I embraced my inner teeny-bopper last week when I got to meet Bethany Mota. 'Who?' you say? Well yes, that was my response when my producer brought up interviewing her for a story. But a little Google research later, I was ready to hop on the bandwagon and join her fan club. Beth, an 18 year old from Northern California, is an internet sensation. She doesn't sing or act or display any kind of crazy athletic talent. But girls all over the world are UHB-SESSED with her. Just search her name in Twitter and scroll through the 140-character declarations of love:
"Omg I just died on the floor Bethany is coming to CO" writes one.
"So happy I got to meet Bethany Mota! I stayed in line for 5 hrs, but it was totally worth it! Love you!" says another.
For the last five years Beth has been making YouTube videos in her bed room talking about her shopping "hauls" (what she finds at the mall that day from H&M/Forever 21/etc), make-up tips, recipes and favorite animated characters (Despicable Me minions).
It all sounds a bit silly, right? But clearly she's doing something right. She's amassed more of a following on YouTube than Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. And more people follow her on Instagram then Vogue and Teen Vogue combined.
Brands and retailers have caught on, hoping her magic touch will work magic on their sales. So far at least, it seems to be working for Aeropostale, which is now selling a Bethany Mota clothing line. And Beth ain't doing too bad herself. Check out this great <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/haul-teenage-youtube-shopping-star-bethany-mota-2014-1">Business Insider article</a> which estimates her earnings from video ad revenue and endorsement deals at half a mil.
I met Beth at Aeropostale's flagship store in Times Square. It was an unannounced appearance for her, arranged specially for our shoot. And for some "Motavators" who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, it was one of the best days of their life.