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YouTube Stardom Is All About Authenticity

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Wiediger

Lucie Fink

YouTube Personality and Lifestyle Host

Lucie Fink makes her living sharing her life with the 270,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and hundreds of thousands of others who follow her on other social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. “It’s interesting because my job is my life. And so much of my life is my job, but I also want to live my life normally in some ways,” she explained.

Fink’s business is built around her personal brand, which she first cultivated working at the lifestyle site Refinery29. “I started at Refinery29 in 2015 as their YouTube host and producer. And they basically gave me the free reign to write, script, produce, and host multiple YouTube series for them over the course of the four years that I worked there,” Fink said. “I was really lucky that they were so supportive in helping me build my own brand alongside their brand.”

After a few years working for Refinery, Fink says she realized she was spending more and more time on her side projects, and decided she wanted to branch out and create her own content and her own business. She signed with United Talent Agency in 2019 and established her own company, Lucie Fink Media, shortly after. While the transition to going solo, without the support of an in-house editing and social media team, was tricky at times, Fink was able to overcome the initial hurdles by continuing to cultivate her online persona and personal base of followers. 

The Refinery name gave Fink the platform to launch her brand, where she learned the basics of cultivating a sustainable following, which, she says, is less about jumping on every viral moment and more about staying true to what’s interesting to you. “I feel like it’s the trend and challenge videos that most often go viral. It starts with someone making a funny or cool video, and then others hop on board and make their own versions. And I think everyone in some way is aspiring to have a video that they make just become the next viral video and bring them an overnight audience,” she said. But she doesn’t think this is necessarily a sustainable business model. “Instead, I would be focusing on creating consistent content that is in your own voice. That’s unique to you. That’s not a trend, not following what anyone else is doing, but really just speaking to what is interesting to you, what you love, and what you want to see more of on the Internet. And just keep making more and more of that.”

Authenticity is also evident in what Fink says tends to do well on her platform. “Like When I first started on YouTube at Refinery29, I was really making videos that were slightly overproduced as if it was content meant for television…I guess that’s because I had a dream of being a TV host. But very quickly I realized that the YouTube sphere likes to watch vlog-style, come-inside-my-home-type content. So then I just actually had to intentionally diminish the production quality of my video content so that it would come off as more natural and inviting.”

To keep up with everything going on across platforms on the Internet, which can be overwhelming at the best of times, Fink says she employs what she calls “conscious consumption.” 

“I try to give myself targeted time to watch other people’s content with a creative lens and with a thoughtful eye so that I can take specific ideas from them that seem interesting or inspiring to me,” Fink said. “And then I infuse it into my own content with my own creative spin. And so I’ll spend like about 30 minutes a day on various platforms with a pen and paper next to me watching content and either saving content that’s inspiring to me or writing down what’s inspiring about it.”

She explained that the “meat and potatoes” of her Instagram and TikTok content is cut-downs of her YouTube videos, which ensures there’s always a steady stream of content for her followers, and which also helps strengthen and support her brand, even if these aren’t the posts that perform the best on these platforms. Usually, it’s the hastily produced idea or take that has the best chance of going viral. “When I turn something around really quickly in the heat of the moment, when I’m feeling incredibly inspired to shoot and edit something, that’s usually when my content performs the best,” Fink said. 

When your work is your life and your life is your work, finding a work-life “balance” gets a little trickier. “I don’t always want to vlog an experience, and I don’t always want to be worrying about setting up my camera while I’m trying to enjoy a moment.” She explained that particularly while planning her wedding, she wanted to be able to share the experience with her followers, but she didn’t want to sacrifice the personal experience. Her compromise was to live the experience, then recreate the journey later. So after she had already chosen her wedding dress, for example, Fink said she went back to the store with a camera, and filmed a reenactment of the moment. 

She also says that married life has helped her to turn off her phone every once in a while. As a newlywed, Fink said that she and her husband, Michael, try to hold each other accountable for turning off their devices and spending time together as a married couple. “We have this funny joke — if I’m on my phone after work, Michael will say, ‘Can I see something on your phone?’ I’ll hand it to him, and he’ll throw it across the room onto the couch.”For any aspiring YouTubers, Fink says there’s room for everyone in this space. “For anyone who wants to be a YouTuber: there are enough people out there in the world interested in your story and message, so it’s possible for you to turn this into a full-time business of your own. It’s really just about consistency and continuing to put out the content that really resonates with you.”

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