Across the world, every week, thousands upon hundreds of thousands of people watch the masterpieces that Amanda Rach Lee uploads on YouTube. From her meticulously designed bullet journal setups and gorgeous art to her makeup and fashion lookbooks, Amanda’s work has inspired many over the past four and a half years. But it wasn’t just the view count, or subscribers, that motivated her to keep posting on such a competitive platform. After all, as Amanda said, “You have to really love something to do it for four years straight with no guarantee of success!”
We had the opportunity to interview Amanda and better get to know the creator behind the lens.
What inspired you to start creating and sharing on YouTube?
I started my Youtube channel in 2013, when I was a freshman in high school (a lot of people don't realize that I'm only 18 years old currently, yes I am a baby!). I had been an avid Youtube video watcher for years prior, and it was one of those things where I just thought to myself "I could do that!". So I picked up my digital point-and-shoot camera, waited until nobody was home, and filmed videos in my bedroom.
I think another big contributing factor to why I was drawn to Youtube was because I went to an art program in high school, so I really liked having a creative outlet that wasn't for grades. Even though looking back at my old videos now makes me cringe, at the time I really did try to be creative with editing or graphic design or DIYs. Going to an "artsy" high school was also great because people generally supported my channel throughout the years, rather than making fun of me for it. I was definitely lucky in that aspect because I was constantly surrounded by creative and supportive people.
Have you experienced creative blocks? If so, how do you push through them?
One of my biggest struggles was finding my personal video style. When I first started on Youtube, I had so much fun making videos (sometimes I would post twice in one day!). Somewhere along the way I definitely lost a bit of that passion. I got caught up in worrying about what people wanted to see and what was "popular". Youtube was starting to feel like a job which made it hard to connect with my audience. But within the past year I have changed the direction of my channel, moving more towards art, drawing, and journaling. I can now say that I genuinely love the content I make, and I think my audience can see that. I definitely needed to switch things up on my channel in order to push through my creative block.
How do you balance your work and leisure life?
I don’t think I’ve mastered balancing my work and my social life yet! It’s so hard to compartmentalize when you work from home. In my case it’s especially hard because I work right from my bedroom, so when I’m working on videos, a comfy bed and Netflix is just steps away. I always have to be strict with time management, scheduling out my day hour-by-hour. It sounds neurotic, but it’s the only way I will be productive and leave time for a social life! Don’t get me wrong, though, sometimes laziness takes over and the schedule goes out the window!
Have the responses to your channel surprised you at all? If so, in what ways?
The response to my “new” content has surprised me. Ever since I decided to change my content to be more focused on art, I have definitely seen a lot of growth and positive responses. I had always thought that my art wasn’t good enough to publish or that people wouldn’t want to see it, which is why I focused more on beauty and fashion before. I have so much more fun making art-related videos because it is a topic I am very passionate about, and I’m happy that people are enjoying it with me!
What is one common misconception about YouTubers?
Something that I hear often (even from people that I know personally), is that being a Youtuber or a Social Media Influencer isn’t “work”. Sure, it might not fit the traditional definition of work, but people don’t realize how much time and effort must be put into it. You have to wear multiple hats and have a wide range of skills in order to be a Youtuber. I’m essentially a one-man team because I have to film, edit, produce, and manage all of my content by myself. It’s exhausting and fulfilling all at the same time. I’m not complaining at all, because I’m so lucky to be able to do what I do. I would just love for people to respect the work that Influencers do, especially in a society where social media is becoming increasingly important.
What one piece of advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would tell my 16-year-old self to just do what you love. It sounds cliche, but I had to learn the long way that when you are passionate about something, people will recognize it. Overall, I wouldn’t change my younger self or my Youtube journey. Since I started so young, I basically grew up on the internet (you can literally see me go through puberty if you scroll through my video feed). But I think it really helped me to become more independent and confident. That's my favourite thing to come from this. Before Youtube, I was insecure and unsure of myself. But you can't be either of those things when you put yourself on the internet.
Thank you so much for speaking with us Amanda!