Sydney Serena: A Big Announcement

Home > Blog > Sydney Serena: A Big Announcement
Sydney Serena: A Big Announcement

Jun 17, 2020

Our interview of Sydney Serena for “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere. Sydney is a YouTuber and Influencer with over 2 million followers. Sydney shares her extraordinary journey of moving from Minnesota to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. She tells us about her growth and vision for the future and at the end of the interview, makes a big announcement!

Sydney shared the following takeaways:  

On the process of creating for an audience

Jon Pfeiffer:

What has surprised you about the process?

Sydney Serena:

If I were to have gone back six, five years ago when I started my channel, just realizing how hard it is, how much harder it looks, because online when you see a YouTube video done and put together, you're like, "Okay. Whatever," but-

Jon Pfeiffer:

Yeah, you see all the jump cuts, and it can't be that hard.

Sydney Serena:

Right. It can't be that hard. But then once you do it, you're like, "Wow, there's a lot that goes into this, planning, filming, editing, and even more." Actually, it's quite a process, and I think people don't realize how much work there is behind the scenes.

What advice would you give somebody that wants to start a YouTube channel?

I would say make sure your intentions are in the right place. I think at first a lot of people can be so anxious to go viral or make a ton of money, and that's just not how it works. It takes years. It took me years to grow. I was doing it for probably two years and didn't grow at all or very little. If you start with a passion and you genuinely want to do it and you genuinely have a topic that you're passionate about, run off with it and work hard at it. It's definitely a lot harder and takes a lot more time than I think most people expect, so going in with that mindset and just trying to be different. I think if you try to emulate someone else, it never works. Never works. Everyone always knows what, "You're trying to act like this person," or, "This isn't natural." You can just tell it's forced, so really highlighting yourself and your own personality and attributes for sure.


A transcript of the episode follows:

Jon Pfeiffer:  I am joined today by Sydney Serena. Welcome to the podcast.

Sydney Serena:  Hi, thanks for having me.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I'm going to set the scene.

Sydney Serena:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  You have almost 2 million YouTube subscribers and over 280 million views.

Sydney Serena:  Wow. I didn't know it was that much, Jon.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I checked last night.

Sydney Serena:  Wow. Yeah. Yup!

Jon Pfeiffer:  You have over 600,000 Instagram followers. You're nodding your head yes.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I want to ask you about three main topics, first, the incredible growth of your YouTube channel, two, your move to Los Angeles, because you're not from here originally...

Sydney Serena:  Right.

Jon Pfeiffer:  .. and then your creative process in general. Let's start with, where are you from originally?

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Originally, I'm from Minnesota. I actually grew up there in the same house my whole life for 18 years. A year and a half ago, I moved to L.A. It was such a scary decision for me because I had grown up in the same house my whole life.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How big was the town?

Sydney Serena:  60,000 people. Obviously smaller than L.A.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Right, right.

Sydney Serena:  It was definitely a culture shock being here. But yeah, it was definitely a crazy move, and I'm glad I did it though. It definitely has shifted.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Had you been to L.A. before?

Sydney Serena:  I had been to L.A. only maybe two or three times before I moved here. At first, I couldn't really see it as a home to me because it's so just different from like what I know.

Jon Pfeiffer:  From Minnesota? Really?

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Yeah, surprisingly. Yeah. It's a whole different way of life out here. Everyone's so fast-paced, it's like-

Jon Pfeiffer:  We don't get the now.

Sydney Serena:  No, there's no snow. Kind of nice, kind of not nice. But yes, I moved to L.A., and I've been here for, yeah, a year and a half.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I want to come back to that because I wanted to take a new person's view of Los Angeles and what you would expect, but we'll come back.

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. I saw that you were a gymnast for 10 years?

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Wow. Yes, yes. I'm impressed...

Jon Pfeiffer:  I told you. I did a deep dive.

Sydney Serena:  You did. Yes, I was.

Jon Pfeiffer:  When did you start, and why did you stop?

Sydney Serena:  It actually has a relation to my YouTube. I started when I was super young, three years old, and I did it for, yeah, maybe even a little over 10 years, quit when I was around 13, 14, maybe a little older than that, because I was just getting hurt all the time. Essentially, when you excel in levels, you obviously excel in skill as well. As I was excelling, I was being pushed back because of my injuries. I just couldn't do it anymore because of that. That's kind of when I started, when I had to quit, even though I didn't want to, and I was super sad about it. That's when I started honing in on social media actually, because I had more time for it. That's when I started my whole-

Jon Pfeiffer:  I have a gymnastics question for you.

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How tall are you?

Sydney Serena:  5'3" on a good day.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Is that the average height? Are gymnasts generally tiny?

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Some are tall too, but I feel like it's almost easier to be short.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah. It hurts less to fall.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, yeah. I don't know. For me, I don't know. I've never been tall, so I don't know. But yeah, I feel like most of us are short.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. Because the few I've known have been petite.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. I would say in general most of them are shorter.

Jon Pfeiffer:  You joined YouTube on July 5th, 2014.

Sydney Serena:  The day after my birthday.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Your birthday.

Sydney Serena:  Yes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I was going to ask you about... You had just turned 15.

Sydney Serena:  Yes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  The next day, you joined YouTube. What prompted you to join YouTube?

Sydney Serena:  I asked for a laptop on my birthday the day before, and I got it that day. I was so excited that I set up my channel that next day, and literally, I started right away.

Jon Pfeiffer:  That was something you had planned to do?

Sydney Serena:  Yes, I planned to do it for months before. I asked for a camera, I asked for lights, a laptop, and I ended up getting some of it. I had planned it so diligently that I wanted to do it. I was so excited. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Then why did you want to join? What prompted you to want to join?

Sydney Serena:  For me, it was just seeing other YouTubers. I don't know if you're familiar with Bethany Mota, MakeupbyMandy24, she goes by Amanda Steele now. Those were my idols at the time, and just seeing them make videos, and I watched all of their videos, I just kind of wanted to start making my own.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Before you started, how many minutes or hours a day did you watch YouTube videos?

Sydney Serena:  Gosh, that's specific. A lot, especially because when you're younger, you have more time on your hands. You don't have responsibilities, you know?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Right.

Sydney Serena:  I don't even want to know, many hours, in the summer especially.

Jon Pfeiffer:  When you were in school?

Sydney Serena:  A couple hours a day, maybe. Yeah. I don't have as much time now.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How about now?

Sydney Serena:  Well, now I feel like I look at it differently. Obviously, some of it is for fun. I just like to watch it. But some of it, when I watch YouTube, I do it from a business standpoint. I'm like, "Let me think of video ideas," or, "I see this trend going around. Why don't we study the trend and see how I could put my own spin on it and change it for my own channel?" I kind of look at it from a business standpoint now. But yeah, obviously I do it for my own enjoyment as well.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What were your first videos?

Sydney Serena:  My first videos? Well, my channel wasn't always called Sydney Serena.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What was it originally?

Sydney Serena:  Beauty by Syd.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay.

Sydney Serena:  That was my original name, and I did a lot more beauty. That was pretty much it, a lot of sit-down videos. Yeah, it was definitely more specific to makeup, and then as time went on, I went to a more comedy sketch route and then kind of realized that wasn't for me longterm. Then now I'm more lifestyle, I would say, that category.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Have you ever taken videos down?

Sydney Serena:  I don't know. That's a good question. Have I? Not that I can recall. No. There's a couple I want to take down but... I probably should, that are a little embarrassing that I'm looking back. But I feel like that's kind of the fun of it, is seeing yourself grow up online. Even the embarrassing ones, I'm like, "Gosh, I would not post that now," even though I did a couple of years ago. It's like, "Whatever. That's just who I was when I was-"

Jon Pfeiffer:  But when you're 15 versus...

Sydney Serena:  Right.

Jon Pfeiffer:  There's a big five-year difference.

Sydney Serena:  Right. Exactly. Seeing the growth over time, it's cool.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What are some of your longterm goals for the channel?

Sydney Serena:  My longterm goals? My channel's about my life and just my life in general, so no matter what I'm doing. No matter what stage I am in life, I want to continue my channel and kind of take my audience along with me through those life changes. It honestly just depends on what what I do and...

Jon Pfeiffer:  Where your life goes?

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Some things that I have planned, and yeah, kind of just growing up with my audience. I'd love to do more acting. That's kind of related, but I'd love to do more acting and, yeah, just explore new avenues.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Because your first vlog was September 5, 2015. It was a family dinner, and then you went to target.

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Wow, you really went back. Yes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  The best ones are the first ones.

Sydney Serena:  I know. They're the worst ones.

Jon Pfeiffer:  In the sense of getting to know who that person really is.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, yeah. Man, I feel like I'm a different person now, totally. I'm the same me, but it's...

Jon Pfeiffer:  Because, now go full circle, one of your first videos as you came to Los Angeles was you going to Target.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. I'm not surprised. I always go-

Jon Pfeiffer:  Because you were looking at the escalators for the carts.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Wow. I'm impressed. You really did your homework. Yeah, I'm obsessed with Target. It's kind of a problem but...

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay, so back to your YouTube channel. In January of 2017, you hit 10,000 subscribers.

Sydney Serena:  Was it really in 2017?

Jon Pfeiffer:  2017.

Sydney Serena:  Wow. I don't know. I thought-

Jon Pfeiffer:  By July, 2017, you had 100,000 subscribers.

Sydney Serena:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  That's only six months. What did you do that it started growing so fast?

Sydney Serena:  This was the time when I started online school, during high school, because I had chose to do that. I had a lot more time on my hands. I gave my all to my channel. I didn't do dance anymore. I did dance for a little bit. I was very much focused on my channel. I studied YouTube a lot. I just loved watching it. That was when I started to get into more of the skit space. I know that that's a big market and a lot of people love that. At the time, I did like those videos. I liked the comedy and stuff. Now, for me personally, that's not what I enjoy watching, so I don't do that stuff anymore. But I think that those videos just do very well. They get tons of views. Those skits, those pranks or things like that, they just are very marketable to young...

Jon Pfeiffer:  Right, to young people.

Sydney Serena:  Young people for sure. Those definitely, although I don't do them now, they're a big part of, I think, what took off my career, I guess you could say.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Then that was July of 2017. By February of 2018, you had 500,000 subscribers, who... You had grown it by fivefold. Was it the same kind of growth in the sense of how you did it?

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, same thing. I think the thing is though is that at first, once you kind of figure out what you want to do with your channel and your demographic, who you're trying to reach, the types of things that you like to make, types of content you like to watch, and you figure it out, you may be doing the right thing. You may be making the right content that is marketable, but it just takes time to get there. I think for me, you just need time.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Which I want to shift gears a second and ask you about your target audience.

Sydney Serena:  My demographic?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah. What is the demographic you're after?

Sydney Serena:  Well, I would say any teen girl, from 13, even younger. I have younger too. 13 to even 20. My demographic technically in my analytics is woman age 18 to 24. It's actually younger than I thought. It used to be that younger 13 to 18, but once I kind of stopped doing those skit videos as much, that's when the age demographic went up. Which by the way, I just want to say, I feel like it's kind of good to grow with your audience. Because for me, I don't want to be doing those skit videos forever. That was more of the younger me.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, I know Alicia Marie's talked to a lot about it, and she calls it aging up.

Sydney Serena:  Right. Yes. Yes, actually, yeah, yeah. Yeah, aging up. If you switch your content in a week and it's totally different and it's drastic, that's not going to be sustainable, and that's not going to work. It's more of a gradual shift. I think as I'm aging too, I'm realizing more about what I do like, what I don't like about content. It's always changing, but you just don't want to do anything too quick because then-

Jon Pfeiffer:  As you age.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. People will fall off if it's too quick.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. Back to the numbers.

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Wow, you really are on the numbers...

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah. You hit a million subscribers in August of 2018.

Sydney Serena:  Yes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Were you still doing the same kind of videos, still growing it the same way?

Sydney Serena:  No, I think by around this time and a little bit prior is when I started to switch my content to be more lifestyle-based, and I started to just be more myself on camera. I think for a while when I did those skit videos, it wasn't... I'm not saying that it wasn't me, but I was acting. I was a different-

Jon Pfeiffer:  It was more of an act.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, it was an act. I was a different person because it's for these skits. Although in the intros and stuff and bloopers, it was still me being my silly self, you just couldn't see me as much, like who I really was. Around this time, I started to just show more of me and my personality and do more lifestyle videos so they could see who I really am, connect with them more. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Do you sing your orders for Starbucks?

Sydney Serena:  Do I sing? No, I don't. No, I definitely don't. That was a one-time thing that. That was probably my most embarrassing video ever. That was-

Jon Pfeiffer:  That was funny to watch.

Sydney Serena:  Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was not fun in the moment, but it was funny after. No, but, I don't know, it was fun to be with my friends at least. We laugh about it still.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Then by March of this year, so as of last night, you were just a little bit shy of 2 million subscribers.

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  It's continuing to grow.

Sydney Serena:  Right.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Where do you think it's going to go?

Sydney Serena:  I think it's going to continue to mature as I age and as I grow. I hope it obviously keeps going up and people still keep enjoying my content, but I think it's just going to take more of a look at my life, an even deeper look at my life, and I think as I keep growing and keep aging up, I think just involving people... I'm really into authenticity and just people... I really love seeing just people's lives and the real, both the good and the bad of their life, so yeah, just kind of taking them along with me and my journey. I have some things coming up that I can't really say yet, but... Yeah. I feel like everyone says that, but when I go into this new chapter coming up, that is going to be big.

Jon Pfeiffer:  You heard it here first.

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Heard it here first, sort of.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Sort of, so a tease.

Sydney Serena:  I know. Yeah, a tease.

Jon Pfeiffer:  A tease.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Who was the first person to encourage you to post videos?

Sydney Serena:  No one really encouraged me. It was really just me. No one really forced me, but obviously my mom and my dad were very supportive of it. Some people actually ask me, "Wow, your parents let you do that?" I'm like, "What do you mean?" They're like, "Well, they never let me," or, "They-"

Jon Pfeiffer:  They better because they were in the very first vlog.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Yeah. I know, right? No, some parents, I guess, just don't want their kids, which is understandable, posting online. I get it. Yeah, I understand, but I'm grateful that they were open to it, and they were super supportive. My close friends were also very supportive who I'm still close with, but yeah. Ultimately, it was just me. No one really introduced the idea to me. It was just kind of myself.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Have you always been good in front of the camera?

Sydney Serena:  I don't know. I feel like I've always liked to. I was in the plays when I was in middle school. I loved that. I was super into all that. I was in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and that was my thing. I do.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What did you in Beauty and the Beast?

Sydney Serena:  I was a background character in that. But in The Little Mermaid, I was Flounder. That was my favorite thing. But yeah, I would say so. It's always been fun for me.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I want to come back to your move to Los Angeles.

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Yeah, it's a big thing.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How did you break it to your family that you're going to move?

Sydney Serena:  I first talked to my mom about it. When I told her, obviously, I think any parent is going to be a little hesitant, like, "What? You want to move across the country? What are you going to do out there? Why?" After talking it through, we had long conversations many times about it, she understood because at the time, there was really nothing for me in Minnesota in terms of work, in terms of meeting new friends and things because I wasn't going to be attending college there. It didn't make sense for me to be there. Yeah, she totally supported me. My dad was a little more hesitant, so supportive, but just nervous. He was-

Jon Pfeiffer:  His little girl was going through Los Angeles.

Sydney Serena:  Exactly. He was very scared, and he was scared for me and just... He's trying to prepare me for the real world, and I don't think there's any full way to prepare. Looking back, you kind of just have to... Obviously, you have to be tentative and careful with your decisions, but I think you kind of just have to do it.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Generically, without giving the street address, what part of L.A. do you live in?

Sydney Serena:  I live in Glendale.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. I like the area. I kind of looked around. It's safer. It's clean. It was a little more homey compared to Hollywood.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Before you came out, before you moved out, what did you expect it to be like?

Sydney Serena:  I don't even know what I expected it to be like. Honestly, I can't believe I did it now that I am thinking back. I thought about it, and I was like, "I'm going to do it." I made the decision and went with it. I don't know. I think I really didn't know. I really didn't know what it was going to be like. However, once I found Glendale and once I found the apartment complex I was going to be moving into and knowing that my friends were pretty close, that I think really gave me security, knowing that I had a safety net.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Did you know people here before you came out?

Sydney Serena:  I only knew a couple people, and then I met their mutual friends and things like that and kind of went from there.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah. There's a video where you let your friends turn you into an L.A. girl.

Sydney Serena:  I love that video. Yes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Before you came to Los Angeles, what did you think an L.A. girl was?

Sydney Serena:  What did I think an L.A. girl was? Man, I don't want to be controversial with this.

Jon Pfeiffer:  There's the stereotypes. Believe me, my family is still in the Midwest. I know what they view...

Sydney Serena:  Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I think an L.A. girl is someone who... I don't-

Jon Pfeiffer:  Now this is what you thought it was. Then I was going to ask what you-

Sydney Serena:  What I thought it was?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah, what you thought it was.

Sydney Serena:  Man, what did I think it was prior? To compare, I think in the Midwest people don't focus on their appearance as much typically, and I think here people do. I think that's kind of the main deciphering thing. I don't think there's anything wrong with either. I'm trying not to be controversial, but I'm being honest. Yeah, I guess-

Jon Pfeiffer:  No, I can tell you that when I first moved here, the thing that struck me was how much prettier people are, men and women.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Because they take care of themselves more.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. There's obviously beautiful people everywhere, but I think here people just have so much more of a focus on keeping themselves up and all that. Of course, people in the Midwest do that too, but yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  But there's a lot of hibernation in the winters.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Yeah, you're right.

Jon Pfeiffer:  It's hard to be as active.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, exactly.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. Now that you've been here, define an L.A. girl, your vision of an L.A. girl now.

Sydney Serena:  Gosh, define an L.A. girl. See, I don't see myself as an L.A. girl, I guess. Honestly, I would say the same thing. I would say the same thing. Here's the thing. I think people come to L.A. for themselves, for their business, for their work, for whatever it is, for modeling, for acting. Whatever it is, it's for them. I think because of that, there's just so much more emphasis on, "Okay. Well, I got to make sure I'm ready to go." They kind of focus on themselves more. I guess I would still say the same. But of course, there's people here who don't think like that too.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How hard is it to make friends for somebody that's just moved here?

Sydney Serena:  It depends. It depends if you have friends already. For me, I only knew a couple of people, but they were very, very helpful and introduced me to their friends, so because of that, pretty easy. If you don't know people though and you're coming in totally not knowing anyone, definitely going to be harder.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Harder?

Sydney Serena:  For sure.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah.

Sydney Serena:  For sure. It just depends if you have mutual friends, I'd say.

Jon Pfeiffer:  You did a video in October of 2018 about moving across country alone at 18.

Sydney Serena:  Yes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How did you decide where to live? Did you go around to the different areas, or was it recommendations?

Sydney Serena:  No, it was very apparent to me. I wasn't considering even moving until I thought of L.A. There wasn't a choice in terms of like L.A., New York, if that's what you're saying...

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, I meant within L.A.

Sydney Serena:  Within L.A.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Because there' so many communities in L.A.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Actually, my friend also lives in the area, and she was like, "Come see my apartment complex." Came to it, loved it, and that's how I decided. It was honestly because of her. I'm grateful.

Jon Pfeiffer:  It was easy. Yeah.

Sydney Serena:  It was actually easy. I think just knowing people and they know the area, they know things, they... That helps a lot.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, while you were moving in, your merch came out. The theme is Choose Happy, or the first theme, because it's changed. Why Choose Happy?

Sydney Serena:  I think for me that was a big thing at that time in my life, and it still is. I've always been an advocate of trying to stay positive no matter the situation in life. Definitely in high school I had some times where it was, it was hard for me. Because I did online school and things like that, I felt very isolated, but I just chose to try to see life on the positive side of things. Just me moving to L.A. at that time was just such a pivotal and exciting moment for me because it's like, "Look, I got through that difficult time, and I was able to achieve so many things during that time. Look where I am now." It's almost like a reward, I guess, to myself. I don't know.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, because your current line is a Dream Chaser.

Sydney Serena:  Right. Right.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Which is kind of the natural follow-on.

Sydney Serena:  Exactly. It kind of goes along with it, kind of not. But yeah, Dream Chaser came about because I was thinking about myself, what I stand for, and how I'm pretty self-motivated. Dream Chaser just came to me because if you look at what I did, I moved from Minnesota to L.A. and went after my dreams, literally. I thought that was a really cool, good message to spread.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. I'm going to shift gears on you.

Sydney Serena:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  We're going to go 73 questions alla Vogue interview.

Sydney Serena:  Wow. Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  It's not going to be 73, but it's going to be those kind of questions.

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay.

Sydney Serena:  Are they speed questions?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, except the Vogue questions, they're all rehearsed.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  It's going to take a little longer just because you haven't had a chance to rehearse this. What question would you most like to know the answer to?

Jon Pfeiffer:  See, I told you it was going to take a hard look at...

Sydney Serena:  Man, you hit me with a hard one. What question would I most like to know the answer to? I don't know if this works, but something about if we could all find piece together, how we could do that, if the world could just be at peace with each other.

Jon Pfeiffer:  At peace with each other.

Sydney Serena:  If there's an answer to that, yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Favorite food?

Sydney Serena:  Acai bowls.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Least favorite food?

Sydney Serena:  Beets.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I agree with you on that.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Yeah. No.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah. Do you collect anything?

Sydney Serena:  I used to collect erasers when I was little, but not anymore. I don't collect-

Jon Pfeiffer:  Not anymore?

Sydney Serena:  No, that's pretty much it. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What was your first concert?

Sydney Serena:  Well, Wiggles, I guess, really, if we're really being technical. But my technically one, I would say Selena Gomez. I love her.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. If you had 30 minutes a day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?

Sydney Serena:  Anything I wanted? Probably drive and listen to music in my car. I just love to chill.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What TV channel doesn't exist that should?

Sydney Serena:  Channel?

Jon Pfeiffer:  TV channel. For me, there's ESPN. There's every niche channel you want.

Sydney Serena:  I would say if there's something that they could incorporate YouTube online and have a channel where it's the reality of the YouTuber and follow around different YouTube.

Jon Pfeiffer:  A reality show of YouTubers? That could be interesting.

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Yes, that'd be super cool.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I'll pitch that later.

Sydney Serena:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What is your favorite movie?

Sydney Serena:  High School Musical.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What's the last movie that made you cry?

Sydney Serena:  Marley & Me.

Jon Pfeiffer:  If you could star in a movie, who would you choose as your costar?

Sydney Serena:  My costar. Man. Honestly, depending on the role, I would love to do something with my mom because I'm like close with her, I feel like, because we're so... She's my best friend that I would... Yeah. I don't think she'd like to be in a movie though. If she did, her.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What makes you laugh?

Sydney Serena:  My friends.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What's your guilty pleasure?

Sydney Serena:  Chocolate, for sure.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How would you describe your own personality?

Sydney Serena:  Bubbly, motivated, and kind.

Jon Pfeiffer:  The lights just went off. What is something that people/your fans would be surprised to learn about you?

Sydney Serena:  I used to do fencing when I was younger. That's very random. I don't know if a lot of people know that.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Fencing and gymnastics?

Sydney Serena:  I did fencing for a very short period. I don't know. I was obsessed with it for a little bit, so I guess that.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What's the one talent you wish you had?

Sydney Serena:  I wish I was really a really talented dancer. I look up to them so much.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What's your biggest pet peeve?

Sydney Serena:  People that chew with their mouth open, even though I do that sometimes too.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, my next question was going to be, what's the most annoying habit other people have? I think that's the same thing.

Sydney Serena:  It kind of goes along.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah, yeah.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Have you ever been starstruck?

Sydney Serena:  I feel like I have, but I know that if I ever met Selena Gomez, that would be my most starstruck moment ever, for sure.

Jon Pfeiffer:  If you had a sash, what would it say?

Sydney Serena:  I'm not sure, but I actually did have a sash when I was younger because I did this thing in my city where we.... It was a Little Miss. I was Little Miss of my city. That's all I can think of right now.

Jon Pfeiffer:  So "Little Miss."

Sydney Serena:  Little Miss, I guess.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Little Miss.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What's the best compliment you've received?

Sydney Serena:  People that admire my hard work, I think that's really, really nice.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Shifting back now to YouTube.

Sydney Serena:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Okay. Your YouTube channel says that you love making lifestyle, beauty, and other random, fun videos. What's the biggest challenge you face when you're creating content?

Sydney Serena:  Sometimes just coming up with new content that isn't the same and not repeating myself. I think just by me staying up to date on trends and things that are fun and different, like TikTok now. I'm obsessed with TikTok. I love it. When that came out, I hopped on that right away. I did this whole TikTok video.

Jon Pfeiffer:  There's this tweet that you had, "Why is TikTok so hard?"

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, it is hard work. Honestly, I respect it. No, I'm just kidding, but it is fun. But I think just kind of following trends and things.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What has surprised you about the process?

Sydney Serena:  If I were to have gone back six, five years ago when I started my channel, just realizing how hard it is, how much harder it looks, because online when you see a YouTube video done and put together, you're like, "Okay. Whatever," but-

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah, you see all the jump cuts, and it can't be that hard.

Sydney Serena:  Right. It can't be that hard. But then once you do it, you're like, "Wow, there's a lot that goes into this, planning, filming, editing, and even more." Actually, it's quite a process, and I think people don't realize how much work there is behind the scenes.

Jon Pfeiffer:  How long does it take you to create a video?

Sydney Serena:  For filming, it can take between two and eight hours if it's a... It depends on the video, of course. Again, editing can take seven hours, seven, eight hours probably for one video.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What's your favorite video?

Sydney Serena:  My favorite video? Man, I'd have to see my channel.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Of yours.

Sydney Serena:  I know, I know. I really loved my 1 million subscriber video because that was... It was such an accomplishment for me, and I was super excited about that. My favorite-

Jon Pfeiffer:  You're talking the unboxing?

Sydney Serena:  No, it was when I hit a million. I did this video celebrating that. Yeah, probably that. I also did that TikTok video that was so funny with my brother. That was one of them too.

Jon Pfeiffer:  When you were back in Minnesota?

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Yeah. I have a lot, but-

Jon Pfeiffer:  Jumping into a cup?

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Wow. Yes, you really did your homework. Yep. Yep.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Told you.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Tell me about your biggest fail of a video.

Sydney Serena:  Well, I've had to refilm multiple times because of memory card issues. Those are bad. When you film the whole thing and then it gets trashed because of something that I forgot to do, that's the worst. I would say those are the worst fails for sure.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Can you predict the success of a video?

Sydney Serena:  I think sometimes I'll know, like, "This video will probably do well," but honestly, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you really don't. It just depends on the video, you know?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah. Have you met a lot of other influencers now that you've been out here?

Sydney Serena:  Yes, for sure. I've actually realized how small the industry is being out here. I'm sure you kind of know because-

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. How everyone knows everyone, it's crazy. I didn't realize how small it is. I feel like everyone's mutual friends or mutually knows everyone.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah, everybody wants to be in everybody else's video.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. I almost feel like it's another high school. I've talked to my friends who are all like, "Whoa, social media, YouTube and stuff is like another high school, and everyone knows everyone but not everyone's friends with everyone." It's just interesting.

Jon Pfeiffer:  On a scale of one to ten, one is you couldn't care less and 10 is it really matters, how do you take comments?

Sydney Serena:  It fluctuates for me. I think I used to be actually a lot better with comments. I used to just read it and brush it off, whatever, but I don't know. I would say on a scale of one to 10, I'm about a five. I'm working to get to a three, a four or three. It just depends on the comment. I'd be lying if I said they don't affect me, the negative ones.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Right. Well, the problem is you put in all this effort, and then you get a negative comment. Have you ever left a negative comment?

Sydney Serena:  No.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Nor have I. It astounds me, the number of people that will take the time to log on to leave a negative comment.

Sydney Serena:  Me too. It's like, "What are you doing with your time?" if I'm being honest.

Jon Pfeiffer:  I know.

Sydney Serena:  I don't know. Yeah. I think it's just about realizing that that person is obviously not in a good place and that it's not... They don't know me. They don't really know me. They just know part of me, but they don't know the full me. I don't even try to take that into consideration.

Jon Pfeiffer:  When was the first time you were recognized?

Sydney Serena:  I think it was when I was in Minnesota at a mall, a smaller mall there. Yeah, that's the craziest thing. Every time, still to this day, when people come up to me, I just... I'm like, "Why are you coming up to me? What did I do?" It's so crazy. I remember my mom was with me one of the first times, and she was even like, "Wow, this is crazy." It's so cool, but I feel like when I meet them, it's kind of crazy. It's like I feel like I know them, and they were so sweet. I'm still star struck when they come up to me, just as starstruck. I'm like, "Hi. What's your name?" We always talk. It's so fun.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Do you get selfies with them?

Sydney Serena:  Yes. Even on my phone we take selfies. I'm like, "Hey, want to help me take this?"

Jon Pfeiffer:  What do you think about the concept of influence?

Sydney Serena:  Cool, frightening, and fascinating altogether. I think frightening because it's how you use your platform. I know these young girls and guys who look up to these older influencers. Some set a great example, some don't. I try to use my platform in a positive light and on a good influence. Sometimes I think of the parents too of the younger kid. If I was their parent, well, I would want them too watching someone who is clean and good. It's very cool though nowadays how social media connects everyone. It's so cool.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Have you had an "I've made it" moment?

Sydney Serena:  I think I've had a few. I don't think I would say, quote unquote, I made it because I think I'm always going to continue pushing for bigger things, but I think moving to L.A. was just super cool. That whole thing, me living on my own in my own apartment, never did I think I would be able to do that or afford that at 18 to do all of those things. I never thought that would be a possibility. I think when I first walked into my apartment that first time...

Jon Pfeiffer:  All right.

Sydney Serena:  ... I was like, "Wow, all right. Here we go. This is it." Yeah. I would say that.

Jon Pfeiffer:  What advice would you give somebody that wants to start a YouTube channel?

Sydney Serena:  I would say make sure your intentions are in the right place. I think at first a lot of people can be so anxious to go viral or make a ton of money, and that's just not how it works. It takes years. It took me years to grow. I was doing it for probably two years and didn't grow at all or very little. If you start with a passion and you genuinely want to do it and you genuinely have a topic that you're passionate about, run off with it and work hard at it. It's definitely a lot harder and takes a lot more time than I think most people expect, so going in with that mindset and just trying to be different. I think if you try to emulate someone else, it never works. Never works. Everyone always knows what, "You're trying to act like this person," or, "This isn't natural." You can just tell it's forced, so really highlighting yourself and your own personality and attributes for sure.

Jon Pfeiffer:  One last chance to make the announcement of what's coming up.

Sydney Serena:  What's coming up? Well, when is this being posted?

Jon Pfeiffer:  It's being posted in about six weeks.

Sydney Serena:  Six weeks?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah.

Sydney Serena:  Six weeks. When is that? March, April... Well, actually, what day, do you know, or what around?

Jon Pfeiffer:  It's always on a Wednesday.

Sydney Serena:  A Wednesday?

Jon Pfeiffer:  It will be...

Sydney Serena:  May?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Probably May.

Sydney Serena:  May. Okay. Well, then yes, I can say, because this will be up in hopefully April.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Well, good.

Sydney Serena:  I'm going to college.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Really?

Sydney Serena:  Yes. I'm going to college, and right now I'm still deciding where actually. I know we talked about last time Pepperdine. I'm looking at Chapman now too. Have you heard of Chapman University?

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah, I have. I did a guest lecture there last month.

Sydney Serena:  Okay. Okay. Wow. Yeah, it's a really nice campus. I love it there.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Yeah.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah, I'm still deciding with all of that. But yeah, that's my next chapter. That's a huge thing, and I'm...

Jon Pfeiffer:  To start in the fall?

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Fall, fall of 2020. Yep. I'm going to get all of my now soon videos up and talk about all of that. That's a whole thing. Yeah.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Congratulations.

Sydney Serena:  Thank you. Thank you. I'm super excited.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Last question.

Sydney Serena:  Okay.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Where can people find you on the internet?

Sydney Serena:  My YouTube channel, Sydney Serena, of course. Instagram, Sydney Serena. Do I even want to... TikTok, Sydney Serena. I'm not a great dancer by any means. Yeah, I would say pretty much... I feel like I'm on a lot of platforms, so those are my main ones.

Jon Pfeiffer:  Thank you very much. It's been great.

Sydney Serena:  Yeah. Thanks for having me, Jon. This was great.

The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California.  Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them.

Sign Up for Pfeiffer Law's Monthly Newsletter

Contact Jon and his team today.