The untold truth of Emma Chamberlain

In true "what a time to be alive" fashion, people can make millions by posting YouTube videos about… well, just about anything. Emma Chamberlain is a prime example. Rising to fame before she even turned 18, the vlogger amassed over eight million followers on the video-sharing platform thanks to her quirky anecdotes and anti-perfection aesthetic.

Despite her online success, don't think this YouTube star just sits back and counts her money (of which she makes a lot). Chamberlain has suffered through family and financial issues, personal struggles, and cyber-bullying. All of this led to the personality she so openly shares with the world through YouTube videos, Twitter posts, and Instagram shots.

Is it really as simple as turning on a camera and speaking? You might be surprised to find out all the effort this star puts into her videos and other ventures.

Here is the untold truth of Emma Chamberlain.

Emma Chamberlain dropped out of high school

In a 2017 video, Emma Chamberlain revealed her mental struggles in high school. She explained how towards the end of her sophomore year, she was severely depressed and didn't have the energy to attend school or even spend time with friends. After a discussion with her father, Chamberlain decided to focus on making YouTube videos, which gave her newfound energy and a feeling of hope. 

Jump to junior year where Chamberlain struggled with balancing school — which as she said "literally made [her] want to die" — and posting to YouTube since these videos were the only things that gave her "an ounce of happiness." The school stopped her from vlogging on campus, which added to her reignited depression, and after talking with her parents, Chamberlain chose to leave high school.

As Elle reported, Chamberlain took the California High School Exit Exam to focus full-time on her YouTube channel. The move seems to clearly have paid off, plus she has since gotten her G.E.D according to W Magazine.

The secret to Emma Chamberlain's success is in the edit

In an interview with W Magazine, Emma Chamberlain recalled the beginning of her video editing career. She and her friends would film themselves dancing, and Chamberlain would edit, then post the videos on Instagram. In these videos, the soon-to-be YouTube star would zoom in on funny moments in the videos and add various comments. Chamberlain admits that looking back, these videos were actually vlogging, she just didn't realize it yet.

As Chamberlain told The New York Times in an interview, one of the earliest memories she has of putting herself as the only subject of a video was a video reaction to a high school chemistry assignment. After a submission glitch wiped out hours of hard work, Chamberlain was brought to tears from devastation and turned the camera on herself. As she explained, when something is "significant" — whether positive or negative — she wants to document the experience so she can look back later and realize the moment may no longer hold the same emotional weight.

This editing style that Chamberlain created — well-timed zooming, pausing, and text overlays — became part of the reason so many fans watch her videos because of the maximum comedic effect. Mai Linh Nguyen, a producer and YouTube strategist who was interviewed by The Atlantic for a Chamberlain profile, said that Chamberlain's signature fast-paced and jumpy editing that has become her signature is a "very memey editing style."

Emma Chamberlain is a vegetarian

Emma Chamberlain has talked openly about being vegetarian in her videos. Whether it's only drinking coffee with almond milk and other non-dairy sweeteners or showing off her new vegan snacks, Chamberlain is unafraid to show her dietary preferences. In her "Get To Know Me" video, she shares that her favorite food is sushi but more specifically, veggie "fake" sushi.

In one video, Chamberlain documents a trip around Los Angeles trying different vegan fast food offerings with varying success. Jack in the Box's curly fries? "Literally 10 out of 10," she proclaims, melting in pleasure. What about the chain's teriyaki bowl? "A solid two out of 10," she says because the dish "smells like cow manure," and tastes like a sock. Chamberlain says she's been a vegetarian her entire life so hopefully that was her first and last sock-tasting experience.

Outside of food, Chamberlain appears to live a clean lifestyle with regards to what she puts into her body. According to Forbes, when the outlet's reporter arrived at Chamberlain's "neat and tidy" home, "there was no alcohol in the house." The article also says that Chamberlain doesn't do drugs or smoke.

What is the Sister Squad?

No, not Taylor Swift's "squad." Emma Chamberlain's crew consists of three other popular YouTube stars, the Dolan Twins and beauty vlogger James Charles. Charles was the founder, though not initially with a supergroup in mind. In an interview with Heard Well, Charles tells the story of how he reached out to Chamberlain, and the two hit it off after a seven-hour FaceTime where he gave advice on moving to Los Angeles. As for the twins, Charles initially posted "thirsty comments" on the Dolan Twins' Instagram account and the twins reached out for makeup help. With everyone living in Los Angeles, the crew all got together and thus the Sister Squad was born — in Charles' words, "the most iconic group ever of YouTube."

As of this writing, Chamberlain's most viewed video is about a road trip to Las Vegas with the Sister Squad, showing that collaboration can bring out the best in others. Further proof, The Dolan Twins' most viewed video and Charles' fifth most popular video all involve the Sister Squad. The dream team may have flamed out though, according to We The Unicorns. In the report, it appears the crew may have broken up based on videos with just the Dolan Twins and Chamberlain but Charles nowhere in sight. Let's hope Charles is just on a brief hiatus, and there are more videos to come from the Sister Squad.

Emma Chamberlain had a difficult childhood

Before dealing with mental anguish in high school, Emma Chamberlain also dealt with a difficult upbringing. According to The New York Times, Chamberlain is an only child, and her parents divorced when she was five. As she recalls, her six-year-old self watched YouTube videos "to connect with other people and see what they were up to." Chamberlain further explained that even though it seems odd, by watching these personalities on video it felt like having cool friends.

In an interview with Forbes, Chamberlain recalled times as a child when her family didn't have enough money to go to see a movie. She explained how her dad is a professional artist so when he briefly got sick and could no longer paint, the family really struggled for money. 

Chamberlain's parents emotionally supported her the entire way, even in her life-changing choice to leave high school, move out, and pursue YouTube videos. As Chamberlain recalled to W Magazine, her first few videos hardly received any reviews. The vlogger became ecstatic when she received her first official subscriber, explaining, "I was so excited, and then I looked, and it was my dad." How adorable, Mr. Chamberlain.

The YouTube star spent an entire day on her balcony

What would you do for a video to earn over six million views? In 2019, Emma Chamberlain posted a YouTube video of herself spending 24 hours straight on her Los Angeles balcony. Things unsurprisingly got a little loopy. The whole thing kicked off poorly with a failed attempt at setting up a tent to sleep in, leading to a broken and crumpled tent cast off into a corner. After a tanning session, several near-mental breakdowns, and a lot of sleeping, the star survived the self-imposed event.

Other stunt videos Chamberlain has posted include pulling an all-nighter in the summer and trying meat for the first time. This last one is particularly eventful since Chamberlain is a vegetarian and the video became one of her most viewed ever. 

Chamberlain told The New York Times that these stunt videos are actually some of the easiest to make — in terms of post-production, that is. As Chamberlain explains, she is trying to film more dynamic sequences since these make for easier video edits and less pressure to "create something that's not there."

Emma Chamberlain is totally obsessed with coffee

One of the very first things everyone learns about Emma Chamberlain is her infatuation with coffee. Turn on any of her YouTube videos and you'll likely see her drinking coffee, talking about coffee, going to find coffee, or some combination of the three. In one of her videos, she sets out on an adventure to try a ton of Los Angeles coffee shops all in one afternoon. Chamberlain's signature drink and all-time favorite is an iced almond milk latte, definitely NOT decaf, as she explained in her "Get To Know Me" video

At home, Chamberlain likes to consistently make the same style of coffee. As she shows in a video, her recipe involves brewing coffee in a French press then chilling it. Why does she always drink iced coffee? As she explains, hot coffee styles are only drinkable for roughly 20 seconds whereas with iced coffee, she can take her time to enjoy the beverage.

Chamberlain is very self-aware of her obsession with coffee. Her personalized merchandise store only has a few items, most of which reference coffee. One of the funnier items is a cartoon avatar of herself crying coffee into a cup that is filled with ice and says "Emma."

Ruling YouTube sounds grueling for Emma Chamberlain

If a person's day job is described as "YouTube Star," you might think the duties are quite easy. For Emma Chamberlain, the exact opposite appears to be true. As she explained to Forbes, most people assume a vlogger simply edits and then posts to YouTube. In reality, Chamberlain says it's a constant stream of meetings, and that things quickly add up when becoming more serious about posting videos to YouTube.

The job "has taken a physical toll on [Chamberlain]," as well, according to The New York Times. The outlet reported that "she developed back pain" from editing at a desk and had to switch to working "from her bed." And even though she uses "blue mood lighting," Chamberlain's eyesight has already "deteriorated." She jokes that wearing glasses makes her appear like an old woman but is necessary because "[her] eyes actually get really strained."

Chamberlain's eyesight has likely suffered due to her marathon editing sessions. For each video that she posts to YouTube — typically one a week — she spends "between 20 and 30" total hours editing. Even further, she will go for a period of 10 to 15 consecutive hours cutting, snipping, and performing her editing magic. Do you think you have the stamina to be a YouTube star?

Emma Chamberlain's fame extends way beyond YouTube

Yes, Emma Chamberlain earned her fame through YouTube but this vlogger turned into a multifaceted entrepreneur. As detailed by W Magazine, one arm of Chamberlain's expanded business ventures is her own merchandise line, complete with hats, tees, and sweatshirts featuring cartoon versions of herself, as well as her love of pizza and coffee. Continuing with fashion, Chamberlain is the face of a women's line for Hollister.

In the social media world, she has a healthy Instagram following — over eight million followers as of this writing. However, Chamberlain prefers Twitter (where she has over 2.5 million followers), because as the told Forbes, planning shoots for the photo-centric app is very stressful.

As of 2019, Chamberlain expanded to start a highly popular podcast, Stupid Genius. The premise is that in every episode she takes a challenging question, like "Why do we get dizzy when we spin?" and is given three tries to try to figure out the answer. What questions would you like to hear Chamberlain guess the answers to?

Navigating life online is tricky for Emma Chamberlain

As Emma Chamberlain told W Magazine, being in the YouTube spotlight makes her constantly deal with negativity on the internet. She explained how she has dealt with many people with bad intentions, and has been "backstabbed multiple times" by fellow YouTubers. But just as a hypothetical, Chamberlain explained how hurt she would be if "another YouTuber" posted a video rating her Coachella outfit as "ugly." It would be a total "mood killer," she said, even though she would still love the outfit, but would be really bummed out, because she'd know the person "would never say that to [her] face." 

According to Forbes, Chamberlain received a lot of negative feedback in the form of people being mean to her and spreading false rumors online. After a month straight of hearing only hateful words, Chamberlain was pushed to the limit and thought of quitting. As she said, "It's really uninspiring when you post a video and everyone says, 'Go kill yourself.'"

Perhaps to help, Chamberlain hangs with other YouTubers who understand the lifestyle, according to Elle. Among them, David Dobrik and the Dolan Twins. The latter has brought about dating rumors, specifically with Ethan Dolan, one half of the brothers. The truth behind "Ethma" is unknown, as of this writing, and she's apparently in no rush to tell about any relationship. When Marie Claire asked Chamberlain point blank in August 2019 if she and Dolan were dating, she mimed zipping her lips and throwing away the key.

Emma Chamberlain was a competitive cheerleader

Prior to becoming an internet sensation, Emma Chamberlain attended grade school just like any regular teenager would. For an extracurricular activity she decided to be a cheerleader — an especially good one. As Seventeen reported, Chamberlain was a member of the California Allstars Pink cheer team for a total of five years. As proof, she once posted a quick video of herself on Twitter, showing her "sassy" personality and gloriously big hair during one of her performances. Chamberlain also was on her high school cheer team but lasted only a year and ended up getting "kicked off the team."

In a "Get To Know Me" video that Chamberlain posted on YouTube in 2017, she says her favorite sport is cheerleading since she danced competitively. She also makes it clear that she very much considers cheerleading a sport when it's competitive. Chamberlain also showed off her skills to fellow YouTube vlogger Hannah Meloche. In Meloche's video, Chamberlain teaches her and Ellie Thumann (another vlogger) how to cheer.

Wait, how much does Emma Chamberlain make?

You have a better sense of the work that Emma Chamberlain puts into her YouTube video empire, so you're probably wondering, how much money does this all equate to? Without a publicly available salary, and Chamberlain not revealing the actual figures, her net worth is an approximation. Social Blade, an analytics website that focuses on social media accounts, estimates that Chamberlain's YouTube videos earn the star between $114,000 and $1.8 million a year — an admittedly wide range. Marie Claire estimated that up until the end of summer 2019, Chamberlain's ad revenue since launching her YouTube channel totals between $750,000 and $1.5 million. 

In addition to just YouTube videos, Chamberlain also has brand deals with Curology, Audible, Hollister, and SeatGeek. In the fashion world she has partnered with Louis Vuitton for videos of the star attending the luxury brand's Paris fashion week and Cruise 2020 fashion shows. Oh, and don't forget her large Instagram and Twitter account followings. All these different revenue streams only add to Chamberlain's already healthy net worth from her YouTube channel.