reason that she’s one of the few remaining YouTubers that I still continue to watch (or maybe it’s because she’s genuinely really funny, I suppose we’ll never know).
Anyway, I spoke to Tiffany about YouTube and Life and Growing up and here’s watch she said.
What was it like growing up in California?
I was born in Arizona and grew up in 120 degree summers, so moving to California in elementary school was awesome. My home town is ridiculously beautiful so it’s hard to complain, but it is also incredibly expensive to live there and some people can to be very materialistic. 

So you’ve been making videos for like, 8 years now? How old were you when you started and what made you keep going?
9 years now! Crazy. I was in fifth grade (11 years old) when I started and I just kept posting out of boredom! Back in middle school, everybody went through the phase where you make music videos or little sketches with your friends, but I never stopped. After a few years, it was part of my identity so I just kept posting!

One of my favourite videos you’ve done was your story about growing up poor. Did you expect the reaction you got from it?
It was really hard to post that video because there were people in my life, even people that I’m very close to, didn’t know about my living situation and it felt strange just letting it out there to everyone. But then again, it was a lot easier than telling people in person. It was very cathartic to finally speak my story out loud and try to explain how I’d been feeling for so many years, struggling with the insecurity of being poorer than most of my friends and the people around me. The reaction from youtube was incredible, though. I was surprised by the amount of people who opened up in the comments and were brave enough to share their own story about growing up poor. It’s the most important video I’ve ever posted and I really appreciate the responses that I’ve received from it. I think it also helped to give people perspective; it made everyone realize they needed to thank their parents for everything they’ve done. No matter how well-off your family is, it’s important to appreciate what you have and be grateful.

Who do you look up too, not just on YouTube but in general?
Female comedians are my jam! Because of what I want to do in the film and TV industry, I look up to a ton of actors, writers, and comedians. To name a few… Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, & Mindy Kaling! All of those women are so incredibly hilarious and talented. They do it all and I would love to be half as great as they are.

Do you personally think having YouTube as a job is as good as everyone makes it out to be?
It has its ups and downs, but in general it is a really unique and exciting experience. Of course anyone would think YouTube is a dream job, but it’s tough! It takes a lot of hours to film, edit, and post a video. But to really be successful online, you have to be strategic. You have to market yourself. You have to create yourself as a “brand” that sets you apart from the rest. Every little thing matters, from the title of your video (CLICKBAIT, anyone??) to the way you design your thumbnail. It’s really cool, though, to create it all by yourself. That’s what I enjoy about youtube, it’s very personal. I would say the hardest parts about YouTube are 1) lacking creativity and 2) finding a balance between being yourself and creating content that your subscribers enjoy. No matter how often you post, whether its daily or once a week, it can be really hard to stay inspired and creative. My creativity tends to come in bursts. I’ll struggle to think of good video ideas then suddenly think of 10 and film them all in one day. And as far as trying to be yourself VS being what your subscribers want… it’s hard! It’s hard to stay genuine because you have people complimenting or judging or criticizing everything you do. It’s easy to see whats “trending” or whats popular online and want to copy that, but personally I can’t do that. I know a big thing that my viewers like about me is that I stay true to myself, and I know that that limits my viewership reach because I’m not perfectly bubbly or relatable or PG-13, but I have to stay real.  

Has anyone ever been critical about your YouTube in college or is it mostly the other way round?
Nope! I’ve been really lucky to have minimal amounts of critics IRL about my youtube. Most people completely support it and think it’s cool, so its really nice to have that. I was never bullied or made fun of for posting videos, but I know a lot of youtubers have struggled with that.

Honestly, what do you think about college? Do you think it’s all worth it?
HA! Yes, actually, I do think it’s worth it now, but not just for that degree, that piece of paper. I love learning. I love knowledge. I really value my education. I do find myself a little overwhelmed by the thought of all the debt I’ll have once I graduate, but hey that’s a worry for a later date! Until then, I’m going to enjoy my college experience to the fullest and take full advantage of the opportunities that come my way. BUT – it’s always possible that I’ll change my mind at any given time, decide I want to take another gap year, move across the world, who knows! College is just about figuring out who you are and what you love in life, so wherever that leads you is awesome.

I remember you posting a picture on instagram in a Bernie T-shirt a really long time ago. Where did you first hear about him and did you ever think he would get as far as he has?
About a year ago, I found Bernie when I took the quiz that tells you which presidential candidate your views align with the most, based on your answers to some basic questions. I matched with Bernie like 98%! Prior to that, I had never heard of him and assumed I’d be voting for Hillary. At that point I honestly knew next to nothing about politics, I didn’t keep up with the news, and I wasn’t very well-informed. Now I spend way too much of my time reading articles and getting fired up about the primaries hahaha. As soon as I found out who Bernie was and what he’s been fighting for his entire career and life, I knew I had to support him. Even though he’s been considered an underdog this entire time, I think he really has a chance to win. It’s so incredible to see how far he has come and what this movement has turned into. It’s SO inspiring. It is a true political revolution.

YouTube (tiffanyferg)
YouTube (socially unacceptable)


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