PHOTOGRAPHY BY TINA TURNBOW
INTERVIEW BY KATINA GOULAKOS
Imagista talks with the refreshingly down-to-earth Eva Gutowski about her journey to the top of the YouTube and social media podium.
Imagista: What were you doing before you started making videos online?
Eva Gutowski: Before I started making YouTube videos, I was in college as a journalism major and working at a pizza restaurant! I can make really good pizza of any kind. I also was writing a really small personal blog, where I talked about everything I liked, like DIYs I did, clothes I bought on a budget, playlists of songs I loved based on the season, and more. I guess I didn’t really go far from that.
Imagista: What made you start making YouTube videos?
Eva Gutowski: In high school, I decided I wanted to be Oprah. People laughed at me and thought I was crazy obviously. But at that time in life when everyone is desperately trying to figure out what they’re good at, I knew I was…
1.) Really good at giving advice and making people feel comfortable.
2.) Really good at writing creatively.
3.) I loved acting and performing.
I loved that Oprah could inspire tons of women but also could produce movies, magazines, write books and more. I didn’t want to just do one thing. I wanted to do everything I loved. So like Oprah, I decided to go to college for broadcast journalism. While I was writing my blog, I had a lot of comments that wanted YouTube videos to more easily explain my DIYs and shopping hauls. I also was in a broadcast journalism class, and our biggest assignments were literally to stand in front of the class and deliver “news reports” on “camera” as if we were on television. I was naturally pretty good at this, but I wanted to get really comfortable being in front of the camera, so I started a YouTube channel literally to just make my reporting skills better for my class assignments and satisfy some of my blog readers.
Imagista: When you started, did you ever think that you would gain over 10 million followers
Eva Gutowski: Honestly, I could sit here and say “OMG, I never thought I would!” but when I started YouTube, I literally wanted to be Oprah and anything I ever wanted I’d work extremely hard until it happened. There was no option for failure if I worked hard enough. I never went into YouTube saying, “I want this many followers.” At the time, followers were not even what they meant today. I went into YouTube with the intent to spread a positive message to people like me, and I went into it with a good heart, and I’m really happy people noticed me and felt that too and decided to subscribe. So yes, in a nutshell, I always knew if I worked hard enough, I’d get to do what I love for as many people that heard me!
Imagista: How do you feel like YouTube and other social media platforms have impacted our society? Do you think there is both good and bad to this new wave of celebrities?
Eva Gutowski: I think it’s cool how we can find someone just like us within any second, just by our phones. Of course, it’s a big and powerful tool, and some people are going to suck, but some are also going to make really huge and positive changes. I’m never the person who is saying, “Social media is doomed! It’s toxic! It’s bad!” I get my biggest inspiration and life motivation from the people I follow. I’ve made all my best friends due to social media. I always say, “You choose who you follow.” If someone’s not serving your purpose or making you happy, don’t let it into your space! It’s as simple as that.
Patent pants available at @maisonmargella
Imagista: You are a woman of many talents, is it true that you make your own clothes?
Eva Gutowski: Yep! Growing up, my mom used to sketch (she’s super talented) and sew clothes. During Halloween, she’d make me these elaborate costumes and I’d always win awards for them, so I think I owe my design talent to her. Also my grandma. Once I got around the age of 6, she started letting me cut up her old clothes and sew them into new things. My grandma taught me how to sew and I still remember all these little tips she told me back in the day. I think because I didn’t grow up with money, I had this natural urge to learn how to DIY things I couldn’t afford. So now I have my brand It’s All Wild, but in addition to that, I still once a week love to go to the fabric store with my mom and make an idea I have in my head.
Imagista: I also heard that you are a big thrift shop girl, what country has the best thrift finds
Eva Gutowski: Japan has the best thrifting. Tokyo, in Shimokitazawa and Harajuku. I would fly back just to thrift if I could!
Imagista: Do you feel a certain pressure now that you are considered a role model to so many of your loving fans?
Eva Gutowski: I don’t mind putting my life on display – the good and the bad. I’m not hiding anything, and I think because I went into social media and being an open book, I’m not scared to be myself. It’s been really cool to grow up on YouTube and have my viewers grow up with me. There are people that have come to my meet and greets when they were 13, and now we’re BFF’s who DM about life advice and they’re graduating high school. I love that I can guide my viewers and be a big sister to them, while also being real and sharing what I learn along the way.
Imagista: What should our readers expect to see from you in the future?
Eva Gutowski: I’ve been working loooong nights on music. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about – especially writing music – but I never made it my main priority. Now instead of hanging with friends, I’ll watch production tutorials, or I’ll work on a song, or I’ll practice DJing. I try to tell myself that if I just spent one year trying to learn as much as I can, I’ll be that much closer by the next year. I want to get all the musical ideas I have in my head out for people to hear – that burning feeling is what fuels me. I’m really inspired by Joji. He used to be a YouTuber, and I think it’s really cool to know how hard he must have had to work to learn about music all while making YouTube videos at the same time. In the future, as far as sound and visuals, you can definitely expect the furthest thing from what you’d probably expect from me, music-wise.
Imagista: What is something that fans would be surprised to hear about you, something that we can’t already find on google?
Eva Gutowski: If you’ve been watching me for a long enough time, you’d definitely know I love discussing conspiracies/true crime/cold cases/creepy pasta and more, but you probably don’t expect all my TV time to be taken up by all things creepy. I live for a good mystery, and in another life, I would love to work for the CIA or even just be a homicide detective or something like that.