GOOGLE Corp. has one of the most popular—and controversial for some—online video platforms, and two young Filipino women are using it to inspire a Filipino viewership.
It was also the viewers who prompted Ella Gatchalian and Ashley Garcia to go into vlogging, posting a video blog online.
Nine years ago Garcia was only one of the millions who watched videos on YouTube that featured fashion and interiors.
“Little did I know, creating and editing videos would be a trendy thing and I would eventually consider it as one of my passions,” the 19-year-old Garcia told the BusinessMirror in an e-mail. “I’m a very sentimental person. I am fond of taking photos and videos to capture fleeting memories.”
She added that even before starting her own YouTube channel, she created mini-vlogs that only her boyfriend could see.
“I never had the courage to post those videos online.”
The support of her friends boosted her confidence and Garcia uploaded a video on her channel last October 15, 2017, after joining YouTube in July 2013.
She currently has 23,808 subscribers and 752,379 views.
THE 19-year-old Gatchalian, Garcia’s schoolmate at senior high school, was also ushered into vlogging by her Twitter followers.
“I told myself that if I get 300 likes on [a] selfie, I’ll do it; I’ll make a video,” she told the BusinessMirror in an e-mail.
Gatchalian started sharing videos on YouTube in July last year after that tweet reached 300 likes.
“I never actually planned to start a YouTube channel,” she said. “Even though I was interested about it before, I never imagined that I’d actually do it.”
Her first video reached nearly 400,000 views. Thirty days later, she got 2,000 subscribers.
Online applications, a renovated room and an iPhone helped Gatchalian build her channel that has 165,229 subscribers and nearly 6 million views.
She uploads makeup tutorials, shopping hauls and daily vlogs.
GATCHALIAN, considered a beauty, fashion and lifestyle vlogger, is already earning after only one year of doing YouTube videos.
She earns through Google Adsense, by promoting international and local brands.
Gatchalian was also promoted by an international marketing, entertainment and talent agency that is based in Asia and the USA. She also gets products instead of money, which she promotes through her social media.
“Those brands either want me to do a YouTube video or post on Instagram for them. That is how I promote their products,” Gatchalian said. “No matter what, you need to really do your research on the brand you’re promoting. The purpose of promoting is to help and inform the people about the product. At the same time, I review the product and share my own perspective to my viewers.”
Gatchalian said a YouTuber gets paid relative to the number of views and frequency of videos uploaded.
“Since I’ve reached over 100,000 subscribers, on average I earn [with at least three uploaded videos] more or less, P10,000 a month.”
GROWING up in Bulacan, Gatchalian was an achiever during her elementary and junior high school days.
She takes passion in dancing to hip-hop, likes listening to indie bands and has done several short films in the past. After recently graduating from a health-allied strand at senior high school, she plans to take up medical biology at the University of Santo Tomas.
Gatchalian said she was able to juggle these responsibilities and vlogging by balancing her priorities and making sure her scheduling is thorough. She said she gets everything done in order, goes stress-eating and does retail therapy as a way for her to de-stress.
“It really depends on my schedule at school. If I have a free day, that’s when I make a video,” Gatchalian said. “But, for example, if I’m really busy and I have no time, I try to vlog what I’ve been up to.”
Sometimes she also creates a vlog at school.
“When I vlog at school, I still do my studying and I can also hang out with my friends,” Gatchalian said. “As a whole, it’s a vlog. It’s like vlogging my multiple tasks.”
VLOGGING made Gatchalian’s life busier but enabled her to interact with corporate businesses.
“I learned how to be more responsible with my time and I feel like I’ve glowed more.”
Gatchalian said being a YouTuber “enhanced [her] communication with people because, at first, I had communicated and accomplished deals with the brands on my own.”
“It’s like my YouTube journey trained me to be professional,” she added. “It helped me deal with people professionally despite only being a student.”
Although being a YouTuber also meant having a lot of busy days, Gatchalian shared that being able to inspire a lot of people made it all worth it.
“Because if you genuinely try to enjoy it [being a YouTuber], you will truly feel how happy it is to inspire people through your videos.”
BEFORE vlogging, Garcia was into blogging.
“My journey of becoming a YouTuber started with my love for creating content when I had a blog,” she said. “My blog was sort of a diary for me, wherein I just post anything I could think of under the sun. But then, I felt like I was too limited with words and photos. That’s why I decided to create vlogs and pursue my passion of creating content through videos.”
She considers having a viewership base as “both a blessing and a responsibility, especially since most of them are teenagers.” Having teenagers among the audience, however, “is the main reason why I want this platform to be filled with positivity, since I do have a voice to empower these young individuals.”
“As much as possible, I want my [online family or fan base in YouTube] to feel like I’m just another sister or friend they can randomly talk to online,” Garcia said. “It’s actually heartwarming because some of them had opened up to me while I give pieces of advice afterward.”
An interaction with a female fan left a very deep impression on her.
Garcia said the fan was suffering from depression and entertaining suicidal thoughts.
“She told me I inspired her in some way that made her go back to school and live her life again,” Garcia claimed. “It really struck me that I shouldn’t take this platform for granted because that’s what it’s really all about—inspiring, influencing and empowering.”
GARCIA claims money or earning from YouTube were not the reasons for going into vlogging.
“One of the main reasons I started my YouTube channel is to keep memories in the form of videos,” she said. “I’m not in it for the views or ads. I’m in it to leave a legacy or a mark in order for me to influence other people.”
If I were in it for the money, I would have stopped posting video content a long time ago, according to her.
“I have nothing against the people who envision YouTube as a potential, full-time career for business purposes. There are a lot of successful YouTubers out there who pursued this career path,” she said. “But for a person like me, it wouldn’t work that way because it really takes a lot of time, patience and effort, especially now that YouTube has its new set of rules for you to be able to monetize your videos.”
She said vlogging “really demands time and energy.”
On the upside, vlogging made Garcia productive and boosted her confidence, she said.
“It was a different, whole new world for me but starting it is one of the best decisions of my life.”
DESPITE the fame and the seemingly effortless lifestyle, Garcia said she considers being a YouTuber as the kind of work that demands passion and perseverance in order for one to succeed.
“To anyone who wants to start their own YouTube channel, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for,” Garcia said. “There might be a lot of things holding you back but once you just step out of your comfort zone, believe me when I say that it will [bring] you wonders.”
Gatchalian also encourages fellow millennials to go into vlogging.
She added, however, that one should expect to make mistakes.
“It’s okay to make mistakes and for people to criticize you. Third, it’s okay to be conscious at first, as long as you’re doing the right thing,” Gatchalian said. “Lastly, just enjoy it, because you will truly feel how happy it is to inspire people through your videos.”
For Garcia, “Quality content is as important as consistency.”
“Just be yourself and find that niche that makes you stand out among the sea of YouTubers,” she said. “It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time to find your own style.”
Garcia also dispelled the notion that being a vlogger is “not as glamorous as you think it is.”
Going into vlogging, your life “will be filled with sleepless nights spent editing videos and a lot of energy poured into making quality content.”
“But it [vlogging] will all be worth it,” Garcia said. “You reap whatever you sow.”
Alyssa Clarin and Chelsea Ochoa