Hannah Hart Is Keeping Things Simple
The most telling piece of information about YouTube creator Hannah Hart comes in the form of a “Draw My Life” video uploaded on April 4, 2013. “Draw My Life” is a style of video that took YouTube by storm earlier this year. In the videos, creators narrate their life story while drawing out images that represent it on a white board. In her “Draw My Life” video, Hart details growing up with her mother and sister while sketching out the words “Food,” “Clothes,” and the symbol for money.
“There was a mom and she had two kids, and they were like ‘yay, let’s do things. Oh, we don’t have any money, we don’t have any food, we barely have any clothes’,” Hart narrates while scratching out the drawings. Hart explains in the video that in order to get food to eat, she used to play a game at school called “Will She Eat It?” Hart says: “It was a simple game. It basically meant that if anybody had something in their lunch that they didn’t want, they could just give it to me.”
Eating unwanted food just to stave off hunger is a tough thing for any kid to have to go. But Hart’s childhood seems to have hardened her work ethic and given her a deeper appreciation for her career on YouTube. A career that began with “My Drunk Kitchen,” a series of shows in which Hart attempts to cook food while under the influence of alcohol.
“My Drunk Kitchen” videos aren’t much to look at initially. Shot in a stark white kitchen with a single camera, they’re simple in a way that harkens back to early YouTube. Yet Hart’s natural charisma in the videos set her on a path to becoming one of YouTube’s most beloved creators.
“It feels like the best job ever,” Hart tells me about her relatively newfound career as a YouTuber. “I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, and this my opportunity to do that.” That opportunity is something that Hart ran with. Her YouTube channels, MyHarto and YourHarto, have over one million total subscribers while Hart herself has had a fair amount of success off-platform as well.
Last month, Hart was chosen by Vice and YouTube to pre-host the YouTube Music Awards. “It was a fascinating experience,” Hart says. “I got interview some of the nominees for the YouTube Music Awards, including DeStorm, Toro Y Moi, Anamanaguchi, and even Miley Cyrus.”
I hear the mere mention of Miley Cyrus these days gets articles one million views, so I naturally ask Hart what interviewing her was like. “She’s a total peach,” Hart says. “She was very nice and still has that Southern charm despite her incredible success. She seems like any 20-year-old with tons of money.” Hart says this with no hints of bitterness even though her humble upbringing, for many people, would justify any feelings of resentment toward a young woman who was born rich.
Hart, it seems, has been working her entire life. After graduating from Berkeley, she worked in “corporate America” as a Japanese translator, which colored the way she views her current career as a YouTuber. “I’m happy to have had the experience of going to school and working in a traditional work background because it makes me really appreciate how wonderful and advantageous my life really is,” Hart says. Taking to the platform after experiencing the soul-draining life of a white collar worker, Hart seems to appreciate her career with more depth and understanding than those who broke onto YouTube as kids. “My only hesitation with some of the young YouTubers who gained notoriety is that they might not realize how good they got it,” she says.
Hart’s setbacks don’t necessarily only pertain to life offline though. Earlier this year, “Camp Takota,” a film starring Hart, Grace Helbig, and Mamrie Hart, was set to release exclusively at video distribution platform Chill. Marc Hustvedt, head of entertainment at Chill, told me that even before the film was released, “Camp Takota” merchandise sales had reached an astounding $50,000. The film, backed by Chill, was a lock to be a massive hit. But last month, Chill abruptly laid off 40% of its staff and axed its distribution platform. “Camp Takota” suddenly found itself without a home.
“Frankly, the movie has been shot,” Hart explains. “I think the only thing we’re trying to figure out is how to distribute it online. I know that it’s going to be playing in some select theaters, but we are looking at our options for where to take it next.” Hart says that they’ve considered distribution platforms like Netflix, iTunes, and even a self-made web site. “No matter what it’s going to get out to our audiences. I think that’s what matters most,” she says.
I ask Hart if she plans to stay on YouTube for the long haul. Her recent foray into film and hosting suggests that she is evolving as a performer outside of YouTube. Unequivocally, however, Hart says she is and always will be a YouTuber. “I’m one hundred percent a YouTube Creator. One thousand percent,” she says.
Her growing popularity on and off YouTube aside, Hart doesn’t necessarily have a specific goal in mind. For her, life is evolving too quickly to lock down any concrete career plans. “Honestly, I started as a translator, and now I’m a YouTuber. I really can’t predict where this is going to go, but I feel very blessed,” she tells me.
Hart’s 10-year plan is simple, it’s the plan of someone who has seen the worst in life and has come out stronger for it. Hart has a clear perspective on happiness that was sharpened by a tumultuous, hard childhood. “The only thing that matters to me is that in 10 years I’ll be 37. As long as I am healthy, and happy, and maybe have a family and have settled down somewhere, I’ll be totally content,” she says. It’s a beautiful sentiment made all the more impactful by the fact that Hart seems to have a blinding bright future ahead of her. Still, it’s all she seems to want. Sure it’s simple, but who could ask for anything more?
Photo credit: Robin RoemerTags: Camp Takota, Chill.com, Creator Profile, Hannah Hart, My Drunk Kitchen, youtube, YTMA