Additional reporting by: Tracy Zhang
Over the years, we’ve featured many young men and women who have helped made YouTube a great platform for Asian Americans, whether the goal was to break into highly exclusive industries like music and comedy or to simply share a love of fashion and beauty with the world. In honor of Mochi’s Self-Made issue, here are some of our favorites who have undisputedly become household names.
Who: Ryan Higa (nigahiga)
Stats: Over 7 mil subscribers & 1.5 billion views
Why we love him: It sometimes feels like Ryan Higa has been around since the beginning of YouTube. Indeed, some of his most-viewed videos are from over five years ago. Ryan Higa was one of the first big YouTube sensations, with his “How To Be” series pushing him to YouTube fame. He’s stuck around consistently since, though his channel has now expanded to a somewhat eclectic combination of v-logs, parody songs, YouTube star collaboration videos, and commentary videos. One thing is still the same—“TeeHee” will always be at the end of every video.
Who: Lindy Tsang (Bubzbeauty)
Stats: Over 1.6 mil subscribers & 269 million views
Why we love her: Lindy of Bubzbeauty has captivated us all with her bubbly character, whether she’s talking bridal hair, French tuxedo nails, acne treatment how-tos, or makeup for sick days. But beauty aside, we also find encouraging words in heart-to-heart videos that candidly discuss issues like bullying, plastic surgery, and confidence for young women. Be sure to also check out her comedy channel, Bubbiosity, for a good laugh.
Who: David So (DavidSoComedy)
Stats: Over 451.3K subscribers & 69 million views
Why we love him: David So will catch you off guard. He is crass. He is provocative. He will say things that make you cringe. But you have to admit that he is funny. His channel consists mainly of video logs, song covers, and parodies, and most of what he does involves social commentary. It’s the type of commentary that you don’t want to find yourself laughing at but inevitably do. And once you get used to his humor, you begin to realize that he has some serious messages under his sass. Whether it’s about bullying, self-respect, or personal expression, David So says it like it is.
Who: Wendy Nguyen (WendysLookbook)
Stats: 346K subscribers & 40 million views
Why we love her: Most fashion gurus feed us tutorials from the comfort of their homes, but we love how Wendy adds an extra element of sophistication to her videos, whether it’s in the soothing music, quality camera work, or the gorgeous backdrop of European cities. Imagine following her around the cobblestoned streets of Florence, listening to her voiceover highlighting the draped jacket look and being mesmerized by the outfit’s movement and color. Always so city chic, there’s something inspirational in how she mixes fashion with art, culture, and the surrounding architecture.
Who: Jenn Im (ClothesEncounters)
Stats: Over 336K subscribers & 22 million views
Why we love her: She’s got that laid back Cali style—a little hipster with some grungy flare, often including some chunky layers. Jen definitely isn’t your girly girl. From acid denim to oversized vintage sweaters to studded wedges, she makes throwing together thrift finds look so effortless. In her own words, “fashion isn’t about pleasing other people, it’s about wearing what you like and feeling really good in it.” She has the androgynous look down pat, and we’re craving more.
Who: Angel (Beautifymeeh)
Stats: Over 159K subscribers & 20 million views
Why we love her: How to groom your eyebrows, master winged eyeliner, and clean your makeup brushes are just some of the lessons you’ll learn from Angel’s channel. Based in Boston, she first intrigued us with her down-to-earth personality and close-up before-and-after beauty tutorials. Soon, she captured our hearts by sharing snippets of her personal life (think: relationship advice and meals made by the hubby), not to mention the fact that we’re totally in love with her adorable newborn baby.
Who: Mike Song (mikeosong)
Stats: Over 141K subscribers & 26 million views
Why we love him: Mike Song dances and he dances well. His channel is full of contemporary hip hop pieces, original choreography, and the occasional live performance. He also posts dance tutorials—and if there’s one thing we love more than a good dancer, it’s a good dancer who likes to share. Plus, how could you not watch a video of a world-class dancer and his 60-year old mother doing an original number to “Gangnam Style”?
Who: Nayoung Kim (Oiseau88)
Stats: Over 83K subscribers & 7.8 million views
Why we love her: We’re not ashamed to admit that Nayoung’s channel came up as a search result for a Hyuna-inspired Trouble Maker makeup tutorial. Not surprisingly, many of her videos focus on the popular Ulzzang Korean beauty look, using mostly Korean cosmetics brands. That said, her everyday neutral and “no-makeup makeup” videos, plus her multiple BB cream reviews, are also fan favorites. If you’re into the Korean music scene, don’t forget to view her K-pop inspired videos: T-ara, Girl’s Generation, Sistar, and Kara, just to name a few.
Who: Jason, Eddie, and Eric (JubileeProject)
Stats: Over 50.9K subscribers & 5.7 million views
Why we love them: Inspired by their successes in using online videos to raise money for Haiti relief, these three guys left their full-time jobs to start the Jubilee Project. Their mission is simple: make videos for a good cause. Some of their videos are advocacy and spotlight videos, such as one documenting going without shoes for a day to another promoting awareness on child poverty. Others are short films where viewers are asked to become sponsors—pledging to donate one penny per view during that month. The money goes to a certain cause or charity. So far, the Jubilee Project has produced over 60 videos, supported 15 different causes, and raised over $30,000.
Who: David and Andrew Fung (FungBrosComedy)
Stats: Over 23K subscribers & 3 million views
Why we love them: We dare you to find another couple who can make a four-minute video on Asian sauces so entertaining that you can’t stop watching. These two brothers love to capitalize on their Asian heritage, with videos like “WHAT IS CHINA? (Why Should You Care?)” and “The Jeremy Lin Effect.” It’s the perfect combination of self-deprecation and celebration of their heritage, something that Asian American youth have clearly been able to connect to. Their channel consists largely of music videos and song covers, as their channel description says they are “on a mission to find truth through comedy, satire, and music.”