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: “Right now, I’m living at home with my parents and completing my education while also working.” –Female, 21, CA

Christmas in September! The toy industry is predicting that 2015 could be the “best year in a decade” and Walmart is getting a jump on the biggest season, starting its Toy Week two weeks earlier than usual. The retailer forecasts the kid-tested toys that will be the biggest sellers, and Star Wars merchandise, food-related toys (for the mini-foodies), and animal themed playthings are all on the list. (MediaPost)

Sensitivity and political correctness are reportedly ruling some college campuses, and some believe that childhood coddling is to blame. Campus rules and guidelines are beginning to instruct avoiding “microaggressions,” small actions or words that are seen as violent or offensive (asking a non-white student “Where were you born,” for example). Some professors are also being asked to use “trigger warnings,” warnings when course material may include violence and abuse that could “trigger” the trauma of a student who experienced something similar in the past. (The Atlantic)

NBC’s American Ninja Warrior has sparked a full on fitness trend. The obstacle course that contestants battle their way through on the show is being replicated in gyms across the country so that anyone can train to be a Ninja Warrior. Some of these gyms have formed a National Ninja League to grow the sport, with Ninja competitions and championships. At the same time, the number of applicants to the show has skyrocketed, going from 5,000 at the end of season 6 to 50,000 at the end of season seven, the most recent. (Racked)

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea” might soon be the lyrics in a major choreographed stage production. Get ready for The Spongebob Musical! Spongebob Squarepants is coming to Broadway, and a crazy amount of famous musicians are reportedly contributing to the musical score, including Aerosmith, John Legend, and David Bowie. Actors will play the now iconic children’s show characters, with no prosthetics or costumes, and the plot will be an original story that retains the quirkiness of the series. (Mashable)

It feels like a new brand fighting to become the next Chipotle, aka Millennial and teens new fast/fine casual dining favorite, appears every day—and there’s another to add to the list of ones to watch. Indikitch is a fast casual India food eatery that is planning their expansion in Manhattan. They make all-natural GMO-free ingredients a priority, use an assembly-line set-up similar to Chipotle, and pride themselves on non-bland food with spice and heat. (Business Insider)

Quote of the Day: “My favorite store to shop in is The Apple Store. Best store layout i have every experienced. They have the products I want and the expertise to answer any questions.” –Male, 19, VA

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