By Benson Ang
The Straits Times
Monday, May 26, 2014
Ever watched YouTube videos for advice on how to look good? Two big-name YouTubers, who post videos on beauty and fashion, were in town over the weekend.
Jenna Marbles and Bethany Mota - with more than 19 million YouTube subscribers between them - were here for this year's YouTube FanFest. And both were quick to proclaim their love for Singapore fans.
Marbles, 27, said during her performance segment to over 700 fans last Saturday:
"If I could be here for like 10 years to hug everyone in Singapore, I would."
Mota, 18, tells Life!:
"Before I travelled out of the United States, I didn't think many people over here watched me. Seeing their response... it's just amazing. And people here are so sweet."
When Mota arrived last Wednesday, fans had gathered at Changi Airport and outside her hotel to see her. They included mothers who watched her videos with their daughters, and girls as young as seven.
Many held signs and screamed upon seeing Mota. Others showered her with gifts. She has already received about 20 plush toys of Stitch, her favourite Disney character, here.
She jokes: "We may have to buy another suitcase."
The American, who comes from northern California, rose to fame through her YouTube videos. She has made close to 400 videos - mostly about beauty and fashion - since 2009 and her channel has more than six million subscribers.
In some videos, she gives make-up advice. In others, she discusses her latest purchases, such as shoes and nail polish. She also gives tutorials on how to create specific looks, like that of singers Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj.
While she declines to discuss how much her channel makes, online reports peg it at around $40,000 a month. She is happy to talk fashion though.
Rubbishing claims that Singaporeans have poor fashion sense, Mota says watching what people wear here is "inspiring":
"A lot of girls here are more adventurous with their style than back home. Things are more out of the box. More fun.
"All the patterns, colours and accessories - they're so cool." In fact, at a meet-and-greet session with the media last Friday, someone wore an outfit that she said she "just wants to steal".
Her favourite place to shop here is Marina Bay Sands.
She says: "There're a lot of brands - especially clothing brands - I see here that I don't back home.
"When I go back, I'll be like, 'look what I've got."
Despite the tropical heat, she assures this reporter there are still ways to look good. Her advice? Wear something light, but fancy.
"The dress I'm wearing - it feels like pyjamas, but I'm actually wearing a dress.
"I also always wear BB cream which protects your skin from the sun and stays on for a long time."
While here, she hopes to make a YouTube video. Where? Possibly at MBS' infinity pool.
She says: "When I visited in October last year, I didn't get to do a video.
"This time, it might happen. And the topic might be about summertime, since it is so hot here"
Her father and manager, Mr Tony Mota, 46, is in Singapore with her.
He says: "I never expected her to go after a career in YouTube. But like any parent, you always believe your kid will be successful at what she does."
Mota's beauty videos are about the make-up and products she likes. Many of Marbles' beauty videos, on the other hand, are also funny.
Her most popular video- viewed more than 57 million times - is titled How To Trick People Into Thinking You're Good Looking.
It shows her dolling herself up to resemble a street-walker - complete with fake eyelashes, fake tan, bleached hair and heavy make-up.
Her channel has more than 13 million subscribers and - according to the event's press release - is the eighth most subscribed channel on YouTube. Media interviews with Marbles - whose real name is Jenna Mourey - were not available.
But during her show last Saturday, she told the audience: "I love Singapore. You guys are awesome. I will come back to Singapore any time you guys want me to come here. Any time."
There is one downside though - Marbles will not be able to wear leggings here. In a video uploaded three weeks ago, she said she was addicted to the garment.
During her segment, she said jokingly:
"I'm really heartbroken that I'm not wearing leggings right now.
"But it's just too... hot in Singapore for leggings."
During her 13-minute segment, she also talked about her pets, her love for chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers.
Says one of Marbles' fans, Nathiyaah Sakthimogan, 18, who attended her idol's segment: "She's very relatable because she is weird, just like me."
Adds the student, who has seen all of Marbles' videos: "She's also very down-to-earth and funny. She's not afraid to poke fun at herself and that's why I like her."
In total, more than 2,000 people attended this year's YouTube FanFest.