It’s the age of travel influencers, and the rest of us are just walking through it. Even during a period of confinement, expatriate influencers (in particular, “French influencers”), have reported increased engagement as people flock to their content to vicariously live through a filtered and perfect fantasy.
But there is another breed of influencers that is gaining traction, the one that aims to pull the curtain off Clarendon: the expat YouTuber. Far from staged and airbrushed perfection, they’re here to show you that life abroad is no picnic, and they’ve racked up tens of thousands of subscribers sharing the tiniest details of french life.
“I don’t think there are a ton of people who really talk about what real life is like in Paris, and I think people now more than ever really want to know what real life is like in Paris. other countries, because over there are these beautiful movies and shows about different countries and cities, but what is life really like when you are a foreigner living there? ” Explain Tiffanie Davis, who started making videos in December 2019 after moving to France for an MBA and then working in the luxury beauty industry. “I think Paris has that stigma of being the dream… it’s not always fairy tales and roses and beautiful French men.”
The Boston native quickly started gaining followers with videos exploring everything from practice (break down the cost of living in Paris), to staff (how to get evicted from his apartment in Paris). Daily videos make up a good portion of his content, but so do specific segments, often based on comments on his videos or personal experience. “I’ve been through so much and I feel like a lot of people could benefit from what I personally have to say about Paris,” she says. Representation is a big deal for her too, with several of her videos unpacking stereotypes about diversity in France, or practical advice for black expats. “In the media, we don’t often see black Americans in Paris, we kind of see the movies built around a certain type of person coming to Paris, so I wanted to break that mold.”
Rosie McCarthy, who grew up in the New Zealand countryside, found her way to Paris in a somewhat similar fashion. She followed her present-day husband, a Frenchman, to Paris, where she attended business school and worked for L’Oréal before launching the chain. Not even french. His observation videos on language (i.e. French words difficult to pronounce), culture (as a “French regime” 30 days diet), and lifestyle (what it is like to get married in France), proved to be so popular that she continued to create content about expat life even after returning to New Zealand in 2019. “I thought I would lose half of my subscribers, but 99% stayed”, she remembers. “I realized that I still had a good part of 6 years of experiences to share and build on, that I still had a French husband and that I still (before COVID) had planned to spend 1 to 2 months in France every year Besides, I’m still a rabid Francophile!
Its audience is predominantly in their twenties and thirties, based 35% in France and 20% in the USA, a mix of expatriates based in France, people in contact with French people, Francophiles and French people who, says- she, “love to hear how they are viewed and debate my points in the comments!” Rosie takes an almost psychological approach to her videos, her most successful ones focusing on “interesting features and quirks of the French”, allowing viewers to “watch people” by proxy.
Being successful and staying on YouTube is not an easy job, especially when you do it at the same time. “YouTube alone is a full-time job,” says Tiffanie. “From start to finish, we probably have an average of 10 hours to create, market and interact with a basic video,” says Rosie, who “bundles” the videos into four at a time to optimize her time while developing his business, Badass careers.
For Damon dominique, travel vlogging has always been the biggest buzz. “I always knew that I wanted to do something in design, travel, culture and entertainment… and also be my own boss. What does all this amount to? To be lucky enough to be born in the Internet age. All my life, I wanted to be a travel host, but I never found the show that was talking for me, ”he says, explaining that instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, he decided to do the show he wanted to watch.
Born and raised in Indiana, Damon met his frequent collaborator Jo Franco at New York University, and the two started the channel. Damon and Jo, where they looked at linguistics and inexpensive travel advice. Now that he’s semi-permanently based in Paris (“I don’t focus too much on saying where I live, because before Covid I was never anywhere for that long, and that’s like that which I always imagined living. ”), and Jo lives in LA, he focused on the curation of his solo page (as well as, more recently, the launch his own French course in line).
Videos vary in length, location, and content, with some being crafted almost as if they are half-hour travel shows that you could watch on cable … with a classic Damon twist, of course. . But there’s also a lot of attention to her adopted hometown, both in a laid-back style. “Conversations about red wine” with friends, rants on the French bureaucracy, Where curious frolics around Paris. Above all, his style is based on an irresistible combination of humor and straightforward honesty. “I think people enjoy watching some of my videos because it’s heartwarming to know that even though you live in one of the biggest cities in the world, the struggle is real… no matter where you are – and even when. you are not wrestling-wrestling (I live in a beautiful neighborhood, with my dream job), you still struggle in some ways. I think it’s heartwarming for people not to revel in your misery, but to know that no matter how close you are to your so called dream life, there will always be something that doesn’t work. not really. It’s not disheartening, it’s empowering.
That seems to be the common thread running through all of these different channels. While much of the content we see on social media is deliberately exclusionary, erecting a wall between influencer and follower, these expat YouTubers are reaching out across the screen in an attempt to attract viewers to the screen. ‘other side. They say, yes it’s hard but if i can do it so can you.
“I really wanted to help recent or future expats in France to learn from my mistakes,” says Rosie. “I often mentally come back to my experiences and I am inspired [to make videos] by things that I would have liked to know at the time. Tiffanie says many viewers thanked her for giving them the courage and information they needed to finally move overseas. Recently, she even published an online course on plan your move abroad, and hopes to launch more products this summer.
In addition to YouTube, Damon, Tiffanie, and Rosie use various platforms to connect with their fans. Tiffanie has found Clubhouse to be an effective way to interact directly with followers, Rosie uses Instagram polls to get feedback, and Damon uses Instagram Stories to share information that doesn’t make “the highlight”. But YouTube will always be at home. “I’m a storyteller at heart,” Damon said, “and I haven’t figured out a way to tell a whole story in five seconds yet… and I don’t know if I ever will.”
The selected image: Photo bank by Shutterstock / Wachiwit