ICYMI: Monday is officially cool—or at least it is for the 9.5 million-plus people who worship YouTuber Bethany Mota. The superstar of the social media world takes to Twitter on what she has dubbed #MotavatorMonday to chat with her mega fan base, a.k.a. Motavators, the majority of whom are teens. Since the 20-year-old California native launched her YouTube channel, Macbarbie07, in 2009 (she had been bullied and was looking for a positive outlet), she’s been the prom queen of the digital world.
Haul videos (sharing fashion and beauty purchases on camera) are her bread and butter, but she also feeds her viewers with hair and makeup tutorials, interior decor lessons and DIY crafts. Bubbly and playful, Mota’s on-camera style is slumber party-meets-girl next door. Wholesome dimples, silly voices—she’s the real deal, and that’s the real secret behind her insta-success. “In my videos, I’m not a character; I’m myself. When your viewers know who you are, that’s what builds the connection,” she says. “I started incorporating my bloopers, like when I’d stumble over my words, people loved that—they love seeing that you’re a real person.”
Home-schooled for much of her childhood, Mota tells me when we met this past spring that she still lives with her parents, Tammy and Tony. Though clearly she could be living large in a gated community next to an A-list neighbour or two. Besides her YouTube channel, the cha-ching in Mota’s empire includes celebrity appearances (she’s been a guest judge on Project Runway and a contestant on Dancing With the Stars) and partnerships with fashion retailers JC Penney, Forever 21 and Aéropostale—stores where she shops ’til she drops. Her collections include some of the season’s hottest looks—crop-tops paired with skater skirts (the LBD for millennials) and pompom beanies—but she’s not interested in churning out trends. “It’s what I like to wear; it represents my style and my audience’s style,” she says. “It’s accessible, attainable and inspired by them.”
Given the ready-to-wear world’s anti-trend/individualist message the past few seasons, it’s clear Mota is in good company. So good, in fact, that this self-described tech nerd topped Google’s Year In Search for most-Googled designer in 2014, beating out heavyweights like Alexander Wang and Oscar de la Renta. But don’t expect to see this trailblazer in a uniform of head-to-toe black. Like her videos, she’s equal parts sugar and spice. “I love wearing skinny jeans with a button-up shirt and adding a leather jacket and knee-high boots. It’s a little girlie and a little edgy,” she says. “My style is constantly evolving.”
As for the future, the hits keep coming—literally. Her first single, “Need You Right Now,” released in 2014, topped the charts on iTunes, and there’s talk of a makeup line down the road. The only thing Mota can’t do is choose a favourite emoji. “The heart eyes, the little kiss lips and the monkey covering its eyes,” she says. “This is the hardest question.”
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