Let's talk about YouTube for a minute.
Sure, it's your default source for cat videos, it can be used to do so much more. Contouring got you stumped? Look it up on YouTube. That golden picture frame looked fab on Pinterest, but you can't find the steps? Search YouTube! Hands down, it's the largest free learning resource available, but it's still more useful than that.
It's responsible for jump-starting the careers of Carly Rae Jepsen, Justin Bieber and Karmin. Even athletes have used YouTube to show the world their talent; Alex Tanney made a video showing his football skills. It went viral and exposure from that video has contributed to his current position with the Tennessee Titans.
While not everyone has an athletic ability, YouTube can still help show the world your talent. Many individuals have started on YouTube and landed major deals with TV networks, fashion houses etc. The iJustines and Michelle Phans are popular examples, but this list is about 11 less-known-but-just-as-cool YouTubers.
These women have taken their skills (a broad range) and presented it to an audience who loved it so much, they have become stars in their own right. With subscriber numbers in the millions, video views in the billions, verified social media accounts, it's no doubt that they are pretty popular.
11 Kandee Johnson
Now many makeup artists have done this, posted their makeup tutorials and gained a huge fan following by doing so. Kandee started off as a celebrity makeup artist, working on tv and movie sets, but her rise to fame is thanks to her YouTube channel. She is not only entertaining to watch but her skills are truly amazing. She can transform herself into a Barbie or can perfectly recreate the look of many Hollywood celebs, male and female. She currently has over 3,207,140 YouTube subscribers and about 337,966,613 views, all this since joining YouTube in 2009. Since becoming a huge TV star, Kandee has been on various shows such as Skin Wars: Naked Truth (TV Series) and her fanbase is always on the rise, we can't wait to see what more is in store for this talented makeup artist.
10 Bethany Mota
In a sea of makeup tutorial videos, 19 year old Mota carved a niche for herself with her shopping vlogs. She shopped everywhere and anywhere she could get a bargain; Forever 21, Marshalls, thrift stores even eBay. Showing them off in her haul videos, Mota would offer outfit ideas, DIY projects, the odd makeup tip thrown in.
Her 'chick-next-door' vibe led to the rapid growth of her fan base. Her fans say it feels like she’s speaking to them one on one. Ironically, the California native took up vlogging about her hauls in 2009, to get away from online bullying. Being one of the first haul vloggers on YouTube, she was contacted by retailers who offered her free stuff and gift cards to give away. Her free gifts have continued to earn her more fans and views.
She has parlayed her YouTube success into a fashion deal with Aéropostale, dabbled in singing, served as a guest judge in season 13 of Project Runway, and appeared on DWTS. In August, she won the 2015 Teen Choice Awards for Female Choice Web Star for the second year in a row. With over 11.5 million subscribers and 817 million views on her channels, Mota is a star to look out for.
9 Rebecca Black
It's not often your debut effort is called the 'worst song ever', and still clocks 225, 496, 637 views over a four year period. But for Black, this fairy tale has been all too real.
In 2010, she recorded the song Friday, uploaded it to YouTube and forgot about it. The video had racked up 3,000 views in a month, when Tosh.0 made fun of the video. The views immediately skyrocketed, at one point, she was trending on Twitter sitting higher than world events such as the earthquake in Japan.
That year, she performed on Leno, performed skits for Funny or Die, and appeared in the video for Katy Perry's Last Friday Night. She also hosted MTV's first online awards show, the O Music Awards in 2011. By the end of 2013, Friday had sold over 400,000 copies, and Black released another song, Saturday. She has a new album planned for the end of 2015.
Regardless of all the hate (over 1.6 million dislikes), I'm sure her 1.2 million subscribers can't wait .
8 Olga Kay
Kay got started in entertainment as a circus performer in her native Russia. At 16, she moved to the USA and joined the Ringling Brothers Circus. In 2004, she settled in LA, and acted bit parts in TV shows and commercials, but she wanted a 'real' Hollywood career.
Her first YouTube channel was a vlog about her daily life, but she soon launched a comedy-focused channel, with her videos getting half a million views in two weeks. As her popularity grew, companies offered her to sponsor her and feature their products on her channel. Making YouTube a full-time income, Kay branched out, launching a video gaming channel and a beauty channel.
With over 1.2 million subscribers, Kay continues to earn revenue across her YouTube channels. She also earns on her site, Mooshwalks, where she sells thigh-high socks with her own custom characters.
7 Grace Helbig
Part actress, athlete, comedian, author, talk show host, Helbig found the best outlet for her bundle of talents was YouTube. It all started when she recorded a daily vlog of her house-sitting experience and uploaded to her GraceHinaBox YouTube channel.
In 2008, she narrated the animated web series, Bedtime Stories on My Damn Channel. This led to hosting her own video series, the DailyGrace show, which ran from April 2008 to December 2013. Relaunching her GraceHinaBox channel in 2014, her fans from her stint on My Damn Channel followed her and she passed the 1 million subscriber mark within three weeks of the relaunch. She's just as successful offline and has appeared in TV commercials, movies like 2013's Camp Takota, appeared in a Fine Brothers series and other web shows.
From January to June, she starred in her own show on E! titled The Grace Helbig Show. Her first book debuted at number one on the NYT Best Seller Advice list. She's putting finishing touches to her second book. Helbig has been recognized as one of Time Magazine's 30 Most Influential People on the Internet, as well as Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, AdWeek etc.
What's next for Helbig? I'm sure her 2.6 million subscribers cant wait to find out.
6 Cassandra Bankson
From bullied teen to YouTube star, Bankson made a leap that's often seen only in movies. Suffering from severe acne as a teenager, she was bullied so much that she had to leave school. Cassandra's journey to success began with her looking for ways to hide her severe acne.
An interest in cosmetics, watching a ton of YouTube videos and the resilience to keep at it, soon led to her finding ways to successfully conceal her acne. In 2010, she started sharing tips on her YouTube channel, and began to attract subscribers.
In her video titled Foundation Routine For Flawless Skin Acne Coverage, she showed her entire routine including shots of her without any make-up on. This video went viral and secured her position as a beauty expert, among her 800,000 subscribers.
23 year old Bankson is also a part-time model, and has since become the face of Dermablend's Camo Confessions campaign.
5 Jenn McAllister
Obsessed with her parents video camera since she was eight years old, you can say McAllister caught the vlogging bug pretty early. She starting out collaborating with her friends doing one-off comedy sketches, but by 2009, McAllister started a solo career.
By the time she was 17, McAllister left her home in Pennsylvania to focus on building her successful YouTube career. Like many YouTubers, the bulk of her income comes from YouTube ads and sponsored brand placement.
In 2013, she signed up with media company AwesomenessTV in a to create original web shows, TV shows and films for a teen and tween audience. To celebrate reaching one million subscribers, she went on a 16-city North American tour in 2014. She starred in the 2015 movie, Bad Night, with fellow YouTuber Lauren Luthringshausen. She has also written a book, Really Professional Internet Person, and like her over 2.5 million subscribers, we can't wait to see what she does next.
4 Lisa Eldridge
Born in New Zealand in 1974, Eldridge has spent time living and working in Paris, Liverpool, New York, LA and back in London. Her lifelong passion for all things makeup meant that she was already successful in her career as a beauty consultant.
But in 2010, she 'found YouTube' and launched her website; like they say, the rest is history. Drawing on her wealth of experience, she offers make-up tutorials, beauty advice and knowledge, in a very professional setting. On her YouTube channel, her videos have over 50 million views.
In January 2015, she was appointed global creative director of makeup at Lancôme. Would she have got this high-profile job without her perceived social media influence? I doubt that.
3 Natalie Tran
Her career as “Australia's queen of YouTube” started in 2006, when she was at college, but soon abandoned it. In 2010, when her partner was away, she became bored enough to give it another go; that year she racked up 139 million views.
Her content is mostly short comedy skits about her everyday life delivered in her off beat and quirky way. While some of her posts address some of the most "urgent" dilemmas of daily modern life, like Hiding Food from Yourself, to defending vegemite.
Soft-spoken Tran has featured in travel videos for Lonely Planet, partnered with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to launch a travel app and appeared on TV. She divides her time between writing screenplays and running a small film company.
For a vlogger with 'only' 328 videos in 4 years, Tran shows the value of quality over quantity; I'm sure her 1,713,076 subscribers agree with me.
2 Issa Rae
Who knew being awkward could make you famous?
Definitely not Rae, when she launched the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Her character, J, perfectly channeled our inner monologue and the over-analysis we face in modern social situations.
Rae launched the series on a tiny budget and when that ran out, she turned to Kickstarter in 2011. Because the subject matter was so relatable, she raised over $60, 000 to shoot more episodes, and it became wildly successful.
Her brand of comedy soon attracted the attention of the likes of Pharrell Williams (who offered to feature her on his channel) and Shonda Rhimes (who she collaborated with). In October 2013, she launched a new web series The Choir, and started writing a book she described as a "...funny, honest collection of collection of essays ..."
The Stanford grad has also been working with Larry Wilmore on her own HBO series Insecure.
If it's anything like the web series, we are sure it will be a massive success. With the 202,024 subscribers on her channels, we'll be waiting too.
1 Jenna Marbles
The story of Marbles is pretty awesome; in 2010, she found herself working 5 dead-end jobs, even though she had a Masters degree. One day, while dressing up for a shift as a dancer, she recorded herself applying her makeup. She uploaded the hilarious video to YouTube and promptly forgot about it. Turns out it was one of the best decisions of her life.
The video was titled How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking; it was viewed over 5 million times in the first week. Inspired by this, she continued to vlog, covering everything from fan suggestions to impressions of Justin Bieber. She soon hit more home runs with the Drunk Makeup Tutorial, How To Avoid Talking To People You Don't Want To Talk To and many more.
She appeals to a lot of early to late teens as the foul-mouthed older sister with a heart of gold. This has landed her even more followers than some of Hollywood's finest. She has a line of dog toys, branded t-shirts, hosts a countdown show on SiriusXM Hits 1 and co-hosts a podcast. Her work and impact hasn't gone unnoticed as she recently unveiled a wax sculpture of herself at Madame Tussauds. Marbles is also one of the few YouTubers to reach over 1 billion views.