the truth about vlogging: introducing jenn im
In celebration of YouTube’s 10th anniversary, this week we will be delving into the weird and wonderful world of internet vlogging, as we meet the voices of the digi generation and online stars of tomorrow who have been redefining the very meaning of...
Jenn Im has been vlogging since 2010. It started as a bit of fun with her friend Sarah and grew into something wildly successful. At 24 years old, Jenn has over a million subscribers to her channel, Clothes Encounters, which she now runs alone, and is the go-to source for all your questions about what high street garb to wear, how to wear it, where to shop, and, most importantly, how to be happy with and in yourself. Born and raised in LA, Jenn would always struggle to find her voice in class, but fast forward to today and she is fast becoming one of the leading voices of the digi generation. But why is she so popular? Warm, candid, and un-patronising, Jenn treats her audience as if she would her old friends - she laughs with them, introduces them to her boyfriend and shares with them intimate details about her life - and it is this sense of realness and authenticity that viewers find so appealing. Bored of Photoshopped perfection, fashion's unrealistic ideals of beauty, its affected superstars, consumer-driven outlook, and it's un-relatability to a generation who grew up in a climate of recession, unaffordable housing, zero jobs, fast fashion, unwavering internet access, and the ability to connect to anyone in the world at the click of a button, more and more millennials are starting to turn to kids just like them for advice on how to live their lives. However, where there are fans there will always be haters, and for some reason vloggers seem to attract a lot, especially from those traditionalists who value fashion for its exclusivity and elitism. Weighing up both arguments we caught up with the fashion vlogger to talk trolls, travel and female empowerment.
What's so great about vlogging?
I love the feeling of working on a craft I'm crazy about and then receiving instant feedback once I release it.
Do you find that your personality is the same on screen and off or is there a certain level of performance involved?
I'd say my personality is the same. I might be a little more amped up and a touch more put together. There is an aura of professionalism in my videos, but my wacky side does come out from time to time, especially in candid vlogs.
Why do you think vlogging has become such a craze, and even more popular than branded videos from large fashion companies?
Vlogs are the "real" reality TV. Although most vlogs don't have the contrived drama placed in by producers, there's something really captivating about them. Watching someone you've grown attached to online go grocery shopping or getting ready for the day is comforting. You feel like you know them.
What would you say to critics who argue that vlogging has removed a certain sense of artistry and exclusivity when it comes to fashion?
Fashion isn't supposed to be exclusive. I hate the perception of "fashion" being an enclosed clique. It's this thought mentality that pushes away and intimidates most people. Wearing clothes is an act in which everyone has to participate, so why not have a little fun? I think vlogging has made fashion more approachable because you might think, "Hey, she's really short like me. Maybe I can wear that too."
Can anyone be a vlogger?
Technically anyone can be a vlogger, but if you want a wider reach you definitely have to have a good work ethic. Being consistent and coming up with fresh ideas every week is a commitment you'll have to take.
Who is your ideal audience?
People who are open-minded and who aren't quick to judge others on what they wear. My main message for my the channel is to wear whatever makes you feel good, whether it's that big ill-fitting shirt with ketchup stains or that tight green sequin mini skirt. Life is too short to wear something you don't like.
What makes you stand out from all other vloggers?
I want my viewers to feel like they're actually there with me. I'm very fortunate to be able to travel so I document all my trips like Japan, Singapore, Dubai, London, etc. I love being able to capture the energy of a city while showing my subscribers what I wore there.
How does it feel to have an entire community surrounding and supporting you?
I feel like the luckiest girl in the world being able to share my experiences globally. I never thought in a million years my channel would have an impact like this.
How do you deal with online trolls?
I ignore trolls. It's a waste of energy replying to them because they're not there to listen. Instead I respond to people who have constructive criticism because sometimes it's what I need to hear.
Does vlogging empower you as a woman? How?
Yes, vlogging does empower me. I've always struggled to find my voice in everything from class discussions to dinner parties. Vlogging is what helped me express myself visually first and as I continued to do this throughout the years, I was able to become more confident with myself and my style.
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography David Cortes