Entertainment Nostalgia

How 25 of the Biggest YouTubers Have Changed Since Their First Videos

How 25 of the Biggest YouTubers Have Changed Since Their First Videos May 16, 2021Leave a comment

It's pretty crazy how YouTube has already been around for over fifteen years. The video sharing site officially launched on February 14, 2005 and was purchased by Google in 2006 to later grow so much more. And along with that growth came a new career of content creators who make videos on the popular site.

YouTube is a hub of fun, learning, and creators that have a career from just creating content on there. Many creators have been on the site since the beginning, but here are a few popular YouTubers that have changed quite a bit since their original videos premiered.

Liza Koshy's First Video

YouTube / Liza Koshy

Liza actually joined YouTube on the later train in 2015 after she was a successful Vine star. She grew to popularity alongside her then-boyfriend David Dobrik, whom she dated from 2015 to 2017. Their famous breakup video, which was posted in 2018, quickly rose to 60 million views before it was set to private on the platform. Koshy also became the fastest YouTube personality to reach 10 million subscribers in 2017.

Liza Koshy Now

Instagram / Liza Koshy

Since Koshy’s Vine days she has created a YouTube Original show called "Liza On Demand" and she now has a personal channel called Liza Koshy Too which has nearly 8 million subscribers, in addition to her main channel which currently has nearly 18 million. In her career she has received four Streamy awards, four Teen Choice awards and a Kids’ Choice award. She also continues to host various game shows and awards shows. 

Phil DeFranco's First Video

YouTube / sxephil

Phil DeFranco jumped onto the YouTube scene under the username "sxePhil" in 2006. His username meant “straight edge Phil” implying that he didn’t drink or do drugs. DeFranco has since grown a lot on the platform and he is now known as the host of a daily news show. And for those looking for Phil’s original sketch comedy content, they will have to dig deeper than his YouTube channel, because he has set all of his videos published before 2017 to private.

Phil DeFranco Now

YouTube / Phil DeFranco

DeFranco eventually got rid of his old username and while he originally did funny sketch videos on his channel, he now primarily focuses on news and current events. His videos have garnered over a billion views since he started his account and his videos have earned him 7 Streamy awards for Best News Channel and Audience Choice for Best Series of the Year.  

Zoella's First Video

YouTube / Zoella

Zoella, who is also known as Zoë Sugg, began posting videos to her YouTube channel in 2009. These videos included makeup tutorials, clothing hauls and vlogs. Soon enough, Zoella amassed over 11 million subscribers on the channel. Zoe also launched a line of beauty products called Zoella Beauty in 2014. She has since branched out to selling homeware products, appearing on television and writing a non-fiction book. 

Zoella Now

Instagram / Zoe Sugg

Zoella no longer posts videos to her original YouTube page, which has not been updated in over three years, but she continues to post vlogs on her Zoe Sugg channel, which has nearly 5 million subscribers. Her main focus in life is now her plan to become a mother with her husband, fellow YouTuber Alfie Deyes. The two have been together since October of 2012 and they announced in March of 2021 that they would be expecting their first child together. 

Manny MUA's First Video

YouTube / MannyMUA

Manny is yet another successful makeup and beauty YouTuber. His first video was a simple but fun and informative video about his everyday foundation routine. And although he has been involved in his fair share of drama, thanks in part to his friendships with other beauty influencers like Jeffree Star, Laura Lee and Nikita Dragun, he has managed to remain one of the least controversial beauty gurus on the web. 

Manny MUA Now

Twitter / MannyMUA

In 2018, Manny started his own makeup line called Lunar Beauty and released the brand’s first eye shadow palette, Life’s a Drag. He still focuses primarily on his YouTube channel, having gained over 4.8 million followers since his start in 2014. He has also appeared in season three of the reality series “Escape the Night” and he has done collaborations with stars like Halsey, Kesha and Trixie Mattel. 

Jenna Marbles's First Video

YouTube / Jenna Marbles

Jenna Marbles was one of the original YouTubers that made silly sketch videos, especially her "How to trick people into thinking you're good looking" video, which went viral on the platform. Since posting that video in 2010, her channel has gotten more personal with less sketch humor videos. She posted many videos about her dog and her boyfriend, fellow YouTuber, Julien Solomita. 

Jenna Marbles Now

YouTube / Jenna Marbles

Although Jenna Marbles’ channel grew to over 20 million subscribers since she started posting on YouTube in 2010, she stepped away from the internet in 2020 to focus on her personal life, after making a video apologizing for some of the humor in her previous videos. She also stepped down from the Jenna and Julien podcast, but while she isn’t sharing much with fans right now, she recently got engaged to her longtime boyfriend Julien and they live happily together with their several dogs. 

Hannah Hart's First Video

YouTube / Hannah Hart

Hannah Hart's first video was actually part of what would soon become her "My Drunk Kitchen" series, in which she attempted to cook while drinking. The video was posted in 2011 and soon after it was published, it started to get the attention of thousands of people who wanted to see more videos from Hannah. The “My Drunk Kitchen” series had many guest stars and even won two Streamy awards in 2013 and 2014. Hart also released a “My Drunk Kitchen” cookbook, but that’s not all she has focused on in her career.

Hannah Hart Now

Instagram / Hannah Hart

In 2014, Hart co-produced and starred in the comedy film “Camp Takota” with fellow YouTubers Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart. She has since skyrocketed on YouTube and she even ended up having a cameo in a Taylor Swift music video. She still makes videos on her channel, but now posts a variety of videos from LGBTQ+ related content to vlogs and more. Hart currently has almost 2.5 million subscribers. She also married her longtime girlfriend Ella Mielniczenko in 2021.

Kingsley's First Video

YouTube / Kingsley

Kinglsey was one of the first YouTubers to make it big back in 2009 with his "Overexposed" video series. He also gained viewers thanks to his “Ask Kingsley” videos in which he would answer questions from fans. He later started a series called “Direct Message,” in which he gave advice to his viewers. But despite Kingsley’s success, he was also vocal about his disagreements with YouTube’s rules and he eventually disappeared from the platform, leaving his old content set to private.

Kingsley Now

Instagram / Kingsley

Kingsley returned to uploading YouTube videos in 2019 after he initially left the platform for a year. But, this wouldn’t be the last time that he set his accounts to private and disappeared from the internet. In 2020, Kingsley once again set all of his videos to private and deleted his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook profiles. But in 2021, he once again returned to his channel that currently has nearly 3 million subscribers, proving that he can be a content creator on his own terms. In his update video, he called his return to the platform “optimistic.”  

David Dobrik's First Video

Vine / David Dobrik

David Dobrik rose to fame thanks to the app Vine. He published his first Vine in 2013 and soon made collaborations with other Vine stars like Liza Koshy, Gabbie Hanna and Jason Nash. He started his YouTube channel in 2015 and soon, his high energy videos amassed a huge following. His videos frequently featured “The Vlog Squad” which included other content creators like Jason Nash, Josh Peck, Scotty Sire and Kristen McAtee. But despite having over 18 million subscribers, Dobrik couldn’t escape scrutiny from his peers and audience.

David Dobrik Now

YouTube / David Dobrik

Dobrik returned to YouTube after a few months away from uploading in June of 2021. He left the platform after controversies stemming from his Vlog Squad videos, such as a stunt involving an excavator that left creator Jeff Wittek with life threatening injuries. Business Insider also reported about accusations of Dobrik creating a hostile environment for his videos, but his views haven’t halted after these events, with his first video back after his hiatus receiving over 8 million views shortly after its publication. 

Nikita Dragun's First Video

YouTube / Nikita Dragun

Nikita Dragun first started her YouTube channel in 2013, at which time she also found an audience on Instagram. She began by posting makeup tutorials, but in 2015, she posted a video revealing that she was transgender. Her open and honest video, along with her many other videos about the process of transitioning, helped her continue to grow her audience and find new fans. But she hasn’t always been able to stay out of controversy.

Nikita Dragun Now

Instagram / Nikita Dragun

Nikita has amassed over 3 million subscribers on YouTube, over 9 million followers on Instagram and over 13 million followers on TikTok in recent years. But in 2017, Dragun was met with criticism after being accused of “blackfishing” in a Jeffree Star Cosmetics photoshoot. In 2019, she was the subject of more drama when she sided with James Charles during his feud with Tati Westbrook. She was also criticized by other content creators when she attended large parties in California during the 2020 pandemic. 

Safiya Nygaard's First Video

YouTube / Safiya Nygaard

Safiya Nygaard grew a following on social media during her time working for the media company Buzzfeed. She appeared in many of the “Ladylike” series videos before her departure from the company in 2017. But the first video ever posted to her channel was a demo reel published in 2014, which shows off Nygaard’s acting chops. Little did she know then that her big break wouldn’t be in acting.

Safiya Nygaard Now

Instagram / Safiya Nygaard

Following the post of her “Why I Left Buzzfeed” video in 2017, Safiya’s YouTube channel grew incredibly fast. Her Buzzfeed video was soon watched over 15 million times and her channel currently has just over 9 million subscribers. Nygaard typically posts videos trying viral internet trends and she also married her former Stanford University classmate Tyler, who appears in many of her videos. 

Tana Mongeau's First Video

YouTube / Tana Mongeau

Tana jumped into the YouTube world in 2015 and she has been stirring up drama ever since. She first gained an audience by making “story time” videos about her strange life experiences as a teenager living in Las Vegas, before she moved onto vlogging about her ever exciting life. In 2019, she even had her own MTV reality series titled “Tana Turns 21.”

Tana Mongeau Now

YouTube / Tana Mongeau

Tana’s personal life has been the subject of a lot of social media trending topics, including the time she married Jake Paul and live-streamed the ceremony, even though she later admitted that the marriage was not legal. She has also dated former Disney Channel star Bella Thorne, who appeared in many of Mongeau’s YouTube videos before their split. Currently, Tana is working on creating a talent agency for other young creators to benefit from her experiences in the public eye.

Tyler Oakley's First Video

YouTube / Tyler Oakley

Tyler Oakley began vlogging in 2007 when he was still a student at Michigan State University. Since starting his channel, he has continued to vlog but has also incorporated bigger content onto his page, like a high profile interview with Hillary Clinton, creating a series called "Going Home," and speaking his mind about important issues in the world and specifically LGBTQ+ rights. He has even written a memoir and now has over 7 million subscribers. 

Tyler Oakley Now

YouTube / Tyler Oakley

In December of 2020, Oakley let his YouTube subscribers know that he would be taking an indefinite hiatus from posting new videos, which he had done every Tuesday for over a decade. But fans can still watch his old videos,  the first of which was posted in 2007. Oakley also continues to make new episodes of his podcast “Psychobabble” with his friend Korey Kuhl.

Lilly Singh's First Video

YouTube / IISuperwomanII

Lilly Singh, who was also known as IISuperwomanII when she first started out on YouTube, is a comedian, talk show host and vlogger. Her humorous videos gained her a huge audience after she started posting to the platform in 2010. Early on in her YouTube career, she intended to go to graduate school at her parent’s request, but she later chose to make YouTube videos instead. Singh is also a musician and actress who has toured the country with her talents.

Lilly Singh Now

Instagram / Lilly Singh

Singh has constantly reached new heights in her career, proving that YouTubers can be successful entertainers. She hosted the late night series “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” for two seasons and in 2020, her sketch comedy series “Sketchy Times with Lilly Singh” premiered on the Peacock streaming service. She also voices Penny in the animated film “Riverdance: The Animated Adventure.” Singh also has her own production company Unicorn Island Productions, which produces comedy projects.

Trisha Paytas's First Video

YouTube / Trisha Paytas

Trisha Paytas, the unapologetic blonde singer and actress who is known on social media for her love of Quentin Tarantino and making videos of herself crying on her kitchen floor, posted her first video to the platform in 2007 when she was 19 years old. Since then she has become well known for causing a lot of drama and calling out other creators on the platform like Jeffree Star, David Dobrik and Ethan Klein. But her first videos mostly showcase her absolute love for indie movies and pop culture.

Trisha Paytas Now

Instagram / Trisha Paytas

Since her start on YouTube in 2007, Paytas has amassed over 5 million subscribers and she has started a music career, releasing 10 EPs and dozens of music videos. Her most recent single is titled “I Love You Moses,” an ode to her fiancé who just so happens to be H3 Podcast host Hila Klein’s brother. Paytas’s most recent scandal involves her stepping down from the H3 podcast “Frenemies,” which she has made several videos discussing. 

PewDiePie's First Video

YouTube / PewDiePie

PewDiePie is a Swedish YouTuber named Felix who became the most subscribed YouTuber on the platform before many people even knew his name. He started his video making career in 2010, posting Let’s Play videos of horror and action video games. He reached 1 million subscribers in July of 2012 before becoming the most subscribed creator on the platform in 2013. 

PewDiePie Now

YouTube / PewDiePie

Today, Felix has over 110 million subscribers on YouTube and he still holds the title of the most subscribed individual on the site. He has been outspoken about censorship on the platform and he has even helped support the development of indie video games, which he often plays on his channel. And although he makes a lucrative income from his videos, he also gives a lot of that money to various charities, like the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

Alfie Deyes's First Video

YouTube / Alfie Deyes

Alfie Deyes is an English vlogger and gamer who started his YouTube channel PointlessBlog in 2009. He has been making videos for over 10 years and his first uploads on his channel were simple, short videos where he spoke directly to his camera. Deyes has also written a book titled “The Pointless Book,” which is an activity book. His other books, “The Pointless Book 2,” “The Pointless Book 3,” and “The Scrapbook of My Life” have also been successful. But many of his fans know him as another YouTuber’s boyfriend.

Alfie Deyes Now

Instagram / Alfie Deyes

As of 2021, Deyes’s main YouTube channel has over 4.8 million subscribers, and many of them are also fans of his girlfriend Zoë Sugg, who also goes by the name Zoella. Although Deyes hasn’t uploaded a video to his main YouTube channel in over a year, he frequently updates his vlog channel and lets his audience know about his life, business endeavors and updates about Zoë’s pregnancy. The couple is expecting their first child in September 2021. 

The Dolan Twins' First Video

YouTube / Dolan Twins

These guys also hopped over to YouTube from Vine. Ethan and Grayson Dolan, who are known online as the Dolan Twins, are a comedy duo who got popular on YouTube in 2014 after amassing over 6 million subscribers on Vine. After growing a YouTube audience, the duo went on a world tour called the 4OU tour in 2016. In 2016 they also won the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Web Star: Male and Choice YouTuber. They also made popular collaboration videos with other content creators like James Charles and Emma Chamberlain. 

The Dolan Twins Now

Instagram / Dolan Twins

Since their breakout years on the platform, the Dolan Twins have continued to remain popular on YouTube. Today they have over 10 million subscribers and 1.8 billion views on their channel. In February 2020, the twins launched a podcast called “Deeper with the Dolan Twins.” And despite having years of success already behind them, they are only 21 years old. Both Ethan and Grayson also have over 2 million followers on their independent TikTok accounts.

JoJo Siwa's First Video

YouTube / JoJo Siwa

JoJo Siwa first rose to fame as a dancer on the reality TV show “Dance Moms” and her first video was posted to YouTube in February of 2015. At just 12 years old, she started to gain a huge audience, so she posted more videos to her channel in her teen years. In May of 2016, she released her first single “Boomerang,” which has been viewed over 900 million times. In just a few short years, she went on tour around North America and that’s just the start of her incredible career. 

JoJo Siwa Now

Instagram / JoJo Siwa

JoJo Siwa now has over 12 million subscribers on YouTube and she has been listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world as of 2020. Her likeness has been put on products such as hair bows, accessories, books, bedroom decor and dolls, making a successful business out of her signature style. In 2021, Siwa revealed on social media that she identified as gay, stating that she was in a relationship with her girlfriend Kylie, an announcement which was met with praise from fans. 

Casey Neistat's First Video

YouTube / Casey Neistat

Casey Neistat gained popularity on YouTube with his eclectic traveling videos, but he posted his first YouTube video in 2010 to talk about the dangerous conditions of the New York City Subway system. It was only a few short years after that he started posting daily vlogs documenting his life, and his following started to surge. He also gained online popularity after posting a video of his grandmother, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette dancer, making her “world’s famous French toast,” which helped raise money for cancer research-related charities.

Casey Neistat Now

YouTube / Casey Neistat

Recently, Neistat has also become a businessman, creating the multimedia company Berne, which was later acquired by CNN and founding 368, a creative space for collaboration in 2018. As of 2020, his channel has over 12 million subscribers, and although he no longer daily vlogs and no longer lives in NYC, his videos remain an interesting look into the life of a creative person who loves technology.

Tati Westbrook's First Video

YouTube / Tati Westbrook

Tati Westbrook is a very successful beauty YouTuber, who began her content making journey primarily reviewing makeup products. She started her channel in 2010 after having a career as an image consultant and by 2016, she had amassed over one million subscribers. But, Tati’s first videos look a lot different than her new content, so she has set most of them to private. Although most of her older videos have been taken down from her channel, Westbrook doesn’t shy away from showing her fans her fashion faux pas from the past. 

Tati Westbrook Now

YouTube / Tati Westbrook

Tati Westbrook has since created her own eyeshadow pallet and a beauty company called Halo, which sells vitamin supplements. She has also reached over 8 million subscribers on YouTube, although she once had over 10 million. But she may be most known for her 2019 videos about fellow beauty YouTuber James Charles, and the feud that followed her videos on the topic. Since June of 2020, Westbrook has taken a break from all social media, which may be due to a lawsuit surrounding her Halo Beauty company, but she returned with a new video in June of 2021.

Bunny Meyer's First Video

YouTube / grav3yardgirl

Since Bunny Meyer aka Grav3yardgirl’s start on YouTube in December 2010, she has amassed over 8 million subscribers and 1.5 billion video views. Her original videos, which are still up on YouTube, were mostly about Meyer’s paranormal experiences and trips to graveyards. And while she still has a strong love for all things spooky, her content has really changed a lot through the years.

Bunny Meyer Now

Instagram / grav3yardgirl

Some of the content that Meyer is best known for now include her series “Does This Thing Really Work?” in which she tests out As Seen On TV products and other strange items. She also released a makeup collection with Tarte cosmetics in 2016, which included an eyeshadow palette and two lipstick shades. Although she struggled to keep her audience at some points in her YouTube career, which she discussed on a 2018 collab with Shane Dawson, Bunny has always managed to keep her loyal fanbase watching.

KSI's First Video

YouTube / KSI

KSI started out on YouTube in 2009 as a gamer, usually uploading clips of himself playing the “FIFA” game series. His first video, which depicted the video game “Modern Warfare 2” was published in January of 2010. KSI was one of the first people on the platform to make a name for themselves by uploading gaming content. Within a few years his fanbase grew immensely and he dropped out of school to focus on YouTube after finding out that he was already making more money making videos than his teacher earned. 


YouTube / KSI

KSI, like many other YouTubers, is now a boxer as well and he has also dipped his toes in music, releasing a few rap songs. He even fought against Logan Paul in a match and came out victorious. His following on YouTube has also continued to grow and he now has over 23 million followers on his main channel and over 8 billion views on all of his channels combined. He has also donated to several charities during his career and has participated in “Comic Relief,” “Children in Need” and “Stand Up To Cancer” shows for charity.

Jeffree Star's First Video

YouTube / Jeffree Star

Jeffree Star uploaded his first YouTube video in 2009, and before this, he was well known on the social media site MySpace as a musician, having released his first EP in 2007 and his first full length album “Beauty Killer” in 2009. But the Jeffree Star that everyone knows as a beauty guru reached 17 million subscribers in 2020 and in 2018, Star was the fifth highest earning YouTuber on the platform, making $18 million from his videos alone.

Jeffree Star Now

Instagram / Jeffree Star

Jeffree Star recently returned to YouTube after a lengthy hiatus to give his fans an update about his life, which included the fact that he was moving out of California to live full time in Wyoming. Although he was known as the king of YouTube drama in the past, he seems to have turned over a new leaf to focus more on his businesses and personal life. And after his vocal beef with other creators like Tati Westbrook and James Charles, everyone is more than happy to close that chapter of their lives. 

James Charles's First Video

YouTube / JaysCoding

James Charles started posting on Youtube long before he became popular for the beauty content that helped him rise to stardom. Charles actually began his YouTube career in 2010 with his channel JaysCoding, an account where he posted videos showing himself gaming and performing song covers. Charles started a second channel in 2015 where he started posting makeup tutorials that got him international attention and he became a spokesperson for the brand Covergirl in 2016.

James Charles Now

YouTube / James Charles

In recent years, James Charles’ fame has been overshadowed by his frequent questionable behavior. He has often posted apology videos owning up to his problematic behavior and as of a scandal that surfaced in April of 2021, he has not posted any new Youtube videos. But his channel is still holding strong at 25 million subscribers, so fans think he will return to the platform soon.

Jake Paul's First Video

Vine / Jake Paul

Jake Paul is an actor and influencer who initially rose to fame on the short-form video platform Vine, before he got his big break playing Dirk Mann on the Disney Channel series “Bizaardvark.” Paul was fired from the role after public complaints from his neighbors were filed about Paul’s excessive partying. Paul then focused on his YouTube channel, which would prove to be a good business choice for him, but it also lead him to many, many other controversies, including a fake marriage to fellow YouTuber Tana Mongeau. 

Jake Paul Now

Instagram / Jake Paul

Jake Paul currently has 20 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, where he posts vlogs, music videos and challenges. He has also recently become a boxer, fighting athletes such as Ben Askren and Nate Robinson. Jake’s brother Logan has also become a boxer in recent years, and that’s not the only thing that the famous brothers have in common. The Paul brothers have both been the subject of a lot of controversy, including Jake’s allegations of assault, having large parties during the 2020 pandemic and riding a motorized vehicle on a Puerto Rican beach, which harmed many sea turtles.