Student youtubers create paths to stardom


Alexis Albright, Reporter

 Youtube has been known to aid teens and young adults over the years, taking ordinary people and turning them into celebrities. Youtubers Lilly Singh, Liza Koshy and others made a name for themselves and are rolling in the cash. Streetsboro students now follow their footsteps — and create their own path — to stardom.

Junior Nik McDole

Two years ago, junior Nik McDole did not know what he wanted to do after high school. This was around the same time he watched a series of vloggers — Tanner Fox, Jake Angeles, Lord Omar and Carnage.

These channels inspired him to start his own YouTube career.

He said he liked the idea of these vloggers connecting with viewers, making them feel as if they knew one another.

His growing channel — with 1,143 subscribers — called “Nikolas McDole,” features vlogs, challenges and skits.

“My content is there to uplift and inspire people to be adventurous and do things outside of their comfort zone,” he said.

McDole said he and a few of his friends were driving around one day and found an abandoned waterpark in Maple Heights.

Because fellow junior Eric Taylor knew the area better, McDole decided to plan a trip and make a vlog.

“Everytime I do something sketchy,” he said, “I always get super happy and excited, so I just went for it.”

He and Taylor explored the waterpark, mainly going on two slides, and taking pictures and videos.

The pair even found an abandoned park next to the water park. Inside was a baseball field with a locked storage room. On the other side was a large hole with baseball equipment in it. McDole and Taylor did not go in, however.

They eventually left because while they were filming a video, a couple police officers questioned what they were doing at both parks.

Even then, McDole was still hyped.

“It’s weird to see an abandoned water park,” he said. “It was like a ghost town.”

McDole said he tries to create different content from other YouTubers and connects with his viewers via social media.

He mainly uses Instagram and Snapchat to communicate with his viewers.

“I try to feed my…followers into my YouTube slowly,” he said.

He posts videos daily on Instagram to remind viewers to watch his videos and subscribe.

McDole earns a certain amount of money every 1,000 views, though he would not say how much.

Clothing companies have also contacted him to model for their businesses.

Alternative Press Magazine, also known as “AP Magazine,” has contacted him to do sample modeling of clothing lines, McDole said. AP Magazine focuses on alternative bands, like Panic! At The Disco and All Time Low.

Freshman Shaciya Sims

Fellow YouTuber, freshman Shaciya Sims, models as well.

Recently, she went to Los Angeles for a modeling competition put on by International Modeling and Talent Association, where leading talent agents and managers find new faces for modeling. Celebrities such as Elijah Wood and Ashton Kutcher competed in their events at one point in their lives.  

“There’s people from Australia, Canada, India [and] all over the globe,” Sims said.

Thousands of girls, ages 13-15, competed with her. She entered one contest for modeling and three for acting.

In the first contest, “Theatrical Headshots,” her photo was put up on a board for judges to score. She won first place with the highest score of 8.5 out of 10.

In the second contest, “Screen Test,” Sims was given a goofy one-liner, which she had to say in front of the judges. She won third place.

“The point of the competition is to let your personality come through,” she said.

In the third contest, “Cold Read,” judges gave Sims a script to memorize two hours before she was to compete.

The judges evaluate how well actors can memorize and figure out the character’s motivation.

Sims won second place in that contest.

In the last one, “Improv,” Sims was given a sheet of paper with a person, place and an object. She had 30 seconds to act as that person, use the object and “be” at a certain place. She won second place in this contest as well.

“It was kind of hard,” she said. “You had to think it through.”

Judges also named Sims Female Teen Actor of the Year, which is a performance-based award. She won this title based on how well she placed in the earlier contests.

Sims trained with Pro-Model and Talent Management, an acting and modeling agency here in Ohio prior to the IMTA contest, focusing on acting exercises and basic improv lessons, which she then used in the competition.

After the awards night, Sims went to a room for callbacks, of which she said she received about 400.

Sims spoke to three or four agents within an hour, she explained, before choosing Pure Talent Management, located in Los Angeles, and her manager, Katrina Herlong.

Sims said Herlong saw a video from her channel, “Shaciya Sims,” and told Sims she liked “how open I am in front of the camera,” Sims said.

Ever since she started making videos on YouTube, Sims said, she has become a lot more confident in front of the camera, and in talking to people.

“When I speak it’s clearer to understand,” she said, “because when I started making YouTube videos, it was a lot harder for me to speak and to put things together. It’s a lot easier for me now.”

Junior Justin Miller

The camera has benefited junior Justin Miller as well.

Miller’s channel, iam.tripplej, which has 9,466 subscribers, is named after the three-point shot in basketball, which he used to play.

“Back in the day,” he said, “I didn’t know how to spell ‘triple,’ so I put two p’s.”

When he first started his channel in 2014, he mainly recorded skits, but now he makes challenges, vlogs, pranks and montages of scenery.

His most popular video, with over 2.1 million views, is his Walmart Challenge.

This video was filmed when he lived in Indiana. Over a fall break, he had decided to stay in his local Walmart for 24 hours, doing various activities around the store.

At one point, he said, a security guard followed him around. He went to eat at Subway, and the guard sat a little bit away from him, pretending to read a book.

Another time, he fell asleep in a bathroom stall.

“I felt like that was the safest place, because no one could walk in on you,” Miller said.

Some of his viewers think the video is fake, and in the comments, accuse him of shooting clips instead of staying the whole 24 hours, but Miller said it is authentic.

He tries to avoid letting the negative feedback affect him.

“If anybody comments anything bad,” he said, “I just don’t respond to it because it just causes problems.”

Miller said he likes the concept of having an audience. He tries to make his videos entertaining for his viewers.

“I don’t care if they’re necessarily subscribed to me,” he said, “as long as I have people that are watching my videos.”

He said his channel is made solely for entertainment, and he tries to interact with all his viewers, whether it be via social media or just replying to comments in his videos.

“I try to reply to every comment that’s on my channel,” he said, “just to stay connected to everybody, and show that I’m actually looking at their comments.”

Miller uploads a video at least two to three times every week, despite being busy keeping up with school and track.

He also tries to make his content different than other channels.

When he decided to do the Walmart Challenge, Miller said only two or three other people had successfully done it at the time.

However, now numerous Walmart Challenge videos are posted all around YouTube, making it a “mainstream” challenge to record.

Miller explained that he wants his videos to be positive, and his videos, entertaining.

“I just enjoy having an audience,” he said. “I like interacting with people…through videos and connecting with them, even though you’re not with them.”