Behind the Lens: Interview with Hannah Baker
During the stay-at-home mandate, we are still finding ways to entertain ourselves. Some people are turning to puzzles, some have been trying out a new hobby, and then, there are some who have turned to the internet for a since of normalcy. For those who find themselves using their phones for a distraction, YouTube is a great place to get lost in the creations of many people, whether that’s blooper reels, a DIY craft, or maybe a movie review. There are options galore. One Blair County local, Hannah Baker, took her knowledge of beauty tips and interest in lifestyle topics, like fashion and daily skincare routines, and created a now widely popular YouTube channel.
What started off as an interest in makeup and beauty routines turned into something bigger for Baker, as she wasn’t quite sure what to expect with her start. “I started off with the intention of being a part of the beauty community. I didn’t really have a plan to include some much of my personal life into it. As time went on, people were really enjoying my personal life along with my family. I started off focusing on beauty but got around to other topics like lifestyle and fashion. It was just whatever felt good in my brain.”
It wasn’t an idea that happened right away. Baker talked about how she started off and why she wanted to begin this journey. “At first, I didn’t really think anything of it. I made a video without any intention of making another one after that. My sister was like, ‘When’s the next one going to come out?’ I had no idea at that point in time. I just did it because it felt good. That was a little over two years ago. I didn’t keep my focus on making videos because I was still in school at the time and it wasn’t my full-time job. It in October of 2019 that I started taking it seriously, seeing that I could make a living off of it.”
This living would become her new lifestyle, creating reviews of clothing brands, showing off beauty looks, explaining her daily beauty routine, and so much more. “This was all something that I did for fun. And now it’s a job. I realized that there is money to be made and it comes to me natural anyway, so why wouldn’t I do it?” With many channels on YouTube creating videos so often, it’s hard to imagine creative burnout, but it is a real thing. Baker stresses that her creative process all depends on what she’s putting her energy into and she never pushes an idea is she doesn’t believe in it 100%. “There are times where ideas just come to me and then there are moments when there’s nothing. Watching other people on YouTube, it gives me inspiration. But more than anything, I do like to help people. That’s my main goal. Like with beauty, I’ll go and find a beauty product or hair product and I’ll be like, ‘I need to share this with people because I know they’ll love it too.’ I just feel passionate about showing people these products that I find and love to use.”
Many companies reach out to creators on YouTube, especially in the beauty community, and ask them to endorse their products for a significant amount of money. The difference between those channels and Baker’s is that she is very specific about the brands she talks about on her channel. This genuine care about the products she talks about to her followers gives her another unique twist that is hard to find. “I’ve been very, very specific as to the brands I’ve worked with. There are giant brands working with giant YouTubers and then they are paying them GIANT amounts of money. But if I don’t like the product, I’m not going to take it. It’s not worth taking a check if it means ruining my creditability.” Her relationships with the brands she uses are stronger than ever because of that philosophy. “The best partnerships come from the brands I have used before. I’ll talk about one of their products and get an email later from them asking for more and I’ll say, ‘Yes, let’s make something work.’ But if it’s a brand I know nothing about, I always proceed with caution first.”
With the question of advice being asked so often, Baker has something in the works for those who are interested in learning how she started, what to expect, how to improve, and how to make money. Though this information is still in the works, Baker says that it’s important to just start. “The number one tip I would say is to expect that the first piece of content you make is not going to be good. It’s not going to look exactly like what you imagined and it’s not going to be picked up quickly. You just have to start somewhere. If I hadn’t started, I would never have made another one and another one. You have to figure things out. You don’t wake up with every bit of knowledge you need.”
There are many parts to the business, Baker says, that has been a learning process to her and still is to this day. “I’m still figuring out how to talk to brands. That’s one thing I struggle with because I want them to take me seriously. So, the number one tip I would tell people is to just begin. Don’t pick a topic that you’re not comfortable with. It’s better to come off natural because if you create something that’s not genuine to you, you’ll have to continue to live up to that and it won’t be as satisfying as it would be living up to something you’re truly passionate about.”
As for Hannah, she is keeping herself busy with plans for new content being made. Her YouTube channel, as of today, has close to 80,000 subscribers, with over 70 videos made and 3.7 million views that are still growing. Keep a lookout for Hannah Baker. She’s taking the world by a beautiful storm! Don't forget to check her out on social media!