YouTube's Jenn McAllister Reveals the Secrets of Being a Social Media Star
Jenn McAllister only has one movie credit to her name, but the social media star is already more popular than many well-known actresses. Named one of The Hollywood Reporter's top 25 digital stars with more than 2 million YouTube subscribers and a million-plus followers on Twitter and Instagram, Jenn is getting ready to make her feature-film debut alongside fellow YouTuber Lauren Elizabeth Luthringshausen in "Bad Night," which also costars Matt Walsh ("Veep"), Adam Pally ("The Mindy Project"), Casey Wilson ("Marry Me"), and June Diane Raphael ("Grace and Frankie"). Between that and a new book detailing her rise to social media stardom, Jenn hopped on the phone with us to reveal some of her secrets.
Glamour: You just turned 19. Happy birthday! Any particular goals before you hit 20?
Jenn McAllister: I just want to continue with acting, so my biggest goal would be to book another role, whether it’s a sitcom or a movie. That would be really awesome because I had so much fun filming "Bad Night."
Glamour: We are pretty obsessed with your "Bad Night" co-stars Adam Pally, Casey Wilson, and June Diane Raphael. Were you familiar with them before?
Jenn: I wasn’t too familiar with anyone except for Casey because I loved her in Gone Girl. I didn't share scenes with Adam, but I became obsessed with him. And in every single interview I do, I talk about June. I think she is the funniest person ever. She improved some of the funniest things [in the movie]. I [recently] watched "Grace and Frankie," and she’s amazing in that role. I have a thing for female comedians, so they became my favorite people.
Glamour: Since "Bad Night" is about what can happen when the most well-intentioned plans go awry, do you overprepare when you go out now?
Jenn: Not usually. I don't tend to go out too much. I’ll stay at home and watch "The Bachelorette." I'm also the person that’s always really prepared and has gum and mints and Advil — basically anything you could need in your purse. Right now I actually don’t have gum with me, and it freaks me out a little bit!
Glamour: You’ve been in L.A. for a couple of years. What was the biggest culture shock coming from a small town in Pennsylvania?
Jenn: It was a huge culture shock. The town that I’m from is outside of Philadelphia and has a lot of one-lane streets, so it was a big culture shock to come out here, especially when it came to driving! I had only been driving for six months when I moved to L.A. Luckily my mom was the best driving instructor ever! I was just used to one lane roads, and now there’s like seven.
Glamour: Given your current profession as a bona fide YouTube star, what did you list as your job on the DMV form?
Jenn: I just say self-employed to keep it very simple! People don't really understand YouTube, but they are getting the hang out of it. I’ve been doing this for nearly seven years now. Even two years ago it's changed a lot.
Glamour: You created your first YouTube account at age 12, and you now have over 2 million subscribers. What made you comfortable sharing your life so intimately with strangers?
Jenn: I honestly don't know what it is. I was pretty reserved growing up, but being in front of the camera was an entirely different experience for me. It was really easy for me to open up and be myself, maybe because you’re not talking to anyone but a camera, and you forget other people will watch it. I never had that viral video thing happen to me. I think it’s just because I’m really honest and like to make fun of myself and say what everyone else is thinking. It’s that reliability factor.
Glamour: You're releasing a book called "Really Professional Internet Person" on August 25. Brilliant title, by the way.
Jenn: I came up with it, actually. Back when I lived in Pennsylvania, I made it my Twitter bio and it stuck around for years. When my editor and I were trying to come up with title ideas, we picked some random ones, and then just as a joke I said, "What if we used my Twitter bio?" and everyone thought it was a great idea. I was really happy about it!
Glamour: See, instead of putting self-employed on DMV forms, you should just write "Really Professional Internet Person."
Jenn: [Laughs] Yeah!
Glamour: What makes a really professional Internet person?
Jenn: It's kind of a play on the fact that I’m really not professional. It’s just me being young and not knowing what I'm doing.
Glamour: And yet with your millions of followers, I think it's safe to say you clearly know what you're doing! What do you think the key to your success is?
Jenn: Just being real. I love that you can connect with people all over the world, but the biggest thing is consistency. Have a schedule and stick to it so everyone knows when you’ll be posting. Be yourself, which is the key. You want to be original. Make content you enjoy making. And find the humor in things.
More From Glamour:
• New MTV Documentary Takes a Hard Look at White Privilege
• 13 Times Kelly Clarkson Proved She's the Absolute Best at Cover Songs
• 10 Key Points from Hillary Clinton's Facebook Q&A
• Ava DuVernay Has Some Surprising Advice For Aspiring Filmmakers
Photo Credit: Kevin Martin; Jenn McAllister Instagram