I refuse to reflect on, or admit to, the number of hours per day I spend watching Youtube videos. In my defense, I at least try to watch videos that have some kind of substance to them, albeit mixed in with the occasional baby lion learning how to roar video. BUT, for the most part it’s TedTalks, School of Life Videos, and content from beauty and lifestyle vloggers that AREN’T vapid, self-promoters who exploit their audience for money and notoriety. You have to sift through the swamp to find these gems, so here are a few recommendations, in no particular order, I’ve gathered through many years of in-depth research.
Samantha Maria // Samantha Maria Vlogs & beautycrush
As a disclaimer, I’ll say that with many of these creators I have a bit of an “on again, off again” relationship. I’ve been fallowing Samantha Maria for a few years now, and as I don’t have much of a budget for buying loads of new products and clothes and whatever else I see on her channel, I stopped watching the bulk of her videos that weren’t makeup/skincare related for a good bit. My favorite content from her is from her vlog channel. This is where she shares her daily life and we get to see even more of her personality and lifestyle. For the last year or so I’ve watched her get married, have a baby, and move to a new house, all while juggling Youtube and her clothing line Novem & Knight which she co-owns and designs for with her husband, Jason Davis. I appreciate her raw honesty when it comes to motherhood, and the fact that she doesn’t shy away from discussing topics like feminism or her mixed race background. She also shares a lot of her fashion inspo, favorite products, and some motherhood-type stuff over on her blog.
Hannah and Stefan Michalak // Hannah Maggs & The Michalaks
To say that The Michalaks are my favorite Youtube channel is such an extreme understatement that I already regret typing it. These two lovely humans have created the most beautiful vlogs I’ve ever seen. They’re really more like short films in my eyes, that’s how artistic and gorgeous they are. The cinematography and music is what first drew me in when I started watching them about four years ago. Then as I got to know Stef and Hannah through their videos, I discovered that they are some of the most genuine, kindhearted, and just overall good people that I’ve ever encountered. They’re so incredibly transparent and honest with their viewers, and it’s obvious that they’re first and foremost creating these videos for their two sons, Grayson & Rufus, to look back on fondly when they’re older. They create with integrity and they highlight the beauty in the little moments we often take for granted. Hannah is also one of the most beautiful writers I’ve come across; her blog is beautiful and I always look forward to reading her new posts. I could write an entire post about everything else I love about them, but I honestly need 2 chill so I’ll just stop here.
Lucy Moon // meowitslucy
She’s intelligent, she’s articulate, and she’s WOKE. The number 1 thing I appreciate about Lucy is how candid she is when it comes to social justice issues. She educates her audience on shit that’s going on and what needs to change and how we can work to change it. I love her style and how she’s incredibly open with her viewers about what it’s like to be a Youtuber and what’s it’s like to me a 20 something year old female figuring shit out as she goes along. You’ll notice that most of my favorite Youtubers are English, but that’s because with very few exceptions, American Youtubers are obnoxious as hell and frankly I think they’re ruining the platform and all the good it can do, BUT I DIGRESS. Lucy is someone I’ve been following off and on for about two years now and I highly recommend checking her out. She’s also started a blog which I haven’t gotten a chance to check out yet, but if it’s anything like her videos I’m sure it’s A+ material.
Jessie // sunbeamsjess & extrasunbeamsjess
Now that I’ve graduated, I love watching Jess’s videos in order to live vicariously through her University experience. She’s currently working toward her masters in comparative literature, which I would love to do myself but would not love the additional debt that it would lead to. So for now, I’ll get my fix through Jess’s vlogs and call it a day. She has some of my favorite book review videos on Youtube, and as someone who is an avid reader I admire the hell out of how well read she is and how many books she already has in her collection. She’s also just a few months older than me, so it’s always nice to have someone that is easy to relate to and see bits of yourself in. I lovelovelove her style and her makeup tutorials are some of my favorite when I want a more grungy, not-over-the-top-glam looks.
Ethan and Hila Klein // h3h3Productions & Ethan and Hila
~one of these things is not like the other~ This channel is definitely different from any of the previously mentioned channels, but trust me when I say it is easily one of the greatest channels on Youtube. I was first introduced to them through their h3h3 channel about 4 years ago, and it was so ridiculous and hilarious to me that I binged almost every video I could for multiple nights in a row. It’s definitely a niche style of comedy that not everyone vibes with, the only things I can compare it to is Tim and Eric or other adult swim style comedy, but I love it so much. It’s a “reaction” channel, but really it’s the two of them calling out a lot of the BS that (mainly American) Youtubers do to try and make a million and exploit their naive, young audiences. When they started their second channel, Ethan and Hila, they shared more about themselves like how they met (spoiler alert: it was at a Holocaust Museum) and other stories about their life together as well as offering a peak behind the curtain of the logistics of being a Youtuber and all that it entails. 10/10 channel, Papa Bless.
Claire Marshall // heyclaire
Without a shadow of a doubt, Claire is one of the coolest people I follow on Youtube, and probably one of the coolest people just in general. Her style is badass, she’s beautiful, she gives amazing advice, and has worked really hard to get to where she is. I’ve been watching her for about a year now, and have to stop myself from jealously envying her life almost every time I watch her videos. Like I said before, her style is definitely what drew me in initially, and her personality, roommate, and cats are what kept me coming back for more. Her and Sammi Maria are both my biggest tattoo inspirations, so mom if you’re reading this these are the people to blame when I have a full sleeve one day!
dodie clark // doddleoddle & doddlevloggle
Wow, what a surprise – it’s another British girl! I CAN’T HELP THAT THEY MAKE THE BEST CONTENT, FIGHT ME. That unnecessary aggression is the polar opposite of how I feel when I watch Dodie’s videos. She’s an artist through and through and her lyrics and music are some of my favorites. She’s just so damn good at putting abstract thoughts and feelings into words and I admire her immensely for that. She’s also hella into talking about mental health and what’s going on in her head. I wish more people would allow themselves to be as vulnerable and open as she is because it would generate so much more empathy among people and hopefully we could cut each other a bit more slack sometimes. Almost forgot to add that she’s a musician as well! Some of my favorite songs of hers are “When“, “6/10“, and her cover of Matt Maltese’s “Even If It’s a Lie“.
Estée Lalonde // essiebutton
This woman has to be one of the classiest, most down to Earth people I’ve ever come across on the internet. She’s authentic, she’s well-spoken, and she just seems like someone that’s a joy to be around. I started watching Estée probably about 3 or 4 years ago and she’s one of the few YouTubers that knows how to do sponsored videos and brand deals without being fake or annoying about it. She genuinely only promotes products and brands that she herself uses and loves and thinks her audience will love, too. I basically feel like she’s my cool older sister or aunt that does cool shit and shares all her life wisdom with me. She’s also so good about recognizing her privilege and using her platform to draw attention to bigger things going on in the world like the Women’s March or intersectional feminism. I recently started listening to her podcast, TheHeartOfIt, and it immediately became one of my favorites. She explores different topics through the experiences of her guests and it’s so casual while still being professional and informative – everything you could want in a podcast and more.
Ollie Ritchie // ritchieollie
I realize my list is nearly all female, with the exception of Stef Michalak & Ethan Klein, but hey ho there’s enough dudes on lists elsewhere so I’m fine with it. Plus it’s my list so I can put whomever I want on it. THIS boy though, oh my lord is he a talent and a half. I think I first came across a short video he made for his Instagram and it absolutely blew me away. It reminded me a lot of Stef Michalak’s videography and I think that’s why I was so immediately drawn to it. Ollie gets these incredible shots and the fact that he puts so much time and effort into his videos is apparent; his passion for making these short films shines through everything he puts out and it’s inspiring. I also def have a huge crush on him because 1) he’s a cutie and reminds me of Heath Ledger and 2) I crush on anyone who pursues their passion and shares it with the world. He also happens to live in Australia providing him with incredible landscapes to work with and the music he uses work with it to create a work of art.
Elijah Daniel & Christine Sydelko // Elijah & Christine
To round out the list at an even 10, we end with the ever-entertaining Elijah and Christine. I followed both of them on Vine, and when it died (R.I.P, but Vine 2.0 is on the horizon so it’s all good) I was stoked to see they had created a Youtube channel together. Their vlogs are usually pointless, but they do the stupidest shit that’s so entertaining I’ve decided that that’s actually the entire point, and I love it. Elijah rewrote the Bible, Christine named her dog Pancake, and together they went on the Maury show to prove that Elijah’s love for Christine is real (even though he’s openly and adamantly gay – his rapper name is “Lil Phag”) because oh yeah I forgot to mention: they’re engaged. He proposed to her with a Ring Pop hidden in her taco at Taco Bell, so yeah you could say it’s pretty serious. Their whole life seems chaotic and entertaining, and I love being able to see even just a small portion of it.
CONGRATS ON REACHING THE END! Here are a few honorable mentions that I watch off and on but have either stopped uploading as much or I’ve drifted a bit. Also, I’ve inevitably forgotten some people, and don’t claim to know every great Youtuber so please feel free to educate me! Honorable mentions: Sarah Baska (kindasarah), Alix Coburn (I Covet Thee), Allana Davison (allanaramaa), Anna Gardner (The Anna Edit), Bella Fiori (Bella Fiori), Chloe Miles (Chloe Miles), Grace Helbig (Grace Helbig), and Tom Harlock (Tom Harlock) who I only just remembered, and honestly would prob add him to this list if I hadn’t already finished everything up and now I’m just tryna post it. SORRY TOM, I’ll get you next time bby.
THANK YOU AND GOODBYE,