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If you have a teen or tween, then you are likely aware of YouTubers Zoella, Alfie, Louise, Jack and many others. The popularity of YouTube channels may be a bit of a mystery to some parents, and at times, a bit of a worry. What channel are they watching, who are these young video stars, and how are YouTubers influencing our kids?
An even bigger mystery is why kids want to watch YouTubers live on stage. What do they DO for two hours? Why would kids want to see them, and is it worth taking them? We went along to one such event to get some answers to these and other questions. The LouiseLive show in Edinburgh with Louise Pentland aka Sprinkle of Glitter.
Who is Louise Pentland?
After switching the focus of her blog Sprinkle of Glitter from craft and DIY to style and beauty, and starting her YouTube channel, Louise has gone from ordinary blogger to YouTube star in just five short years. At the time of writing this, she has over 2m subscribers on YouTube, 1.3m Twitter followers and a hugely popular Tumblr account. On YouTube, she talks about her life, gives tips on style and beauty, and delivers pep talks to her young followers. So what is it that kids love about Louise, that makes them bug their parents to pay £23 to take them to see her in a live show?
Meeting Louise’s Fans
My daughter and her friend are keen fans, and were delighted to help with the research. We arrived at the Edinburgh venue in plenty of time, and watched as the lobby slowly filled up. While there were some younger girls, I was quite surprised that most of the audience was mid to late teens, with one or two rather uncomfortable looking men, presumably dragged along by their girlfriends. I spoke to some of the young women in the queue to find out why they had come to see Louise, and what it was about her that they liked.
Jemma and Eilidh had travelled from Dunbar to the capital. They found Louise inspiring and liked her positive attitude to life and her beauty and lifestyle tips. Lauren and Emma from Helensburgh admired Louise’s fun-loving personality, and said that she was like a big sister to them. We filed into the room, and I found myself sitting next to Katharine and her mother Heidi. We chatted about various YouTubers and how parents cope with the rapidly changing social media scene, and the pressures that their kids are under.
The lights dimmed, and after a short into, Louise strolled onto the stage, to the cheers and squeals of the audience. In a sparkly cropped top, and short black skirt, she looked comfortable and confident. She joked about her short skirt, and asked those in the front row to be careful when taking photos, and then made a comment about being [whisper] ‘a little bit fat’, then laughed and said, ‘Who said “awwww”? Don’t worry, I’m fine about it. I eat pasta. I like it!’. It struck me as incredibly refreshing to hear a woman talk about her body with such confidence and humour.
The show was very much built on audience participation, with girls chosen to join Louise on the stage and take part in a quiz, and other activities. (If Louise reads this, my daughter would like her to know that she knew all the answers to the quiz).
The show was a mix between watching a stand-up comedian, and an inspirational speaker. Louise’s amusing stories were little parables, with advice on topics such as not texting too much, enjoying the little moments, and believing in yourself. One examples was the joy Louise felt that she would soon send a signed copy of her first book to her old English teacher, who had told her that she didn’t have the right aptitude to pass her exams. Louise advised the young women that the best form of revenge is success. When someone is nasty to them, they should think, “I am going to better myself, and you are just always going to be mean”.
The section of the show that really impressed me was this, on body confidence.
When I spoke to my daughter afterwards, she commented on the fact that so many people were still standing at the end, which really surprised her. She had sat down at the ‘month’ point, and she wondered if girls got more critical about their bodies as they grew older.
I didn’t know what to expect, but didn’t think that I would enjoy the show as much as I did. That is probably down to the professionalism of this particular YouTuber. Say what you will about them, but this was not the work of someone who has spent the last five years messing about in their bedroom, filming stuff and sticking it on the internet. It was a well-written and thought-out show. I found the part about Louise’s imaginary world a bit boring, but my daughter loved it, and I’m not the actual target market!
Louise is engaging, quick-witted and funny, and she seemed to enjoy communicating directly with her audience – which must be a nice change to speaking into a camera. Her confidence-building messages were delivered with the right amount of humour, and were in no way patronising. I consider her a good influence, and am happy for my daughter to continue to view her channel.
If your child wants to go to a YouTuber’s live show, then take the time to have a quick look at their channel, and watch some of the highlighted videos on their page. Search for reviews of previous shows, which should give you an idea of what to expect. We’ll keep you updated here on Jump! Parents of any reviews that we come across.