In the past year, Tyler Oakley — the massively popular YouTube personality with nearly 8 million subscribers — has expanded his media empire to include the New York Times best-selling book Binge and a documentary, Snervous (out Dec. 11), which follows him on a national stage tour. EW spoke with the 26-year-old about the film, his insane 2015, and what’s next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve made a career documenting your life online. Did you have concerns going into this film?
TYLER OAKLEY: I was intimidated by the idea of handing over control. [Director] Amy Rice did an incredible job of finding angles that I wouldn’t have necessarily put out to the world. For the first time in eight years, it’s me handing over the car keys and saying, “I trust you.” At the same time, it was exciting because it was very fly on the wall. There were moments when I got very conscious that the cameras were on. I was happy that the cameras kept going because there were many times when I was like, “Nothing is happening right now. I’m not in the mood right now.” I was thankful that I appreciated and respected Amy enough to just trust what she was doing. It’s her world, not mine. I was so grateful for everything she did and that we did what we had to do.
That’s tough when your brand is based entirely on your personality.
For any YouTuber, if you’re too nervous to have somebody else document, it may be that what you’re putting out there isn’t authentic. There were plenty of times I was like, “Do we have to film this? I’m not in the mood.” I knew there’d be unflattering moments, but I’m happy that the cameras kept going. Personality-wise, it’s who I am. There are going to be moments where it’s leaving my comfort zone, but the podcast and the book prepared me for that. It was something that I don’t know if I would have been comfortable with eight years ago.
Other than video views, how do you measure your success as you move beyond YouTube?
I’m trying to figure out what it means to take care of myself. I’m enjoying what I’m putting out there, but also making sure I’m at my healthiest so I can deliver my best self. When you have to put it all out there, if you’re not taking care of yourself it shows, and people can feel that.
What’s on tap for 2016?
Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had my year mapped out. I knew what was coming between the tour and the book and the book tour and the doc. I don’t have plans for 2016, and that feels so good. [Shortly after we spoke to Oakley, it was announced that he will appear on season 28 of The Amazing Race.]
May we recommend a nap?
A nap would be good.
You can see a preview of Snervous above.