When I Interviewed Connor Franta
This article was first posted on the Glamour magazine website.
Connor Franta is one of the world’s newest type of celebrity. Like most twenty-somethings he socialises, works and spends most of his days on the Internet but the difference is that this is his full time job: being Connor Franta. We were lucky enough to catch up with Connor in between his whirlwird schedule as he embarks on his very first book tour, and we must say, the book is very relatable indeed…..
So are you good friends with a lot of the UK Youtubers?
Yeah! I’ve already seen Marcus (Butler) and Niomi (Smart) then Tanya (Burr) and Jim (Chapman), probably going to see Dan and Phil (@danisnotonfire) tonight.
You’re writing books, going on TV, travelling loads… do you find it all quite crazy?
Yes, this year especially. Things keep coming my way. It’s been great. Each thing is still very very special and I’m blessed to have them happening.
What’s the hardest thing about being Internet famous?
The hardest bit is being so interactive 24/7 and being so open 24/7 and accessible 24/7. It’s a weird thing to get used to, a lot of my friends are like “I don’t know how you do that” and sometimes I don’t know how I do it either, but it’s kind of become normalised to me and I don’t know how not to do it now.
Oh yes, over-sharing seems pretty normal now. So how have you found the book-writing process overall?
Oh, it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. YouTube is so quick and so instant and you make a video and you can upload it the same day, whereas with a book you have to go through a lot of time and a lot of people and a lot of processes. So it was weird to sit down and work with other people on projects because I’m so independent with YouTube.
Was it hard keeping it a secret from your viewers?
Yeah, that was the other thing I found difficult!
What are your YouTube viewers like in real life?
It’s interesting because I’ve been to the US then to Australia then to the UK for a book tour, so it’s interesting to see how different people act culturally, but in general I guess it’s anyone from like a 13 to 24 year old, usually girls and actually a lot more boys then I realised – everyone’s pretty sweet – kind of emotional, but just generally really really sweet. And it’s just so nice to put a face to like the view-count.
That’s so nice. One of your most popular videos is called “Coming Out”, and there’s a chapter about sexuality in the book. Do you have a lot of people who resonate with that video coming to meet you in person as well?
Yeah, it’s an emotional thing for them obviously but also for me, when people come up and tell me that that specific video or a chapter helped them. It’s hard for me as an emotional person to not tear up with them, when they’re telling me. It’s really nice to know a video or a chapter can really make such a difference and effect someone in such a positive way.
I love your chapter titles.
Yeah, they’re like something that I would tweet! Ha.
There’s a chapter called ‘A person worth ignoring your phone for’. Do you think we are all a bit too over-connected?
Yeah, I do. I think it’s kind of a scary time we’re getting into – like when you’re hanging out with people they’d rather be on the phone than talk to you. I’m hoping something in that chapter can help some people realise they can put down their phone, nothing’s going to happen. You don’t have to be on it 24/7! When you’re with real people you don’t have to be with virtual people.
I think a lot of people will appreciate that advice! Your introduction touches on that annoying question ‘so what do you do?’ Tell me more about that.
When you go to a reunion and people ask “sooo what are you doing now? What’s up in your life? What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” It’s always very much those questions. For someone in an alternative job, an alternative lifestyle, it’s very hard to explain what I do. So I sometimes try and dumb it down as much as possible so I’m changing what I do everytime! So sometimes I’m in an Uber and they ask so what do you do and I say “I’m a comedian” or “I’m a graphic designer”.
Your community is really positive but do you ever have down days, or a bad comment?
Yeah. You have to just try to be comfortable with yourself and not let it affect you. Especially with the thousands of comments I get there’s so many more positive than negative ones so to actually let the negative ones effect you is really ridiculous and I have to remind myself of that sometimes. so in general it doesn’t usually affect me much.
So my last question, what’s the one piece of advice you would pass on to anyone wanting to have a similar job?
I guess just that you need to do what you want to do with your life and not hold yourself back cos the worst thing you can do is find yourself being an accountant one day then realising “I hate numbers!” Just do the things you like and be the person you want to be. At the end of the day life is very short and goes by very quickly so you want to be as happy with what you’re doing as possible.
A Work in Progress (Simon & Schuster £9.99) by Connor Franta is out now, and available in all good bookshops and online.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic