The Emma Chamberlain appeal

Why we’re so enamoured by our generation’s ‘it girl'

Analyzing the popularity of everyone's favourite YouTuber.

Watching Emma Chamberlain’s YouTube videos feels like being on FaceTime with your best friend. 

In the midst of cancel culture and social media anxiety, our generation has steadily followed and fallen in love with Emma’s life as she navigates burnout, wellness, and perfectionism. Everyone I know who watches Emma describes her as ‘real,’ a stark contrast to ‘unreal’ content creators who only show us a glorified,
Instagram-worthy vision of their morning routines and relationships.  

It’s also a unique experience to grow up alongside someone in the public eye. Emma has been making YouTube videos since 2016—we’ve seen her move, vlog, break down, and attend the Met Gala. Somehow, she’s also managed to start numerous fashion trends by simply wearing what she likes, regardless of how ‘ugly’ the outfits are. 

She’s unapologetically sported sweater vests and flared yoga pants as many other influencers stuck to Fashion Nova sets. The funniest part about Emma’s fashion influence is that it seems unintentional—she wears clothes she finds interesting or funny, and somehow it trickles down into outfits you’d see students wear on Queen’s campus. 

The YouTuber has also been a key influencer in making thrifting cool again, uploading vlogs of her shopping and videos where she pulls together and styles completely thrifted outfits. 

Though it may seem like her content is repetitive, it’s actually soothing to see her lean into the simplest aspects of her life, like grocery shopping or going to the gym. 

It’s almost as if we’re growing up and trying to navigate the world together, and none of us know exactly how to be completely independent. I find joy in seeing her figure out her air fryer or arrange her produce and feel like an adult, because it’s exactly how I attempt to make sense of my own life. 

Some of my favourite video titles are “EVERYTHING WENT WRONG,” “READING MAKES YOU HOT,” and “just another vlog lol.”

The Emma Chamberlain appeal lies in her honesty and humour. Despite having 10.9 million subscribers on YouTube and 14.2 million followers on Instagram, she feels like one of the girls and is completely candid when discussing the normalcy of most of her life. 

There’s a special kind of comfort in seeing Emma make her signature breakfast and oat milk latte while ranting in her kitchen.  I feel strangely validated when she starts a vlog committed to having a productive day, and instead ends it in bed after an anxiety attack She reminds me that no one’s life is perfect, even the life of our generation’s ‘it girl.’ 

She’s wealthy, privileged, and successful, and a large part of her charm is the fact that we forget about her fame while engaging with her content. 

As she grows and embraces her own creativity, I’ve loved seeing Emma thrive in more serious editorial shoots and partnerships with Louis Vuitton, Vogue, and Calvin Klein. I’ll watch her breakdowns and cooking vlogs until she decides to stop making them—and I’ll never apologize for adoring the only influencer who feels like an anxious, hilarious, real person to me. 

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