Beckii Cruel, AKA Rebecca Flint, is a YouTube icon. A true success story of the power of the platform, Beckii literally gained fame overnight. From putting a video of herself dancing in her bedroom on YouTube to having hit singles and selling our concerts in Japan and across the globe, Beckii has grown up in front of our very eyes.
But as our exclusive interview and photoshoot reveals, there’s more to this YouTuber than her kawaii appearance.
On The Difference Between Being A Young Teen On YouTube Then VS Now
“I think the experience of being [a teen] is quite different now compared to back then [when Beckii hit the limelight in 2007]. I feel like young kids are growing up a lot quicker and becoming a lot more self-aware… I love that because it took me a while to become who I am now who I’m really happy with.”
On YouTube Being An Aspirational Career
“My friend was saying her little cousins all go around pretending to be vloggers and that’s so cute! But I do think it’s harder to “make it” on YouTube now. So many people came with this initial wave and got over a million subscribers all at once. Is that going to happen again?
I think no matter how hard you try, no matter how many boxes you tick perfect content, perfect creative practices, even the right friends you’ve just got to be lucky. Not everyone can be Zoella so you have to accept that and I always try to say to people when they’re starting out. You can do everything right and still not make it.”
On How YouTube Has Changed
I think it’s tough for a lot of the top creators; all of their content in some ways can be a little bit samey, if you know what I mean. It’s always the same camera, the same lens, twinkly lights in the background and jingly music going on. Its all the same tags, the same challenges.
YouTube has changed in a lot of ways and people value production values nowadays, which is good because I’m enjoying learning new skills and learning about after effects. The mass appeal content is always going to win so I think people then value film content more.”
On Being Successful On YouTube Today
“When I became popular in Japan it was at a weird time where I had relatively low views in today’s terms but was quite large at the time. It’s interesting how things have almost scaled up since then.
My success relative to Zoella is quite small but I’ve had so much success off YouTube despite that. Previously, if your video gets a million views then you’re going to get picked up by some news somewhere and that pretty much happened for everyone whereas now it’s more like 10,000,000 views”
On Diversity On YouTube
“I think we still have a long way to go because all the people at the top are very much… white. I think it would be great to see more diversity. We need to focus on promoting content creators. We did a panel at Summer In The City last year inspired by Japanese pop culture and there wasn’t any Japanese people on it apart from Stephanie who Skyped in from Japan- that’s the closest we could get because we couldn’t find anyone else who was doing [what we do].
As for diversity in content I’m just so ready for it, I just want YouTube to be colourful magazine and we can fit together where everyone is doing something different. I can see the appeal of the generic content which is done at the top tier but I think it would just be so inspiring for someone to really show their passions”
On Mass Appeal
“The things with a mass appeal will do the best [in terms of views] because more people can enjoy it so there’s a danger if you want to be a little more niche. What’s most important to you? Reaching out to as many people as possible or being true to what you believe in. If what you believe in is content which has a very wide appeal then that’s fine but you have to be honest with yourself as well.”
On Dealing With Hate Online
“To be honest, I’ve been very lucky. Hate was more difficult to deal with [in the past] but nowadays it has cooled off. When someone puts a bad comment on my videos now I just wont reply to it and I’ve learned to just ignore it. I’d rather put that energy into replying to people who have left my nice comments because at the end of the day the people who actually like you will be really happy if you favourite their tweet. It’s just so much better if your sharing positivity in the world it’s a nicer way to live.
I know a lot of people who track their indirects on Twitter… I can’t even go near that. So I don’t look for myself on gossip websites or anything like that. You’re better off not knowing as it makes you so upset, anxious and confused. When you put yourself out there on YouTube it’s like you’re putting your core out there, your inner most creativity and people picking it apart can make you very fragile about it.”
On Her Future
“I’m really enjoying doing my style based content so I‘m really throwing myself into that at the moment. People are giving me really good feedback on [my videos] so I’ll just keep on with that. I also do my off YouTube stuff too including my fashion brand, which is really exciting.
I’m really focusing on the community that I have… I make sure to reply to every comment that I get on my new videos and just really be there for my viewers.”
Check out the behind-the-scenes of our shoot with Beckii in the video below!
Fan of the photographs? Go follow the amazing Elisa Spigariol on Twitter.