Bethany Mota is bigger than Beyoncé. Yes, Yoncé is one of the popular celebrities of our time, but when it comes to YouTbe, Mota has her beat by over 7 million subscribers.
Her loyal fans, who call them- selves “Motavators,” tune in weekly to catch her makeup tutorials, room decor ideas, and teenage musings on music, boys, and shop- ping. She broadcasts to her mil- lions of fans from her bedroom, a cozy space she invites viewers into, winning them over with her cheery personality and genuine warmth. She’s among the Internet’s first DIY celebrities, and today she’s probably the richest. Last year, she launched a collabo- ration with tween brand Aeropostale to design a capsule collection—a first for a fashion vlogger—and by December she’d become Google’s most-searched designer of the year.
Today, at 19, Mota represents the millennial American dream. But in 2009, just before her 13th birthday, she had hit rock bottom. Always a shy kid, she sunk into depression after discovering that her supposed best friends had cre- ated a fake MySpace profile in Mota’s name—kind of a virtual slam book—featuring pictures of Mota lamenting about her weight and looks. Though in hindsight it may seem like typical teenage mean-girl antics, at the time the betrayal cut deep. Subsequently, Mota, who was already being home- schooled, spent nearly every wak- ing hour holed up in her bedroom, hiding from the world. She became anxious at even the mention of get- ting out from under the covers.
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