University of Georgia freshman Taylor Stablein posted her first video to YouTube in September 2014. The nine minute clip is a fall inspiration video that features two recipes, a makeup look and a blooper reel. She wasn’t a UGA student then—just a middle school student from Delaware, Ohio filming hairstyle tutorials and makeup looks.
Fast forward nearly six years, and Stablein still produces weekly videos for her current following of over 26,000 subscribers. Although her professors and peers may only know her as Taylor, others know her as TayyStabs from YouTube.
From vlogging her pre-class morning rituals to tours of her dorm room, Stablein has dedicated a lot of her content to her first year experiences at UGA. After moving to Athens from Delaware, Stablein hopes her videos reach other prospective college students who are interested in seeing what adjusting to college looks like.
The Red & Black spoke to Stablein, a management and international business major, to learn more about how she got started on YouTube and how her content has evolved since coming to UGA. She also shared her thoughts on the Athens vlogger community.
The Red & Black: How did you get started on YouTube?
Taylor Stablein: I started my YouTube channel in eighth grade. To be honest, [my first videos] were really rough. I was definitely going through that weird middle school phase and I didn’t really know where I was going with it. At the time, all I knew was that I enjoyed making videos, and so I stuck with it. And now here I am still making videos every week.
R&B: How has your content evolved since starting your freshman year at UGA, compared to what you produced in high school?
TS: I think my content has become more mature in a way. Now a lot of my videos are more focused on what I want to do in life since I show myself in school working in my major. When I was in high school, I used to watch a bunch of college YouTubers just to see their college experiences. So, I've been trying to focus my content more on showing people what college is really like, and my overall experience at UGA, whether it be the good parts or the bad.
R&B: Throughout your freshman year, did you come across any obstacles when trying to balance being a full-time student and a YouTuber?
TS: I didn't have a whole lot of time to sleep a lot, that's for sure, just because there were so many things going on that I had never encountered in my high school routine. I definitely had to adjust my schedule a lot from what I did in high school, and that’s mainly because in high school I pre-filmed a lot of my videos. But in college, I’ve had to work on videos whenever I can find the time. So a lot of times I would just edit in between classes throughout the day.
R&B: Since UGA has gone to online instruction, have you had more time to make more videos? If so, what kind of content have you been producing and how does it compare to your videos from when you were still at school?
TS: I definitely have had more time, but my life has much less content, if that makes sense. I typically do a lot of vlogging when I’m out and about on campus. But now I don’t have the ability to make that type of content since I’m at home all the time. Over the past couple months I’ve gotten a lot of requests for videos about my sorority experience, reflecting on what I learned my freshman year, dorm essentials and stuff like that. So lately I’ve been making these sit-down, informational videos.
R&B: Do you feel there is a YouTube community forming here at UGA? Does this put any pressure on you in terms of creating content?
TS: Since there are multiple YouTubers at UGA I think it's really cool to see other people's experiences. So I think it's become a cool, little community because I feel like each one of us has our individual experiences to share. I don't feel like it puts pressure on me because YouTube is just something I genuinely enjoy doing, and I kind of just do my own thing.
R&B: In what ways do you separate yourself from others content creators in Athens?
TS: Here at UGA we do have a couple of YouTubers, but not all of us are out-of-state students. I noticed that my channel experienced its biggest period of growth after I made my decision to attend UGA. I think that’s because when you apply to a bunch of different schools and you’re trying to figure out your future, a lot of people become interested in your story. Once I decided on UGA I think my viewers wanted to follow along and see how my life would pan out after I moved all the way down South from up North.
R&B: What is your favorite type of video to make and why?
TS: Around my second week of college I started making college week in my life vlogs, and those are definitely one of my favorite videos to make. I especially love making them on weeks where I have a pretty packed schedule because it not only helps me document certain parts of my week that I may forget about along the way, but it also showcases so many different parts of college that viewers might not have known about.
R&B: As a content creator, what kinds of messages do you like to convey in your videos?
TS: I try to be real with my content, and I don't try to pretend like everything's perfect all the time. I also want to keep my content fun because I am only 19 so it's not like I have my whole life planned out, and I don't want it to seem like I do. A lot of my viewers are around the same age as me so we're kind of going through the same things, and I think that's why people tend to like content by college YouTubers, just because they can easily relate to them.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.