Jamie Curry, an 18-year-old blogger from Hawke’s Bay, is quite possibly New Zealand’s most famous teenager. She’s quite possibly among New Zealand’s most famous exports, full stop.
I started off by just posting videos that I thought were funny… people will come and they will notice if they find something of themselves in you.
Her Facebook page has more than ten million fans. Even Lorde doesn’t have anywhere near that many. Jamie’s Twitter feed is followed by 360,000 people while 1.3 million viewers subscribe to her YouTube channel. That’s some serious adoration. I ask her if she ever stops to think about that or ever feels overwhelmed.
“If I really think about it, it’s like, wow, that’s really cool,” says the internet sensation. “But most of the time I’m just hanging out at my house or with my friends and it doesn’t really make such a difference to my life. It’s not like I have ten million people actually following me around.”
How do your friends feel about your fame?
“Mostly they all think it’s really cool but, when we’re out and people come up to me for photos, they’re like, ‘Jamie, we can’t hang around with you any more!’ My school was so small, only 300 students, so everyone knew me before so it didn’t really make too much difference to the way that I was treated.”
It has taken Jamie just a couple of years to amass the millions of fans and followers. Her video blogs are inspired by “stuff that happens in real life” with Jamie managing to put a humorous twist on the everyday mundane. She has fans on just about every continent, has appeared in one of Massad’s music videos and, earlier this year, was nominated for ‘Favourite Aussie/Kiwi Internet Sensation’ at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in the United States. I caught up with her upon her return from a South-east Asian tour. When Jamie left, security had to hold back dozens of screaming girls at the airport and she was recognised even on the streets of Bangkok. “It was such a great trip and a whole new experience, which was really cool,” says the teenager. “We saw a lot of tourist attractions and attended a cooking class where I learned to make some traditional curries, which I can’t remember the names of. It was my first time cooking that kind of stuff; I usually just make spag bol or nachos or whatever.” Jamie’s childhood dreams of acting just may be coming into fruition too, her YouTube videos providing the perfect platform. There are things in the pipeline but they’re “super top secret.”
The key to online success, says Jamie, is always to be yourself. “I started off by just posting videos that I thought were funny,” she adds. “People will come and they will notice if they find something of themselves in you.” But with internet fame comes the inevitable online attacks. “Of course it affects you if people call you ugly or tell you that you suck or whatever,” says Jamie. “But for every negative comment there are 100 positive ones and those are what I focus on.”
Words: Jamie Christian Desplaces