YouTube Me to Stardom: Celebrities That Hit It Big From the Internet

Our times are like no others in history. Want to talk to your estranged relatives? Just do a couple of web searches, locate them, and shoot them a message. Want to visit India? Forget a perilous journey stretching across thousands of miles of dangerous territory. Just hop on your computer, fire up Google and get your trip all sorted out within a matter of minutes. Want to get famous and hit it big? No problem, 2020 has got your back.

Image: Instagram / vidyavox

In this article, Hypegalore has the honor of taking you on a whirlwind tour of celebrities that hit it big from the internet. With a mix of talent and no shortage of luck, these guys and gals used the modern media to their advantage and managed to get their stuff out there to the world. Sit back, relax, and join us for some fun.

Grace Helbig Graces Us With a Mad YouTube Presence

Grace Helbig is an American comedian, YouTube star, and actress. When it comes to technical backgrounds, Helbig is no joke. She graduated with a B.A. in digital filmmaking with high honors (summa cum laude). In 2007, legend has it that she house-sat for a family, but during the stint in the house, she got super bored. To keep herself entertained, she started making vlogs of her experience.

Image: Seventeen Magazine

The videos were really well made, and they were highly entertaining. Her videos soon started to captivate audiences across the internet. In 2010, with already lots of online traction accumulated, she decided to launch her own YouTube channel called “DailyGrace.” It became a smash-hit and launched her to further fame. Now, the channel has two million subscribers and her videos have a combined total of 210 million views.

Jenna Marbles Hits It out of the Park

Jenna Nicole Mourey, a.k.a. Jenna Marbles, is extremely well known for her YouTube presence. She’s a real polymath: vlogger, actress, comedian, and life-advice provider. After completing a bachelors’ degree in psychology in the mid-2000s, she worked various odd jobs to make end’s meat.

Image: The New York Times

And then, almost out of nowhere, her career took off. One of her videos, titled “How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” was viewed 5.3 million times within the first week following the upload. Get ready for some serious numbers now ladies and gents. Her YouTube channel now boasts an insane 3.3 billion video views and over 20 million subscribers.

Marié Digby is Making Us Seriously Dig It

Californian singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist Marié Digby made her mark on musical history in 2007. She uploaded a beautiful cover of Rihanna’s song “Umbrella” to YouTube. After the video started gaining energy online, it was noticed by the radio station STAR 98.7. Shortly after the song started airing, it gained even more momentum, and it started popping up on all sorts of music billboards.

Image: Instagram / mariedigby

Now, her YouTube channel has almost half a million subscribers, and it has amassed over 130 million views. Note that a large percentage of those views came from her Rihanna cover that propelled her to stardom. Besides being awesome, and making sweet tunes, she is also involved in all sorts of charity work – including raising money for teenagers in low-income areas.

Pentatonix and the Texas Bust-Out

What has Texas brought us recently? More cowboys? Oil? Ruby Red grapefruit? Yes, Texas brought us all these great things. But it is also the birthplace of the awesome Acappella group called Pentatonix. The five-member group started gaining a little traction when they won a third season of the NBC TV singing context called Sing-Off, in 2011.

Image: Instagram / Pentatonix

But what really propelled them to superstardom were their recordings of covers of popular hits, which they posted on YouTube. When they uploaded to YouTube sweet covers of “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Goyte, and “Gangnam Style” by PSY (to name a couple), they went viral. They subsequently released their first EP called PTX, Volume 1. The album quickly climbed the billboards, landing itself a spot on US Billboard 200 at number 14.

From Across the Pond, Zoe Sugg Is Getting Her Stuff out to the World

Zoe Sugg is a British YouTuber and author who has made a (huge) name for herself by uploading her work to YouTube and writing books. In 2009, she started uploading lots of cool videos on a variety of topics, including her daily life, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. By the end of 2015, her channel had over half a billion visits. Nice.

Image: Instagram / zoella

In addition to being a YouTube goddess, she also writes books. Her debut novel, Girl Online, allegedly broke the record for best-selling first-timer novel for its first week. That means that no novel from a first-time writer has sold so many copies in its first week… since 1998. Impressive. Anyway, Zoey Sugg is super smart and talented and has a serious knack for delivering fun and engaging content. Definitely worth checking out.

Esmée Denters Was Discovered by Justin Timberlake

“Cry Me a River” of joyful tears. Maybe this is the thought that went through Esmée Denters’s mind when Justin Timberlake signed her to his new label Tenman Records. The fuse for her explosion to international acclaim was lit when she started to post covers of popular songs on YouTube in 2006.

Image: Instagram / esmeedentersmusic

By mid-2008, at 19 years old, the Dutch singer started taking over the internet. Her YouTube videos became so popular (some with over 100 million views!) that her material started to compete for popularity with legends such as 50 Cent. Even some of Michael Jackson’s songs had fewer views than Denters’s stuff. Seriously, thanks to YouTube and modern communication, this girl played a part in redefining music. No joke.

Troye Sivan Is an Ace of All Trades

YouTuber, singer, actor, blogger, songwriter, philanthropist, is there anything Troye Sivan doesn’t do? Nope, we don’t think there is. This guy is born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and after a few years of singing at the Channel Seven Perth Telethon (2006, 2007, 2008), he started becoming huge. And he’s still gaining momentum.

Image: Instagram / troyesivan

In 2007, after seeing some of his awesome performances posted on YouTube, Hollywood agents got in touch. In 2010, he and other artists collaborated with the goal of raising money for a relief fund for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. This kind-hearted act got him even more attention. He then continued to perform and upload to YouTube, and his stuff spread like wildfire. His songs regularly claim spots on the Top 40 Billboard.

G’day Mate! Ozzy Man Reviews Show Us How Commentary Is Done Down Under

This is how we commentate on a video in ‘Straya! Ethan Marrell, from Perth, Australia, started his career by doing standup at pubs when he was only 17. He had moderate success, but after a couple of years, he decided to ultimately go to college to pursue a career in internet communications.

Image: Trendjackers

During his master’s degree, he started uploading videos on YouTube of a variety of things (like animals playing, for example) accompanied by his unique, Ozzy vibe-infused commentary. The commentary, which ranges from slapstick to satirical, is hilarious. Marrell’s videos soon went viral, quickly propelling him to superstar status. He now has around 10 million views and a total of almost four million subscribers.

Alessia Cara Proves That Canada Doesn’t Disappoint

Alessia Caracciolo, who’s in show biz goes by the name Alessia Cara (rolls off the tongue, right?), is a Canadian-born superstar. This phenomenal woman started out at age 13! So it’s never too early. Anyway, early in life, she learned how to play guitar (she is now also a master on ukelele and piano). In her early teenage years, she started to post covers on YouTube.

Image: CelebJar

Not long after she started making waves with her soulful vocals and mad guitar skills, she found purchase and signed a deal with EP Entertainment. She then released her debut single titled “Here” with Def Jam. Remember these are the people responsible for making legends such as DMX, Kanye West, and Justin Bieber. Ms. Cara, welcome to the big dogs.

Around the World With Luisito Communica

Luis Arturo Villar Sudek is one cool dude. He’s a Mexican YouTuber of Czech descent. This is his deal: he travels all over the world with a camera, goes to a bunch of places and participates in the local customs, and uploads the vids to his YouTube channel called Luisito Comunica. He does a fantastic job of showing us little slices of scenery and culture from every corner of the globe.

Image: El Chaco Informa

This dude is not just any travel YouTuber though – his channel is by far the most subscribed-to channel in Mexico. And it’s the 46th most subscribed-to in the entire world. Wow, this guy is huge! Something that’s cool about Luis is that he’s not afraid of a little controversy. Over the years, he’s visited some troubled areas, like Chernobyl, so naturally, a little debate surrounding some of his travels emerges. He’s game though.

Karmin Are Superstar Sweethearts

While attending college in the early 2000s at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan linked up. Thus the seeds were planted for the epic duet called Karmin. They started jamming in college, where their music started to take shape. At some point after their respective graduations, they started recording covers and uploading them to YouTube.

Image: Teen Vogue

And then all of a sudden, boom! Their videos found a huge mainstream audience, and their emergent popularity was compounded by an appearance on a talk show. Between their YouTube performances and their appearances on the talk show, these lovebirds (yes, they are a married couple now) racked up 320 million views. Welcome to fame and glory.

Vidya Vox Brings the Best of Two Worlds

Vidya Iyer, or as they call this awesome woman in the entertainment world, Vidya Vox, came to the US from India at 8 years old and grew up to take the internet by storm. In 2015, she began to post videos of herself singing on YouTube. And then, the internet worked its magic on her. Shortly after she started, she accumulated a whopping 641 million views on her channel, which had over 6 million subscribers.

Image: Instagram / vidyavox

One of the things, among many, that’s super awesome of Vidya Vox is that although she came to the US at a very young age and grew up there, her music is heavily influenced by her Indian roots. For example, her mashup of Major Lazer’s “Lean On” incorporates big elements of a Punjabi folk song. Super cool and unique – by the way, it has 38 million views on YouTube.

PewDiePie, Cool Name Bro

When it comes to YouTube entertainment, we really feel that PewDiePie has our best interests at heart. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (a.k.a. PewDiePie) started uploading Let’s Play videos to YouTube in 2010. But he also dabbles in comedy. In some ways, PewDiePie is one of the YouTube OGs: he’s not a singer or songwriter, he’s a video game commentator. He’s a big part of the emergence of this fairly new style of content.

Image: Business Live ME

In some aspects, then, he defied the conventional definition of YouTube celeb. Props for originality man. He currently has around… wait for it… 10 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. Critics and fans often report that although sometimes he can get a little vulgar, he always comes across as genuine.

5 Seconds of Summer Leave Us Wishing for a Lot More Than 5 Seconds

Fire up Google, have a look at pretty much any popular billboard. That’s right, these days, you’ll probably see 5 Seconds of Summer occupying peaking spots. Probably because these Australian dudes and their music are majorly impressive. They smoothly combine elements of rock, punk, pop, and synth into a really nice mixture, that makes for superb listening. Rolling Stone called them “emo-gone-pop”, which is strikingly apt.

Image: The Guardian

How did it all start? In 2011, the band (while they were all in college in Australia) started to upload videos of themselves nailing covers on YouTube. Things then escalated quickly. Their cover of Chris Brown’s “Next to You” almost instantly racked up 600,000 hits. Moving forward, last year they released their fourth album. They have also won several prestigious awards, including American Music Awards’ “New Artist of the Year.”

Nikkie de Jager Is a YouTube Sensation and Major Trend Setter

Have you noticed that for the past few years, on social media it’s common to see people posting pictures of themselves with and without makeup side by side? Well, if yes, you can thank this cool woman. Her name is Nikkie de Jager, but she’s better known by her YouTube channel NikkieTutorials.

mage: Geeks On Coffee

From her home country the Netherlands, she hit it super big when after she uploaded to YouTube a video that went viral called “The Power of Makeup.” The clip inspired millions to upload comparative pics of themselves with and without makeup. As of last month, her channel had over 13 million subscribers and 1.2 billion views!

Arnel Pineda Went On a Serious “Journey” (Insert Winky Face Here)

Arnel Pineda, from the Philippines, has been in the game for a while. He started singing and performing in his home country in the 1980s. In 2007, when YouTube started to really become a thing, he started to upload videos there. Good choice Mr. Pineda.

Image: ShowBiz Chika

That year, after he had uploaded a few videos, one of Pineda’s friends got an email from someone claiming to be Neal Schon of American rock band Journey. The email asked if Pineda would be interested in auditioning for the band. Pineda initially dismissed the email as a hoax. But after some convincing, he finally responded. Minutes later, Pineda and his manager were invited to an audition in San Francisco. The rest is history.

Straight out of Oklahoma and Into Your Ears, Dondria Makes Lots of Good Noise

Dondria Nicole, whose full name is Dondria Nicole Fields, smashed her way out of Oklahoma and onto the vast nebula of the internet in 2007. She started with a YouTube channel called “Phatfffat”, where she uploaded videos of herself singing and showed us her amazing vocal talent.

Image: Instagram / dondrianicole

After gathering a sizable audience on the net, she was contacted by So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri, who was interested in her sick singing skills. At first, she didn’t respond to the YouTube message from Dupri, who then sent Dondria several follow-ups. When she did respond, she was flown to Atlanta, where she signed a major contract with So So Def. Now, she’s back in the studio, and her YouTube audience is in the hundreds of thousands.

Liza Koshy Is a Great Mixture of Silly, Serious and Sophisticated

Under the nom de guerre “Lizzza”, Liza Koshy started making and posting comedic videos on YouTube and Vine around 2013. A few short years down the road, she was well on her way to being a “views multimillionaire.” Although as with any other YouTube star we can attribute some of her success to being in the right place at the right time, Liza Koshy’s awesomeness is for sure a big factor

Image: Instagram / lizzzak

She’s super silly and quirky and she takes hilarious facial expressions to a whole new level, committing her face 100% to her jokes. She also has guests on her videos, which at times include top politicians, and she does a fantastic job of engaging them in a sophisticated yet entertaining way. She now has two YouTube channels with a combined total of 28 million subscribers and two and a half billion views!

Tori Kelly’s Stardom Is Born

With a genuine absence of sarcasm, we can confidently say “YouTube sure knows how to pick ’em.” Just have a look at now legendary singer, songwriter, and actress Tori Kelly. This woman is amazing. Over the last few years, her stuff often peaked on huge outlets like Billboard 200 or Billboard Hot 100. Her complete CV is way too colorful to pack into this article though.

Image: MTV Reality TV Shows

She started appearing on YouTube when she was just a teenager living in California. Then, in 2010, when she was 18, she made it to the semi-finals of American Idol, which is no small feat. Two years later, she self-released some of her stuff in a debut EP called Handmade Songs. Fast forward only four years, and she swooped down from YouTube to claim a Grammy Awards nomination. She’s maintained a presence on the billboards since.

Charlie Puth – Killin’ It Since 2009

Charlie Puth made it to superstardom after some of his YouTube videos went mega-viral. He started out in 2009 at 18 years old by uploading comedy videos and acoustic covers to his YouTube channel “Charlie Vlogs.” In 2010, he independently released his debut “The Otto Tunes”, which ignited the flame of internet success.

Image: Twitter / charlieputh

A year later, he won an online video competition that was sponsored by Perez Hilton. By this time, the fire of success started becoming an inferno. In the same year, he performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where shortly thereafter, he signed a record deal with eleveneleven. How big is his YouTube channel now? Over 16 million subscribers and growing!

From Mexico With Love: The Amazing Yuya

After winning a makeup context in 2009 when she was only 16, Mariand Castrejón Castañeda, a.k.a. Yuya, founded a YouTube channel called “lady16makeup.” Yuya continued to make beauty vlogs from her home in Mexico, and her following continued to grow. At some point soon after, the growth of her fanbase became exponential.

Image: We Heart It

Yuya is a seriously cool woman. Besides making great makeup videos that help millions of people around the globe, she is also involved in activism. She’s one of the first young and famous YouTubers to join the UN’s “Sustainable Development Action Campaign”. They seek to achieve gender equality and empower women around the world. These days, Yuya’s channel has over 23 million subscribers and 2.3 billion views. Wow.

OMG, LOL, Smosh Are Comedy Princes

Ok, these funny dudes go way back – almost 20 years to be more precise. Back in 2002, Anthony Padilla (right) created a website called “smosh.com.” The goal was to make and post flash animations. In 2005, Padilla’s friend Ian Hecox (left) hopped on board and they started to post videos on a then very young YouTube.

Image: Business Insider

From comedy to video game commentary, these guys are pretty diverse. And we have to say, they are hilarious. You should really check them out if you like to giggle. 15 years later, their main channel, “Smosh”, has nine billion subscribers and 25 million views. Yeah, these guys are massive stars.

Savannah Outen’s Crazy Melodies Will Rock Your Socks Off

American singer and songwriter Savannah Outen is an early bird when it came to the YouTube worm. She started generating interest in 2007 when she started posting videos of herself singing on YouTube. She has an awesome upbeat style, and she rocks hard on the guitar.

Image: Instagram / therealsavannah

Her videos started to reach a larger and larger mainstream audience following the uploading. In the subsequent years, she continued to make videos – even collaborating with other YouTube-born legends like Esmée Denters. Even before 2010, she started popping up over all sorts of music billboards. Even back then, she had 19 million views on her channel. Today, that number is almost tenfold!

Relationship Goals: PrankvsPrank

American comedy geniuses Jesse Michael Wellens and Jennifer “Jeana” Smith took internet humor to a whole new level. When they were a couple, they started to play practical pranks on each other, film them, and post them on YouTube. You watch their stuff, you’re guaranteed to lol.

Image: Superfame

They started out small, but after posting a few videos and getting amazing feedback and requests for more material, they went all in. They started their own channel, which became the perfect platform for their prank videos. They started getting international attention, and in 205 they received the Streamy Award for “Best Prank Show.” By now, they have almost two billion views and 10.2 million subscribers!

Lilly Singh is Making Waves from Up North

Lilly Singh’s rise to stardom is sort of a zero-to-one-hundred situation. Born and raised in Scarborough, Canada, she started making a name for herself in 2010 with her YouTube channel titled “IISuperwomanII”. A few years down the line, wham, she’s featured on Forbes‘s list of highest-paid YouTubers with an annual income of over ten million

Image: Instagram / lilly

In her uploaded videos, she chronicles her daily activities, does musical performances (often featuring other musicians), and composes vlogs. She also does comedy and appears on talk shows. She’s talented, warm, and downright hilarious! These days, she has two billion views and 16 million subscribers.

Lana Del Rey Rocks the World In Denim

What words are conjured up when we think of Lana Del Rey? Goddess? Icon? Yes, but what about “YouTuber?” A little known fact about Ms. Del Ray is that her big breakthrough was indeed on YouTube. In the years of her early career (2005 – 2010) she saw varying degrees of mediocre success. But in 2011, it all changed.

Image: DIY Mag

She uploaded two self-produced music videos to YouTube: “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans.” They became viral internet sensations. And thus was born Lana Del Rey’s superstardom. Since then, she’s been touring the world, playing shows, and selling records. How many YouTube views and subscribers now? 3.5 billion views and over five million subscribers. Omg, superduper star.