Well, one star, in particular: Written below each photo in marker is her favorite line from that video. She is 28 years old, just a little bit older than me. She studied improv at the same theater where I study improv. But the conference seems to be structured around this very feeling. When I arrive at the conference center at 8: Five years ago, around 1, people came to VidCon. This year there are more than 18, attendees.
Fortunately for me, Grace has friends. Who, by extension, feel like my friends. She often appears together in videos with Hannah Hart 1. YouTubers form cliques just like high schoolers. Some of these groups formed long before any of its members were famous, and their members have helped each other by cross-pollinating audiences. It is here where I find my people. She likes my hiking sandals. I learn that kids have painted cat whiskers on their faces not because Friskies sponsored face painting, but because Dan occasionally does a video with Phil Lester, the proprietor of the AmazingPhil channel 1.
I learn that Hannah has expressed enthusiasm for a carrot onesie, which is why she and Grace and Mamrie are dressed as carrots in the video playing on a nearby projection screen. I know Zoella has had panic attacks before. I arrive at the first spot in line just as someone is throwing a banana to Hannah over a red tape barrier. She pulls me in for a hug.
Celebrities are hair-sprayed and make-upped and otherworldly attractive. Hannah has put herself in front of a line that anyone is free to get into. And there are no do-overs. So I pick up my backpack and head back through the long lines from which I came.
One girl spots a famous YouTuber and then, almost as a courtesy to the other girls around her, screams. Each girl holds her phone out in front of herself and waits, in selfie stance, while Sam runs back to the beginning of the line and begins popping his face into the space between each pair of them, pausing just long enough for each to snap a photo. Fans at VidCon line up to take selfies with Sam Pepper.
Two of his YouTuber friends, Harrison Webb , subscribers and Mazzi Maz , subscribers , follow him, taking selfies along the same line. YouTubers want to meet you. Increasingly, YouTubers are leading lives that look less and less like those of their fans.
Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network are giving YouTubers airtime. Makeup guru Michelle Phan has her own product line. And everyone has a book deal.
Far more people showed up for the holy trinity. There was no hope of asking a question, and definitely no opportunity to start a conversation. The three perform a skit in which they poke fun at marketing their books by dropping their preorder URLs into the dialogue which of course, results in successful marketing for their books. According to the VidCon app, this will be my last opportunity. I have failed to meet Grace in person as a VidCon attendee. But as a journalist, I do get a minute phone briefing with her and Mamrie.
Teenagers show up wearing sequins, floor-length dresses recycled from real prom, and the shorts and tank tops that they put on that morning. Many of them have asked their favorite YouTubers, via a tweet or a YouTube video, to be their dates.
Tyler Oakley reverses the trend by asking who at VidCon would go to prom with him and gets more than responses. But Tyler is not at prom. Nor are most of the VidCon attendees who are legally old enough to vote. This one leads to an invite-only party hosted by content network Maker Studios. It has a casual outdoor patio ambiance, a DJ and, for guests older than 21, an open bar. Girls inside take off their shoes. They link arms and skip across the dance floor, and co-ed circles form to hop up and down to the beat.
All weekend, these kids have been chasing photos and autographs from their favorite YouTubers, but tonight they turn cameras on themselves, snapping selfies with new friends and taking videos to share with their own YouTube subscribers.
He hands me a card for his YouTube channel 56 subscribers , on which he posts videos of himself blending things like doughnuts and tater tots into milkshakes. He dropped out of college. As we talk, he keeps his arm wrapped around the shoulder of a girl who he met in this same spot yesterday.