In the space of five short years, Yousef Erakat (a.k.a FouseyTUBE) has gained over 8.6 million subscribers and an astounding 1.1 billion views – but in his mind, his greatest achievement has been overcoming his battle with both bipolar disorder and depression. In an intimate interview with People, Yousef has opened up about his struggles and why he decided to announce his mental health to everyone at the 2015 Streamy Awards.
First of all, he describes exactly what happened when he uploaded his very first video to YouTube and showed it to the Dean of his Theater Department at college; “she said, ‘This was the worst decision you could have made. No one in Hollywood is going to take a guy seriously who dances to Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ in an Apple Store”. But with an upcoming tour with Roman Atwood on the cards plus a role in Tyler Perry’s feature length movie Boo! A Madea Halloween (also starring Kian Lawley and JC Caylen), it’s clear that Yousef’s old acting teacher didn’t have a CLUE what she was on about.
FouseyTUBE revealed the person behind the channel at last year’s Streamy Awards after he won the award for Show of the Year by climbing onto the stage and announcing that; “I want to dedicate this award to every kid out there who has a mental illness. I have bipolar, depression and I was in rehab for an addiction and it told me to stop everyday but I kept fighting and it told me that I was worthless but I never gave up. And here I am accepting this award. I love you”. Even though he started his YouTube channel purely as a “source of entertainment”, it had become increasingly more difficult to do so thanks to his mental health.
In his interview with People, FouseyTUBE talks more about why he decided to go public with his mental health; “I wanted to show my audience that even though I go through depression and everything else, look at me now. I still struggle, but I’m proof that nothing can stop you. You can go through things and still accomplish anything you want”. In order to combat his struggles, Yousef did the unthinkable last year and uploaded the 14-minute vlog below announcing that he will be taking a short break from YouTube over the holidays to take a breather from the Internet – something even the YouTube Creator Handbook (pg.23) advises you DON’T do.
Thankfully, it looks like Yousef has returned to his usual upload schedule, but it’s important for fans to remember that there are real people and problems behind their subscription box – and these YouTube stars need to be respected and supported just like the rest of us.