Camille Johnson: In order to find success, you must be consistent
By: Khadija Sharifi
Have you ever thought about being a Youtuber? Well, I had a conversation with Camille Johnson, who has been a YouTuber for 5+ years and now has 379k followers on YouTube. She talks about what she does, challenges with YouTube, her favorite hairstyle, her inspirations, and so much more. I hope you all enjoy our conversation.
K: How do you describe what you do? C: The short answer is that I make videos and post them on the internet. What I really do is create a small community around a specific interest that I am passionate about (hair dye and beauty) and make helpful or entertaining videos for people who are also interested in that topic, as well as interact with them, help them, answer questions, and help them meet each other.
K: How would you describe the YouTube or social media community? C: Social media is full of different communities that are very different from each other. The hair community tends to be a positive, helpful, and happy group of people. As you probably know from the news, the beauty community can be extremely toxic, unlike the happy place it started out as. Gaming is a pretty fun and engaging community, and every other community has its own culture and quirks.
K: Has it been challenging not to be put in a box? C: Every creator struggles with being put in a box, whether it’s a content creator interested in making content that they like, but their audience isn’t used to or a singer who wants to experiment with a different sound or genre. I definitely struggle with it all the time because as much as I love to dye my hair, I also love to make other content like skincare videos or vlogs, but I feel pressure to make content that people are expecting.
K: Are people willing to collaborate and support each other, or does everyone see each other as competition in a way? C: Different communities have completely different cultures around them, but as far as the beauty community goes, it is very competitive, and people are always trying to climb the ladder no matter what it takes. A lot of people don’t like collaboration because they see it as helping their competitor, but those who do a collab, tend to grow their fan base, so it’s something I definitely recommend. I love collabs because they’re honestly the most fun content to create, and I don’t feel like my peers are my competitors because everyone makes their own distinct content, and there are more than enough people who are looking for good creators to support. Hopefully, after the pandemic ends, I’ll be able to create more content with other YouTubers again!
K: What’s the best advice someone gave you throughout your career? C: The best advice I’ve ever been given is also the best advice I always give to others, and that is, in order to find success, you must be consistent. Trying different things here and there and posting whenever you feel like it doesn’t work, you have to be dedicated and create good content regularly for a long time period to find success.
K: How has the platform changed from when you started? C: The platform has completely changed in terms of aesthetics, aspect ratios, algorithms, and features, but the biggest most impactful change is the type of creators and content that has become popular. It’s not silly kids making videos in their bedrooms anymore and instead of a platform full of high production value content optimized around making money. Both have their pros and cons, but it’s a very different website than it was 10 years ago.
K: Recently, we’ve seen a lot of YouTubers who have been doing this for 5 plus years announce that they are taking a break from YouTube due to burnout. Is it hard to continuously come up with new original content ideas? C: Every long-term YouTuber has had at least 5 breakdowns, suffers from cycles of burnout, and has thought about leaving the internet and moving to a farm to live simply and off the grid. If they tell you they haven’t, they either haven’t been on there long enough, or they are lying. It’s hard to make content for such a long time because every creator will change as a person as they grow and age, but their audience is still expecting the same type of content, so it eventually becomes stressful trying to navigate that. Coming up with ideas will become hard for some people, others will feel trapped, and others will feel physical burnout from essentially being a high-energy actor, editor, producer, production manager, and personality.
K: You are someone who has rocked every single hair color. If u could pick one to have for the rest of your life which would you choose? C: People always ask me what my favorite hair look I’ve done is, but every color brings something different to the table. It decides your vibe, mood, and wardrobe for the next 4 to 8 weeks. I love trying something new and like the wardrobe challenge each color gives me. If I really had to pick a favorite, I’d say either my blue to teal ombre hair or my half pink, half orange look.
K: How do you keep getting inspired? C: I find inspiration in many places and always write down video ideas as they come to me. There’s an inspiration in trends, other videos, online content, ideas that your followers are requesting, ideas that I come up with based on videos that my followers especially like, seasonal ideas, and whatever pops up in your head while you shower.
K: Could you see yourself doing anything else? C: Just like every other YouTuber, I’ve gone through so much burnout and know I can’t do this forever. I’m actively working on creating my own hair dye line, which has always been my dream and is a passion project of mine. I’d love to shift from content creator to business owner and have less pressure to make tons of videos and the opportunity to build something I love. I would also like to move to a farm to live simply and off the grid one day.
K: Is it important for your own mental health to take a step back? Do you take breaks? C: Mental health is the most important thing, and it always needs to be a top priority. I’ve taken many breaks along the way as it’s something I struggle with regularly, but I always come back and feel refreshed. I think I’ll always take breaks here and there, which definitely helps my career last longer and makes me happier.
K: Since you’re a lifestyle channel, how personal do you get? How much do you feel comfortable sharing? C: I get as personal as I can without exceeding PG-13 content. I know my aunties, parents, and brands are watching, so it’s important for me to keep my content somewhat controlled, but I do like to get as personal as possible and become actual friends with my followers because they can relate to me when I do that. My most personal videos are definitely my vlogs which are raw behind the scenes of my regular life. Twitter is probably my most personal platform because the app just has that vibe, and people tend to open up there and receive personalized content very well. I also want to be as authentic as possible online, so vlogs and Twitter definitely facilitate that the most.
K: How do you separate work and personal, or does it all blend? C: What is personal life? I’ve never not had social media on the brain, whether it’s thinking of ideas, doing the actual work, dreading deadlines, checking my email every 12 minutes, constantly texting my manager, and spending hours online posting and replying to comments and messages every day. There’s never been a day that I didn’t do at least one of those things; it is truly a lifestyle.
K: Everyone wants to be a YouTuber these days; it’s now a career that many young kids aspire towards; as someone who’s been at it for 7 years, do you have any advice, warning motivation to give those who want this job? C: A lot of people say they want to be YouTubers but what they really mean is that they want to be rich and famous and think that’s a good way to do it. A tiny amount of people truly have a passion for creating videos, content, or editing, and for those people, my biggest tip is to start right now and stay consistent. It’s most likely going to take years of consistent posting before they are able to grow their channel to the point where they can do YouTube full time, so they really have to love it and be patient. I’ve been making YouTube videos for over 10 years now, I posted my first makeup tutorial ever on my original YouTube channel on November 13th, 2010 (I rebranded a couple of years later to my current channel), and it took me around 5 and a half years before I was able to make just enough to do it as a full-time career. I loved making videos and did it for years before making any money at all, and that’s the reality of it. It’s not a get-rich-quick career, but a career like acting or singing where you have to be passionate, make it your entire lifestyle and work for a long time until you can perfect your craft and be discovered/ grow a large audience. It’s not easy, but with passion and persistence, it’s possible!