Q&A With Tyler Oakley: The YouTube Star Whose Fans Raised $500K For His Birthday

Meet Tyler Oakley. His “YouTube family” (subscribers) grew by over 3 million last year and today stands at 4,324,655—a following that rivals top entertainers on the platform. His vlog posts are deceptively simple, filmed in the same colorfully decorated room, spotlight on, and Oakley ready to share whatever is on his mind. But watch him tell one story and it’s clear that he has tapped into Millennial tastes with his personal storytelling style. Always charged with intense positive energy, Tyler reveals intimate details, and can talk non-stop without missing a beat. He claims to be fluent in five languages: “English, emoji, sexting, sarcasm, and sass” and has gossiped with President Obama himself. While his best friends include the elite of Millennial YouTube entertainment, the magic in Tyler’s videos lies in his ability to make every viewer feel like they too are his best friend.
 
Wanting to use his influence as a high-profile LGBT vlogger for something more, Tyler began a birthday fundraising campaign last year benefitting a charity close to his heart: The Trevor Project. This year, the campaign reached its goal of raising $150,000 in just six days. By the end of the full 50 days of fundraising, Tyler’s online “family” had raised over half a million dollars—$525,679 to be exact— for LGBTQ youth. We got the chance to speak with Tyler about his monumental rise on YouTube, the success of his birthday campaign, and how views on the LGBT movement are changing within the next generation.

Ypulse: Tell us about how you got started on YouTube.

Tyler Oakley: It was back in 2007 and I was a college student at Michigan State University. All of my high school friends went off to different colleges, so I wanted to find a new way to keep in touch with them. I had Facebook, but I also wanted…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Already-made costumes usually don't look all that good and are overpriced. Another MAJOR issue is what do I do with that wholly bought costume [after Halloween]? I don't want to store a Hobbit costume all year, or throw it away.” –Male, 27, CA

Kids might still have Frozen fever (bets on how many Elsas we’ll see this Halloween?) but Disney is ready to build buzz for their next princess movie. This week the first artwork for Moana, the story of a Polynesian princess sailing the Pacific, was released, along with news that the film will be out in 2016. Moana will be the fifth non-white Disney princess, which our Instant Poll results today show should align with viewers’ wishes. (Vulture)

High-end designers continue to make children’s clothing to outfit the best dressed generation, and fashion for the pre-teen set is looking more sophisticated than ever: GapKids’ collaboration with kate spade new york and Jake Spade is hitting stores for just two weeks on October 30th, featuring kid versions of some of the labels’ bright and colorful signature pieces. While Gap’s campaign telling adults to “dress normal”missed the mark—and isn’t doing any favors for their sales—we suspect this more whimsical pint sized capsule collection will have parents lining up. (Nitrolicious

How big has The Walking Dead gotten? The post-zompocalyptic gore-fest is so popular that ratings for its first two episodes beat out Sunday Night Football among “the demo that really matters,” viewers 18-49-years-old. Dead’s victory over football could be because this audience thought the games airing weren’t interesting. But if the ratings trend continues, it could be potential evidence that football is losing Millennial fans. (UproxxDeadline)

For teens today, fights in the hallway can lead to much worse than getting detention; students are actually being arrested for misbehavior in schools. Even smaller disciplinary issues like chewing gum, wearing too much perfume, or in one case eating another student’s chicken nuggets, can result in misdemeanor charges. The increased presence of police on campuses, and rise in teachers reporting misbehavior to local authorities, “has turned traditional school discipline…into something that looks more like the adult criminal-justice system.” (WSJ)

Millennial populations in small towns and rural areas might be “ticking slightly upward,” but that growth is no match for the continued trend of urbanization that the generation is spurring. Millennials are also moving en masse to the “fancier suburbs” of big cities, and reportedly Arlington, VA has seen an 82% growth in members of the generation from 2007 to 2013. Small towns feel limiting to these young consumers, who are still flocking to more bustling areas despite the fact that they are more expensive. (NPR)

Our Infographic Snapshots are data visualizations that take our proprietary bi-weekly survey stats and synthesize them to tell a story about this generation’s behaviors and views. From political stances to social media use to spending, we illustrate how many, how much, and how often. These helpful infographics are available to our Gold and Silver subscribers. (Ypulse)

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