Gaels going viral: Four Queen’s YouTubers get candid

For these creative students, making videos is more than just a hobby

YouTube can be life-changing and even drive a profit.

Apart from academics and part-time jobs, most Queen’s students pursue a handful of hobbies. From joining clubs that satisfy our interests to going for runs along the waterfront, we fill our spare time with simple activities that make us happy. 

For these four YouTubers who go to Queen’s, their hobbies have the potential to change their lives, influence people around the world, and even drive a profit. 

Peter Kachan

“It’s sometimes weird, just whipping out a camera in Stauffer and filming myself while everyone’s around studying,” Queen’s YouTuber Peter Kachan told The Journal in an interview. “[But] it gets more natural over time.”

Peter Kachan, Comm ’20, has had almost two years to get used to filming himself on campus. The fourth-year student’s channel, KachanTV, has been active since January 2018. 

With more than 3,000 subscribers, Kachan’s become a recognizable figure on campus, posting videos about Queen’s and student life on YouTube. For him, making videos and sharing his life online has always been a goal.

“I’ve always been passionate about making videos,” he said. “[In university] I spent my time studying and going to the gym—I didn’t have many hobbies. I kind of wanted to start a new project.”

In second year, Kachan decided to start vlogging his day-to-day life as a Queen’s student. He saw the need for university-focused content, after having unanswered questions as an incoming student.

“Before I came to Queen’s, when I would research Queen’s University on YouTube, there wasn’t much information about what student life was like,” Kachan said. “I saw that as an opportunity.”

With a growing fanbase, Kachan has to contend with seeing viewers around Kingston, specifically first- and second-year students who found his videos while applying to Queen’s. He says he’s been told that he influenced some students to come to Queen’s, or apply to the Commerce program. Viewers have even teared up while talking about his videos.

“It’s a lot of responsibility,” he said. “Obviously I’m not a famous person, but when people say that kind of stuff, I know I can actually make an impact.”

Abby Howard

“For some reason I don’t feel like people watch my videos, even though they do. It doesn’t register in my brain. So when somebody comes up to me, that’s so cool.”

For Abby Howard, ArtSci ’20, YouTube has been an experiment in self-expression. Since launching her channel in May 2018, the fourth-year student has shared her experiences being a solo traveler, an au pair, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I had a change of heart where I decided I needed to stop caring what people thought,” Howard told The Journal. “That’s what inspired me to make the jump [to YouTube].”

Since her first video, Howard’s follower base has risen to over 6,000 subscribers, thanks especially to her candid videos about being a gay woman. 

“I started realizing that I was impacting not only people who were struggling, but families that were experiencing that,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of parents reach out to me [...] Sometimes they ask for advice, which is so weird because I’m so young and still have so much to learn.”

Between her on-camera adventures, Howard is a Con-Ed student and History major at Queen’s, where she has a set schedule for her YouTube videos and her studies to avoid getting overwhelmed.

“Time-blocking certain editing hours or times to film is super important to me,” said Howard. “My [livestreams] are time-blocked as well, so Sundays at 8, I know I’m livestreaming.”

Although videos about being LGBTQ+ earn her more views, Howard doesn’t want to narrow her channel down to a niche. She said this is a conscious choice to keep her creative options open.

“My channel, for me, is made to help people understand that although I make videos about my sexuality, I have a life outside of that,” she said. “I’m a lot more than just the people I love.”

Kelli Jagger

“I’ve been making projects and trying to grow everything into a giant brand,” YouTuber Kelli Jagger told The Journal. “My goal at the end of my YouTube career is to [...] become involved in influencer marketing.”

For Jagger, Comm ’22, YouTube is a stepping stone for enhancing her business skills. It’s also one of her favourite hobbies. Her channel, FashionablyKelli, has a rising subscriber count at nearly 400, and she has plans to keep it growing.

Jagger is no stranger to starting things from the ground up. The second-year commerce student keeps herself busy with YouTube, on top of running a small business and recording a podcast. She plans to make each platform complement the other, and hopefully grow her influence.

“My YouTube and my blog has helped me to create my business, because I know the tricks of how to reach out to brands,” Jagger said. “They definitely go hand-in-hand.”

Her video topics have transitioned from beauty, to fashion, to more personal lifestyle videos. Jagger said this transformation shows her finding her groove on the platform.

“My channel picked up when I started finding my style, what kind of videos I liked to film, [and] being more comfortable in front of the camera.”

Jagger’s hard work has paid off, as her blog and YouTube channel allow her to work with brands and earn sponsorship opportunities, something she didn’t anticipate.

“I never expect brands to find my small channel, because it is still growing,” she said. “It’s crazy when big brands ask me to work with them.”

“If someone asked for a picture with me because they know me from my YouTube videos, something about my brain wouldn’t be able to process that.”

Ross McIntyre

Ross McIntyre, ArtSci ‘20, boasts a YouTube channel with nearly 33,000 subscribers. He posts video essays (videos structured to prove an argument) about movies and TV, ranging from The Avengers to The Flash.

Despite being popular enough on the platform to make his hobby a decent side hustle, the fourth-year Film and Media student has managed to keep filming fun.

“I think as long as I’m putting out something I’m happy with, I think it’s a good video, and it’s something I’d want to watch, that’s an accomplishment,” Ross told The Journal. “You have to find a good balance.”

At first, McIntyre struggled to complete schoolwork and make videos. Now, as a fourth-year student, he finds himself juggling essays, a thesis film project, and twice-monthly YouTube videos. While it can be stressful, he’s found a schedule that works.

“The next couple of months are going to be insane for me, which is why I’ve planned ahead with videos, and hopefully I can get everything on the right track.”

For other students who want to try their hand at YouTube, McIntyre recommends being realistic about goals, while still hanging onto a sense of individuality.

“YouTube is an unparalleled creative platform, and I think people don’t really take advantage of it enough,” he said.

“If you’re into film, and you want to find a voice because you haven’t yet, there are so many ways to do things [...] It all starts with you wanting to push yourself. If you can’t do that, then a lot of the aspects of the industry aren’t going to be for you.”

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