Being famous sounds pretty fabulous. You get tons of social media followers, everyone in the world knows who you are, and there are an insane amount of perks. Plus, you're probably raking in major cash. But obviously, if getting (and staying) famous was easy, everyone would do it! It can take months, if not years, of dedication and hard work. Even those people who become household names "overnight" have usually hustled for hours and hours behind the scenes.
If you’re looking to get famous—from Instagram, YouTube, or otherwise—there *are* a few expert-approved tips and tricks to make your strut to stardom a little easier. I spoke to Laura Vogel, owner of Winged Pup Productions (a social media marketing and production company), and publicist Jill Fritzo, who has repped Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, and more A-listers, to map out exactly how you, dear reader, can become a celebrity. Don't forget about me once you're flying first-class and shilling gummy bear hair vitamins, kay?
Know your brand.
If you're trying to get famous, you must, must, MUST cultivate an identity that is authentic to you—whether it's cracking jokes as a comedian, creating mouth-watering cookie recipes, or singing can't-get-it-out-of-my-head songs.
"Know who you are and create a brand identity," recommends Vogel. "But don't get stuck in it. Shane Dawson is an excellent example. He's had at least three different lives online and his audience has followed him. This is because even though he changed, everything he did was authentic in the moment."
Above all, says Vogel, you need to trust your instincts and stay true to yourself. Don't let anyone else sway you away from doing what you believe in.
If you've got a talent, get an agent.
For those of you seeking out a more traditional path to stardom (for singing, acting, modeling, etc.), you need an agent, a manager, or some kind of representation. Fritzo says these professionals will not only help you find jobs, but they'll help you strategize and make big-picture decisions about your career.
Network, network, network!
It really is all about who you know. Both Fritzo and Vogel say that networking is an absolute must if you're trying to get famous. Email, DM, call, or, hell, even leave a comment on Instagram to connect with other people working in your arena. And if reaching out leads to some sort of collab that can grow your audience, even better. "There are some things that may come your way just by meeting the right people," Fritzo said.
Ask for help.
Getting recognized for your craft is a (duh) daunting undertaking, so consult with the pros whenever you can. "You will know when you need it, whether it's from a collaborator, editor, or publicist," Vogel says. "When you have a creative vision and don't have the skills to pull it off, first try to teach yourself, and at the same time, look for people who have those skills and work with them. You will learn more from your collaborators than you could ever imagine, and your work will be better for having other opinions."
Don’t expect to be an overnight success.
It's not gonna happen. Even the people who appear to have stumbled on success in an instant typically had been working at it—HARD. Take Youtube queen Jenna Marbles, for example. "Everyone famous on the web has that one thing that really boosted their profile," Vogel said. "For Jenna Marbles, it was 'How to Trick People into Thinking You're Good Looking.' It seems like she's just messing around in her apartment before work, making a video with no real audience. The reality is that she was working at Barstool Sports, creating content for months prior to putting out that video.
You'll get hate, and that's okay.
For every person who loves you/your work, there are going to be 10 more who have zero interest in you, or maybe even actively dislike what you're doing. As Fritzo puts it, "you will never please everyone, but no one does. That’s okay." You've got to let the negative comments roll off your back, adds Vogel, otherwise you'll find yourself trying to people-please and you'll drive yourself crazy. If someone doesn't like what you're doing, they're just not your audience, and that's perfectly alright.
Hold onto your day job. Seriously.
I love your confidence but sorry, honey, this is gonna take a while. If you're pursuing the influencer/creator route, making high-quality content is expensive. "You can do a lot on just an iPhone these days, but iPhones aren't cheap," warns Vogel, "and the more money you can put into production, the better things will look."
Another pro tip: Don't ditch your day job until you've made enough money from your newfound fame to support yourself for at least six months.
Diversify your platform.
Don't rely on only one or two revenue streams (sponsorships, ads, merch, etc.) to rake in the dough. Vogel suggests looking into things like Patreon, live performances, or even hosting parties.
"If you treat someone badly, it will come out and you will pay a price for it."
Don't be a jerk.
No matter what industry you're trying to tap into, Vogel says her number one piece of advice is: be a nice person. "You are relying on the skills of others, the attention of others, and the fact that they find you fun, interesting, and cool. If you treat someone badly, it will come out and you will pay a price for it. Don't discriminate, don't make racist or sexist jokes, don't be transphobic. Just don't. This doesn't just mean online, this means in person."
No one single path works for everyone.
It'd be cool if there were a 5-Step Plan for Guaranteed Fame, but lol, keep dreaming, kiddo. The reality is you can do the exact same thing that another influencer did and...nothing...happens. You've gotta try different tactics and see what works for you.
Work your butt off.
You've probably picked up on this by now (um, hopefully), but getting famous is NOT. EASY. You've got to grind at it constantly (like, every single day), researching, planning, and putting out only your best work. All of those pics that look effortless on Instagram are, well, often fake. "Hard work wins," Fritzo says. "Things that 'look' easy, aren’t always easy. A lot goes on behind the scenes. Learn time-management. You are the boss of what you put out there."
Fame for fame's sake shouldn't be the goal.
Sure, you want to get worldwide recognition for your killer fitness routines à la Kayla Itsines, but unless you're more focused on the actual "product" rather than your status as an A-lister, (potential) fans won't trust you.
"People come to me all the time because they want to be internet famous, but I tell them that, while Insta-fame is possible, the goal should be creating content you believe in for a community you genuinely care about," explains Vogel.