Internet Princess Grace Helbig Talks YouTube Culture And Life Beyond NY
What’s up, f*ckers? With almost a half million subscribers on YouTube, it's safe to say that Grace Helbig, a.k.a. DailyGrace, made a big ol’ dent in the Internet community. Here's how she did it and what she wants to do next.
If you see Tina Fey walking down the street, thank her for Grace Helbig. She's basically the reason for DailyGrace, an interactive daily vlog created by Helbig for MyDamnChannel.
Then ask her to take a picture with you. It’s Tina Fey!!
Helbig wasn’t always your everyday Internet best friend. She got her start at Ramapo College in northern New Jersey in 2005. She took classes to become a screenwriter and a comedic sketch writer.
To get more experience, she interned for and took sketch writing classes at the People's Improv Theater in New York City. In 2008, after she moved to Brooklyn, Helbig got on one of PIT's house teams. That's how she heard about a casting call for the narrator for a new project from MDC called "Bedtime Stories."
Bonus: She beat one of her PIT instructors for the role.
After seeing some of her vlogs with her best friend Michelle, MDC decided to experiment with a daily vlog about the goings on of MDC. Those experimental, early videos turned into the DailyGrace vlog that we know and love today.
Nearly every day of DailyGrace has a specific theme: Helbig saves Monday for miscellany, Tuesday for commenting on comments from her “viewsers,” Wednesday for reviewing and rating things, Thursday for teaching us how to do something, and Friday for all things sexy.
Once upon a time, when DailyGrace went on vacation for a week or so earlier this year, her fans got to pick their top five favorite videos. Helbig never got to pick her own favorites! Here, in no particular order, are Grace Helbig's favorite DailyGrace vlogs. Plus one extra, "for good measure."
It's pretty dang difficult to become a viral success on the Internet. Helbig attributed the popularity of DailyGrace to consistency.
You, too, could become successful on YouTube "if you're persistent, have a good time and find your voice," she said.
But don't forget the effort. It could take a lot of time, but she says to remember your own authenticity and to stay true to your voice.
Interactivity and directly communicating with her fans makes them feel like they're a part of the content she creates, but it takes dedication to build such a loyal audience.
"Just have a strong point-of-view and express it," Helbig said.
DailyGrace started over on MDC, but it made the switch to YouTube about two years ago. When it comes to video content, she said, it's hard to persuade an audience to go anywhere else besides YouTube.
It took a couple of years, but Helbig considers herself a true "YouTuber." The website gives her the ability to collaborate with other users and meet tons of creative and funny people. She said it's a "proud and excited community" who isn't afraid to get totally embarrassing sometimes.
YouTube may even be the future of entertainment.
Helbig said TV stations are all about competition for ratings, and YouTube provides a supportive ecosystem. Since kids these days are turning more to the Internet to watch videos and TV shows anyways, she thinks that TV shows should get “entangled” with the online communities that are already super popular online.
Here are three silly misconceptions DailyGrace's "viewsers" might have about the vlog:
1. She films them the day before!
2. She doesn't film while drunk (mostly)!
Except for the times where she makes it very clear, Helbig doesn't film while inebriated - everyone thinks she does, though. Her vlogs have become a "heightened" version of herself, Helbig said, so she's started to slur her words more and more over the years.
3. She improvises the content of the videos!
Helbig called herself a "human duck," meaning she just lets the words flow from her mouth without very little thought. Rarely does she have an elaborate idea that would require her to write or sketch out a video.
"girl in car having a great time," a series of images collected from her Instagram account.
She doesn't necessarily consider herself a role model, but she does understand she's in the process of becoming more responsible for her actions, not like the early days when she could run around with Bumble Baby with her old college sketch comedy group.
"I don't even have my life together," she said, but sure, she'd like to be an inspiration one day.
She may not feature all of your comments in her videos on Tuesdays, but she does see most of them. She also has a separate YouTube account set up to show fun, bonus videos and to chronicle all the stuff mailed to her PO box.
Every time she receives positive feedback from fans, she thinks to herself, "Yeah, this is working!"
Part of Helbig's Internet magic is her ability to interact with fans. She's on nearly every social networking site imaginable, and she really listens when her fans make suggestions.
Her fans feel so intimate and connected to her that they've started to believe there's a true friendship there. She said it's super sweet, and weird, to see how much people care about her and her circumstances.
Recently, she made the move from New York to California. If there's one thing she's learned about DailyGrace fans, it's that they think "change fucking sucks." She brought up the idea of a possible move to her fans in one of her videos and the eventually put it to a vote: should she stay or should she move to L.A?
The people overwhelmingly wanted her to stay, and a lot of her viewers were more or less devastated that she decided to go anyways.
"I let them vote on it, but I always intended to move," Helbig said.
However, L.A. represents better opportunities and a better future.
Now, she can collaborate with more YouTubers than she could before, which makes it "easier to help each other grow."
It also means she was in town for pilot season.
Ideally, she'd like to be on a TV show. A scripted comedy or a show she'd host are her dream jobs. Whatever she does, as long as it's something of her own creation, she'll be proud of it.
Plus, the weather is better and now she gets to actually drive a car.
In the end, though, she understands that nothing is permanent. Not a job, not a living situation, not a Wi-Fi connection.