This story is part of 30 Under 30.
Grace Mandeville is a popular YouTube vlogger, as well as an actor, model and blogger. However, Grace says she just spends her whole life on Twitter!
As part of 30 Under 30 she talks to us about making videos, attitudes and her top tips for getting started on YouTube.
How I started doing YouTube videos
I was going for an audition and I was talking to some of the other people in there and they were like ‘Oh I have a show reel on YouTube’. Suddenly I thought, with acting you have to wait for someone to say ‘yes you can have this role’ and tell you what to do, but with YouTube you can just do it yourself, there’s no waiting.
I was born with what’s called a foreshortened limb. I just say I’ve got one hand – my arm ends just below the elbow. I found it really easy breaking into YouTube as a disabled person. I didn’t talk about my arm for quite a long time, just because I didn’t think it was an important thing to mention. It doesn’t define me. But then I did a collab with another YouTuber and there was loads of horrible comments about my arm on their video. That’s what upset me more – I didn’t think it was fair to them.
So I did a video and started talking about it. My audience has been really accepting and if that means that 75,000 people in the world have changed their attitudes towards it, then I’m happy with that!
I’ve had a few negative comments online. I did a video called ‘I have one hand’ and started it by making a joke saying my sister flushed it down the toilet, then I end up telling them the truth. I got a few people commenting saying ‘it’s all good, in a few years’ time you’ll be able to hide that and make your arm look normal again with the prosthetics that are being built these days.’ And I was like ‘no, did you not watch the video? I just said ‘I’m happy the way I am and I don’t want to change it.’ So they’re not exactly trolls but those are the comments that get to me. They obviously still don’t get what I’m trying to say.
There can be negative attitudes in the TV world too. Not necessarily from actors but more like casting directors. There are a lot of auditions that I go for, where I turn up and they’re just looking for disabled people which is cool because I think it’s a step in the right direction and they need to include more diversity, but I want to go for parts because of my acting not because I have one hand. And that’s a big thing that I want to change so badly. For people to focus on the skills. Basically – just give me a good acting job!
There are very few disabled people on YouTube so I encourage it as much as possible. Even though I’m one of the few people doing it, I don’t see myself as a role model at all. What a lovely thing though. I do get nice messages from young disabled people. Especially on YouTube because I think it’s such an accessible way to connect people and on Twitter as well.
My top tips for breaking into YouTube
Talk about something you’re interested in
Don’t just talk about make-up because you think that’s a cool think to talk about. I couldn’t talk about make-up but I love watching the videos. Which is why we do comedy.
Don’t make them too long
Make your videos short and be concise. They can always watch more of your videos if they want more of you, but you don’t want them to lose interest.
If you want your channel to grow, be topical. We did a sketch on Valentine’s Day that was about Valentine’s Day. So you can tweet it out on Valentine’s Day and everyone that’s interested in Valentine’s Day will watch your video. You don’t always have to be topical but it is good.
Get people involved
Make videos with people you want to make videos. I make them with my sister. Even if they annoy you, they might be better on camera than you!
Go for it
The great thing about it is you don’t need anyone’s permission – apart from your parents if you’re young. So you should just do it. I really wish that I did it like three years before I actually started it!
Grace joins us for a Facebook Live session at 4pm on Friday 17 June.
She is sharing her story as part of 30 Under 30. We are releasing one story a day throughout June from disabled people under 30 who are doing extraordinary things. Keep up to date with all of our new stories on our 30 under 30 page.
To see more from Grace, follow her on Twitter.