YouTube is a powerful tool when used correctly. It can bring the coveted 15 minutes of fame to an individual; it can open doors and increase visibility for minority groups; it can remind folks that it does, indeed, get better; and in rare cases like Troye Sivan’s, it can launch careers.
Currently, the fame and career conditions have come to somewhat of a head, thanks to a few snarky comments made during (and following) the Teen Choice Awards. What do we make of a young person with a massive following and little to no experience in the buttoned-up media world who decides to do something they’re passionate about? Complacency is easy. Admiration is harder, but it’s inevitable when watching a young adult take the lemons life has given them and make some pretty stellar lemonade.
“When I was 12 or 13, I was sick at home and I had just found YouTube,” Sivan tells us. “YouTube had been around for maybe a year or so and out of boredom, I decided to post a video of me singing.” According to the 20-year-old, the video only got around 1,000 views—a small fraction of the millions of views his videos earn today. With a piqued interest, Sivan says he “got a little bit addicted to that conversation and connection you can have with people you’ve never met before.” Sharing became a part of his life, and soon, he started racking up a following. Sivan became an online character to some and to others a source of inspiration. His two coming-out videos have been viewed over seven-million times. “I still get hundreds of emails and messages every single day about that video.” It was his first coming-out video, though, that made him realize he could use YouTube to do more than connect with his followers. He could put out music.
Photographed by Myles Pettengill; Styled by Faith Kesington; Grooming by Sparkle Tafao for Mac Cosmetics.