YouTube vanlifer Jennelle Eliana blazes path for solo woman travelers
The YouTube channel of a 21-year-antique girl who lives in a van along with her puppy snake Alfredo is on the centre of a debate about race, tour and gender within the online international.
Jennelle Eliana’s channel, which files her every day existence as a “vanlifer”, has come to be an internet phenomenon after gaining 1.9 million subscribers considering June.
“It actually can manifest overnight,” stated Emily corridor, the marketing campaign director on the Goat organisation, a advertising company targeted on social media influencers. “The hobby in her is fuelled with the aid of the way of life that she’s putting out. If someone makes an opportunity lifestyle appearance possible and sticks out on socials they could take off hugely.”
Eliana’s motion pictures are easy and edited on her phone, with the 21-yr-antique showing subscribers round her transformed 1995 GMC Vandura van and speaking through the practicalities of life on the road, from taking a shower to dealing with destroy-ins.
Her sudden upward thrust led to conspiracy theories about how she have become so famous so fast. Chris Stokel-Walker, a journalist and author of YouTubers: How YouTube Shook Up tv and Created a brand new generation of Stars, said despite the fact that her rise has been meteoric, it’s far a lack of awareness around how the platform works that is fuelling the sceptics.
“there is a dearth of information about how tips work on YouTube, so people anticipate it’s a manufactured success while it’s now not,” he said. “She has that intangible mix of being cool and outdoorsy with a sense of journey, coupled with an attractive and quirky personality.
She has also tapped into the boom in solo journey. About 15% of British holidaymakers took a experience through themselves in 2018, up from 12% in 2017 and 6% in 2011, a fashion pondered within the surge in YouTube content geared toward that marketplace.
“given that 2016, uploads with ‘solo journey’ within the identify have step by step multiplied year over 12 months with 2019 proving to be the biggest year yet,” stated a YouTube spokesperson. “This 12 months, out of the pinnacle 100 maximum considered films with ‘solo journey’ within the title, over 70 have been uploaded by using ladies.”
The enchantment to her technology Z peers has been attributed to her lo-fi production values and focus on the greater unglamorous aspects of journey, according to the tech journalist Taylor Lorenz, who has written approximately Eliana. Her films also chime with a circulate towards much less manufactured, “actual” on-line content material favoured through younger viewers on systems including Instagram and YouTube.
“It’s representative of an entire generation sticking their center finger up to what girls ‘ought to’ be doing,” said Eve young, co-host of the Social Minds podcast. “the recognition of solo female tour is a actual sign of the times: it connotes freedom, desire, monetary independence and confidence.”
Eliana’s surprising upward thrust fits every other emerging trend within the number of black girls developing solo journey films on YouTube. The platform says there are a “great wide variety of videos” from black woman creators sharing their reviews of touring a few of the most viewed in the solo tour category.
The journalist Georgina Lawton says Eliana’s vlog and others love it fill a blindspot that the journey industry has historically had around catering for women of coloration.
“We’ve continually been visible as a monolith with the aid of the United Kingdom tour enterprise,” stated Lawton, , who’s writing a guide to solo tour for women of colour. “Now when a person does something like Jennelle Eliana with her vanlife motion pictures, it breaks the mould and it appeals to such a lot of extra individuals who assume they can do it.”
Lawton says she was stimulated with the aid of Oneika Raymond, who commenced out as a vlogger earlier than becoming a host on the tour Channel. Part of the enchantment for her of content made by means of black solo female travelers such as Oneika is that it facilitates bust myths about alternative types of journey.
“It’s satisfactory when different people have made content due to the fact that alleviates my own fears,” stated Lawton, who watched movies by way of other black solo lady visitors before a experience to Russia. “Those motion pictures solution the ones questions.”
“people are starting to recognise that YouTube is so large that you could construct a gap that human beings perceive with,” stated Stokel-Walker. “The aspect is a niche hobby on YouTube still way thousands and thousands of views.”
The exciting thing for him is what’s going to manifest next. He says Eliana and different a hit YouTubers will quick ought to choose whether or not to accept business offers or reject them in an effort to preserve their unique appeal.
“They construct their target audience on authenticity and then they get to a stage after they turn out to be almost a conventional movie star,” said Stokel-Walker, who expects brands to start throwing gives at Eliana. “and then the original appeal receives lots tougher to maintain.”