When Amanda Steele first joined YouTube in 2010 it was because she wanted to join a community of fellow beauty-lovers. The 11-year-old Steele was shy in middle school and felt disconnected to her fellow classmates — nobody at the time was as interested in experimenting with makeup and fashion like she was.
“I was always very shy,” Steele told In The Know. “I liked to stay inside. I guess that’s kind of how I ended up making YouTube videos and being on the internet.”
Steele would watch tutorials and vlogs and eventually got permission from her mom to start her own channel. Her first video to ever really blow up was a beauty tutorial for middle schoolers — as an actual middle schooler, Steele resonated with a lot of younger users who weren’t ready to venture into using foundation or under-eye concealer. Still, the comments were brutal.
“I was like, ‘I’m not going to let these people stop me from doing what I love to do,'” Steele said. “After that, it was kind of like, ‘Forget the haters, I’m going to keep posting.'”
Now Steele has built an online empire since her rocky early days as a young YouTuber. She has over 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube, 2.5 million followers on Instagram and a clothing brand called STEELE.
“I’ve always, my whole life, felt that I didn’t fit into anyone’s friend group or style. So when I found girls who had the same passions as me online, I was like, ‘I don’t need to see real people!'” Steele joked.
Steele got her first brand deal when she was 13 years old and that’s when she and her mom realized this passion project could turn into a real career. Steele was set up with a manager and started building a dedicated fanbase.
“Having this audience really helped me come out of my shell, believe in myself and be more confident,” she said.
Steele wanted to give back to the YouTube community too. Remembering how important it was to her as a shy 11-year-old, Steele’s goal was to create a welcoming place for similar viewers.
“I just want to help other girls out, that’s what I’ve always been doing,” Steele said.
Steele’s clothing line was also inspired by what Steele was interested in and looking for when she first started YouTube — but now, with Steele’s success, she doesn’t have to wait for stores to match her fashion tastes, she’s putting it out there herself.
“I hope my content just inspires people to go after what they want and that anything is possible. I am proof of that,” Steele said. “Life is really hard, people are mean, especially when you’re different.”
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like reading about the “queen of slime,” Karina Garcia.
More from In The Know: