First Draft, Ep. 102: Arden Rose - Transcript
Date: April 4, 2017
The original post for this episode can be found here.
[Theme music plays]
[Background sound of distant waves and seagulls, and the thump of bass from someone’s music playing.]
Sarah ENNI: I sometimes confess to my friends, that my life right now is way cooler than I would have ever imagined it could be, when I was in middle school. It’s a really nice thing to be able to say. And when I head over to Arden Rose’s place, not far from the beach, I wonder if it’s the same for her? Living in Santa Monica, working as an actress, publishing a book of funny stories and practical advice for young adults. Could the fourteen-year-old Arden, in Little Rock, Arkansas, who started a You Tube channel to escape the closed circuit feeling of her daily life, have imagined all this? Arden was kind enough to invite me over to her place to discuss what got her here, and to get to know each other.
It’s kind of funny to say you don’t know Arden, because she’s been broadcasting her life to the internet for nearly a decade. On her You Tube channel, Arden talks about everything. Makeup and clothes, yes. But also, sex, feminism, her compulsive disorder, paying bills, and her boyfriends – past and present. But of course, knowing someone online – knowing the person they craft, curate and distribute – isn’t the same as getting to sit down and hear them in conversation. Get a sense of their world view, how they think. And, even then, after an hour of talking, what do we really know? These are things I think about a lot. And I was so pleased to hear that Arden’s been thinking about them too. Turns out, she and I have a lot of the same things on our mind. And I really loved hearing her thoughts. I think you will too. So, shut down Final Cup Pro, put on a giant pair of sunglasses and sandals, and enjoy the conversation.
ENNI: So, how are you?
Arden ROSE: I’m great! I’ve had a good week. Book came out. Things are going well.
ENNI: That’s exciting! So, for my interviews, I like to go right to the beginning, which is where you were born and raised?
ROSE: Get in it! I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas.
ENNI: Um, so, Arkansas, which is not something that a lot of people who live out here now, can relate to.
ROSE: No. Not at all. Yeah. I have one person that I’ve met, that I work with pretty regularly, who is an assistant to a producer that I’m friends with. She’s from Arkansas. So, anytime I see her I’m like, “Hey A.R.! Whatup?” [Both laughing]
ENNI: I want to hear about growing up in Arkansas, and obviously, it sounds like… my guess is that you were looking outside.
ROSE: Yes. Oh totally, yeah. I get where you’re going with that. It’s a small-town feel. I’m from Little Rock, so you know everyone. It’s a bit more metropolitan city than, say, Texarkana, or some smaller city that’s on the fringe of the state. So, it’s not totally podunk, but it is so landlocked that you’re like, “It would be great to be somewhere else.” You have to take two flights to get anywhere. That’s one thing that I find maybe the most irritating thing in the entire world. I’m like, “I just want to take a direct flight somewhere! Please?”
ENNI: “Regional planes are killing me!”
ROSE: “Please? Please!” But anyway, it was a lot of like, “I am going to end up somewhere else.” I never thought, “I’m gonna stay in Arkansas, and be satisfied with that.” I was always looking out to either the West Coast, or the East Coast. I really wanted to move to New York when I was younger. My goal was to go to NYU. I really wanted to go to NYU when I was probably sixteen or seventeen. And then I was like, “Oh! I’m doing all this work in the West Coast. Why would I do that?”
ENNI: Work for acting?
ROSE: Yeah, it was Awesomeness TV, actually. They kind of bumped me up and would fly me out there, and pay me a small fee on the weekends to do sketch comedy for them. Or do this show called IMO, which was a teen talk show online. Super cool beginnings. They would fly me out there all the time, and I always enjoyed it so much. And, I actually stayed in Santa Monica, right up the road. Really close to where I live now. It was crazy. I was seventeen at the time, and I was just like, “That’s where I need to be. That sounds way more fun than what I’m doing.”
ENNI: So, I want to hear… because obviously, all of this is gonna be talking about your book. But, I want to hear about books, and whether or not books were a big part of growing up?
ROSE: Oh yeah, for sure. I think, when I was younger - I was actually talking to my mom about this, this weekend - I used to love encyclopedias. I’ve always been a huge non-fiction reader. Because I always found animals were more interesting than anything I could read in fiction. The real world is so fascinating that you don’t even need to look at fiction to be satisfied in any way. So, I would have these old-school - like from the forties, cause my mom is a total vintage nerd. She loves everything kitschy and vintage - she had these old, freshwater fish encyclopedias. Apparently, I turned one of them… it was a pocket guide. It was about this big, which for listeners, I think is about six by six inches. Let’s say that’s a valid size, which it isn’t. Four by six? That works better. It was a small booklet, just on freshwater fish from Arkansas. There’s no reason for that to be interesting. No reason for that to be interesting, but it had great illustrations. It was when they did the well, hand-drawn, beautiful fish. There wasn’t any photography. It was all hand drawn and beautiful. And I was debaucherous with that book. I put stickers all in it. I ruined it. I wrote notes in the margins. I’m like five years old at this time. Obsessed with this fish encyclopedia book.
ENNI: [Laughing] That’s amazing!
ROSE: Yeah. It was like my security blanket. I would take it with me to restaurants and stuff. That was my thing. So, I started off liking books in a way that was different than probably most people liked books.
ENNI: That’s really interesting. There’s almost a diary aspect to that.
ROSE: Yeah! Where I would doodle in it. But I also think I liked having this information. I was always the kid that, like, I asked for a cat encyclopedia when I was ten, for Christmas. Because I wanted to know about all the different species of cats. This was right on the cusp of when Google was even a thing. So, I was learning all of this, and then obviously, looking it up later. And then, as I got older, I was like, “I don’t need all these encyclopedias.”
ENNI: “I don’t need to own encyclopedias.”
ROSE: “I don’t need these! Why do I have them?”
ENNI: I can relate to when you are raised in a house with books like that, that’s just always the comfort level. Like, “How do I believe it, if it’s not with ink?”
ROSE: Yes, exactly! I’m like, “This is my truth. How would I know if anything is real, if this is not my truth?” So, I had a lot of that. And also, my dad… who was such a cool guy growing up. Same with my mom. My mom was dope too. My dad always loved reading with us. So, before we would go to bed, he did read the Dr. Seuss’s when we were younger. But when we were old enough – six or seven – we would start reading the REDWALL books, or Tolkien. We were all about that fantasy world, and that was always so fun. That was where I learned to love fiction and see a narrative in a book, in my imagination. Where I had been more of a nonfiction person, up to that point. Of my six years of life!
ENNI: Well hey. But that’s interesting that that is what you were drawn to.
ROSE: And also, I think I liked just having this random knowledge. I was that little girl that loved to tell you about a fresh water piranha, that had a certain type of scale, that was really interesting because of this, or whatever. I was one of those kids who was very extroverted, and down to talk about anything. So, when I was younger books were really important. They were definitely around our home all of the time. My grandparents were big academics. My grandfather was in the symphony, and my grandmother was a bit of a “taste maker.” She’s very kitschy. She was one of those grandmoms who wanted you to call her “Grand-Mère” [says with slightly hoity-toity French accent]. Even though she lives in Arkansas.
She’s really cute, but she was always also like, “Read. Write. Do the arts. Do the thing. Be educated.” It was always a good thing. So, books just have a really homey, comforting quality to them. When I’m stressed out, books are great for me. Because I can focus in on something.
ENNI: That’s the other part that I wanted to get to. It sounds like they were very real ways for you to escape.
ROSE: Oh yeah. Definitely. Books were a huge way of escaping for me.
ENNI: Especially if you jumped right into fantasy, too, when you got to fiction.
ROSE: Oh yeah. Dove right into Tolkien. Dove right into C.S. Lewis. I loved everything Narnia when I was younger. So, I loved all of that. I also loved the Eragon Series. I don’t know if you ever read those?
ENNI: Oh, the dragon?
ROSE: Yes, yes, yes. The dragon books. I read those when I was sixteen, or seventeen. And it was a writer that was sixteen, or seventeen when he made his first novel. I found that so amazing. I was like: “He’s so young. And he’s making these amazing books. And I love it.” And it had a great love story. It was still fantasy, but I remember reading the book. And then, once it was done, I would still have this narrative of what’s happening with those characters, just in my everyday life. It’s such a big form of escapism for me. And even now, I’m reading a nonfiction book that’s about an Israeli psychologist. That’s a bit more in-depth and heavy, but it’s still escapism for me. Because I don’t think about anything when I’m reading that. You have to concentrate so hard on what’s going on.
ENNI: It’s really helpful. I do find mono-tasking now, right?
ENNI: Where the world that we live in is so crazy, that every once in a while, you’re like, “Oh my gosh. I can just spend an hour doing one thing. What a delight.”
ROSE: Yeah. I don’t have to check anything, or do whatever. I don’t even like the TV on. I know a lot of people like background noise, but I’m like, “Silence. And my book.”
ENNI: Exactly. Okay, and the reason I am asking about the escapism, is that you started making videos when you were fourteen. Is that right?
ROSE: Oh yeah. I was really young.
ENNI: That’s super young, and it’s very interesting to me because that’s the age at which a lot of my friends started writing books, to find this escape. Writing books is very introverted and quiet, but it is also this output.
ROSE: It’s a creative outlet.
ENNI: Exactly. But you went a different way. I’m curious about how that medium came [about]. What was the pull to it? Were you already watching tons of You Tube videos?
ROSE: At fourteen-years-old, you’re starting to learn about femininity and gender roles, as far as makeup and fashion, and all of that goes. And I found a lot of my knowledge about that on You Tube. My mom, who is so wonderful, and a lovely lady, she’s such a great feminist role model. Because she was the mom that was like: “Oh, you want to wear overalls, and play with GI Joe toys? Have fun! Go do that.” But as I got older, I didn’t know how to be a cute girl. I didn’t know what that was. Which was a great thing, because I loved my childhood; so free and happy. When I got to thirteen and fourteen, I was seeing all these girls around me, in school, looking a lot better than I did, probably, at the time. Because I did let mom chop my own hair off, into a really cute Willy Wonka bob.
ENNI: Oh, my god! [laughing]
ROSE: It’s a bad look. It was a really bad look. But I’ve erased it now. It’s probably the most unattractive phase of my life, so at least I can get past it.
ENNI: Yes. Everyone’s got to have the bottom, you know?
ROSE: Yes! My trough is really great. It’s a great trough. But it kind of spurred me to look at stuff online. I wasn’t the best at being honest, or finding great friends in school. And by honest I mean I wasn’t very open with my private self. I wouldn’t go out to a girl and be like: “Hey! How’d you do your eyeliner? I’d love to know. What’s up with your eyes? I’d love to see that. How’d you do that?” I wanted to privately figure out what was going on. I think a lot of girls go through that, which is why You Tube is helpful. And that’s why I feel You Tube has a huge responsibility in educating young girls. Because that’s where I found my first foray into femininity.
I started doing random You Tube stuff. A friend of mine also watched a lot of You Tubers, and so we started making channels together. And when she moved to Texas, she stopped doing her channel. Because her dad, understandably, didn’t think it was a very healthy thing to do. Or, a very private thing to do. At the time, this is right on the cusp of people being like: “Strangers on the internet want to kill you! Rape you!” So, that was the thought in everyone’s head. And my parents were the first to be like: “Umm, I doubt it. I don’t think they’re down for that. She’s fourteen, and she’s a goof. No one’s trying to be predatory towards her. She’s fine.”
ENNI: To what degree were your parents involved? Did you go talk to them? Like, “I think I’m gonna do this.”
ROSE: I told them after I made the channel. I had made one video, and I had put it up… or maybe I was thinking about it. And I went to my dad, because my dad was the only guy in our house that had a web cam on his computer. So, I was like, “Can I use your laptop?” And he was like, “Why do you need my laptop?” And I was like [lowers voice, as if expecting trouble], “Cause I want to make a You Tube video.”
So, he was very supportive from the get-go. My parents are both such supportive people. They’ve been like, “Go. Do whatever you need to do.” When I was fourteen-years-old, they were letting me post videos. Which could seem irresponsible, but in every other aspect, they were very careful with us.
ENNI: I think it’s interesting. I think about this a lot. Because talking to creative people, there’s a million different ways that kids, at exactly that age, are like, “How do I…”
ROSE: Figure it out?
ENNI: There’s this urge, this compulsion, to get something out. And whatever the medium is, people find all kinds of weird ways. Skateboarding videos. There’s a ton of different ways. People are like, “I feel this need to express myself.” And to the degree to which parents are like, “It’s only gonna make it worse if I try to button this up.” It’s a really great thing.
ROSE: My boyfriend, he played first person shooter video games. And his outlet was, that he would make really, really, well edited recap videos of his games. And then he would animate over them.
ENNI: Ooh, that’s cool!
ROSE: And now he’s a film maker. And he loves doing editing. He loves editing things. He loves animating things. And so, it’s like, without even realizing it, he was doing something that was so instrumental in his career forward. Similar to what I did. Where you just make these baby steps, that your mind wanted you to make, based on how creative you are.
ENNI: It’s very weird how it’s baked in.
ROSE: Yeah it is! It’s like that age… you’re like: “I gotta figure it out. I gotta do something to get this out, cause otherwise, I’m gonna go crazy!” Which, I think, it’s why we should just let kids that age, do what they gotta do.
ENNI: I’m thirty-one, so there’s not a huge gap between us, but technologically… yeah. A lot. So, when I was in school, I felt super similar to you. My mom was also really chill. One of my memories from when I was ten, or twelve, was my dad being like, “Can you just brush your hair?”
ROSE: [laughing] “Please?”
ENNI: Like: “Just maybe, before you leave, just brush it? Not even part it, or whatever, just brush it?” And I was like [in exasperated tone], “Okay fine.” So, I get to high school, and I did feel like, all of a sudden, everyone had a secret resource to know about this stuff that I had missed. And I felt like that for a long time. And there weren’t really these resources. I tried to read magazines, and it didn’t make sense to me. The videos are so different, and so much easier to understand.
ROSE: Well, it’s real people talking. Rather than these big companies that are making these magazines. That don’t necessarily know what fourteen-year-olds want. But, they’re gonna feed them this weird information, that then results in all of us doing really weird trends.
ROSE: That’s what I’ve learned. Magazines, like Seventeen Magazine, is the main reason I had really whack hair for most of my life! It’s just such a weird thing. But now, you have people online being like: “This is what I like to do, as a normal human being, every day. This is something you can do that is similar to that.”
ENNI: Yeah, “And if my skin tone is similar to yours. I’m not gonna airbrush. This is how I cover up my zits.”
ROSE: Yeah! I think that’s been the greatest thing about You Tube. It’s pulled back the curtain on what people actually look like all the time. And especially in the beauty industry. I can’t tell you how many companies have shifted their focus over to You Tube. Just because of how much people appreciate honesty, and realness in a video.
ENNI: Which is incredible. I was watching a bunch of your videos, and there was one where you were talking about, like, “Just remember that, advertising in the industry, is predicated on you not feeling good about yourself.” And I was like, “No one was telling me that when I was fourteen!”
ROSE: Exactly. And you’re looking at all these things. I remember, I spent so much of my younger years, looking up the height and weight of celebrities. To see what I was supposed to hold as a standard. That was a problem, and issue, that I had for so long.
ENNI: That’s devastating, actually.
ROSE: I know! And, it’s so stupid. I would look up Emma Watson. What’s she looking like today? You know what I mean? Just checking up. And all those numbers, and everything that you see, is all doctored, anyway. None of its true, and all of it is meant to make you feel bad.
ENNI: And all of the heights are lies, by the way.
ROSE: Yeah! All of the heights. I’ve met so many short celebrities. All of the heights are lies. And that’s one thing I wish my younger self had known. It’s like: “You are not lesser than anyone else. You are just being told you are so that people can get you to spend your money.” It’s a disgusting industry in so many ways. The beauty industry. Half of it, now, is marketed like it’s supposed to empower women. And yet, it still has this other evil half, that’s like this bubbling, gross sludge of like: [in an evil tone], “Yooou suuuck in every waaay! Buy our shit, and you’ll feel so much better!” And you never do. You never do.
ENNI: It’s a real interesting thing too, to have real young women using the tools of the industry to subvert the industry. It’s a real interesting thing to watch right now.
ROSE: That’s the crazy part! Now, all these people, it’s almost like they’re individual companies by themselves. I can even consider myself… I technically have a company behind me. And so, I can be like, “Me, as an independent brand, I’m not cool with certain things that are happening.” There was a whole movement, in the past three or four years, of cruelty free makeup. So, no animal testing. And that was a huge thing, that I think, was completely brought on by the internet. The fact that people could look up, and see the harm that was being done to adorable, fluffy animals. They could see that, and go: “I’m not gonna buy that mascara if you’re gonna shove it in a bunny’s eye! I won’t do that, cause I’ve seen the videos now. And I know your company, and I don’t have to anymore.”
ENNI: And, “I’m gonna tell all my friends.”
ROSE: And, “I’m gonna tell all my friends. And tell them to go cruelty free.” It’s things like that. It’s only good movements. And then, things can swing a bit too far, but it’s typically always a good thing.
ENNI: But, I’m also guessing that you didn’t get into the You Tube game to necessarily start a revolution?
ROSE: No I did not.
ENNI: What was the motivation, do you think?
ROSE: I was really lonely when I first went into high school. My best friend had just left. She was moving to Texas, which was really hard for me. I didn’t find a lot of people who watched You Tube, as far as I knew. I feel like I was one of the first girls that really liked watching beauty videos and stuff.
ENNI: You were pretty early on the trend.
ROSE: Yup. It was 2008, or 2009. It was this weird, hidden thing, that I think a lot of girls were watching, but maybe they felt it was a bit weird to watch. And now, it’s like every teenage girl is sitting next to their best friend, watching a You Tube video on their phone. It’s such a different world than where I came from. But I think it’s a great world. I think my main motivation was that I was very lonely, and I was a huge extrovert, and I felt like I had nowhere to get that energy out. And so, the only thing I could think of, was to just talk into the void [both laughing]. And that’s what I did! I talked into the void for such a long time, before anyone watched. But I think it definitely started in a place where, I didn’t feel like I related to a lot of my peers. I felt like I was on the outside fringe of a lot of different friendships, which I think a lot of girls in high school, and guys in high school, feel.
They’re never exactly a part of the group. And even if I had friends at school, I didn’t do much with them outside of that. I liked my private time to be my private time. As I got older, I realized that was a very real thing that I did to myself. I definitely could have been more outgoing, outside of school, but I think I purposefully did not like having people around. And I don’t know what that is, but it was a thing. I think, also, because I was influenced so much by the internet, I had a lot of different views than my peers did. I went to a very religious, Christian school. A very conservative, religious, Christian school. The school that would be like, “Girls don’t show your bra straps because you might make another boy sin,” type of school.
And so, that was the idea that I was raised in, but I was hearing all these feminist ideals. I didn’t recognize, at the time, that it was feminist. But, these ideals on the internet also alienated me from my peers. Because I had these ideas and these thoughts, that weren’t like anyone else at my school. So, I would go into school, have this different persona, and then take the mask off so I could go make You Tube videos. That was just something that I did subconsciously, without even realizing it. I was much more honest on my You Tube videos than I ever was in my real life.
ENNI: Yes! This is what I was gonna ask you about. It’s so interesting to me, that the way that you were creating your identity in high school, which is what we’re all doing in high school, was one person at home—one person on the internet—and one person at school. How did you figure out which person was real?
ROSE: You know? That’s tough. I never felt like I figured that out, until last year. I feel it took me a very long time to suss out which person I was. Because, even in my home life, I did also have those Christian ideals in my home that were different than my online persona… even now. And that’s definitely caused issues in the past, with my family. And it’s only until last year that everything’s been kind of like: “We went through that time. Everything’s cool. We’re accepting people for how we feel, all the time. And not worrying about someone because they have a different feeling about something.” It took me a while to be honest with different people. I wouldn’t tell my parents how I felt about things. I would make up a narrative that I knew they liked. And not necessarily to lie in a sneaky way, but just in a way that made them comfortable. I didn’t want them to feel like they should be worried about me, because I felt differently about something.
And so I wouldn’t tell them what was going on. And I wouldn’t, at school, tell anyone what was going on. Every time I flew out to California, I was so excited to be there, but I would never share any of that information. I just kind of compartmentalized everything.
ENNI: Did people at school know you were doing that?
ROSE: Ooh yeah! And that’s where I gotta give my school credit, cause I never heard a bad word about it, to my face, from anyone. Everyone was always very nice about it. And I was surprised that that’s the way it went down. I think that even if I had gotten ragged on about it, I would have kept doing it. Because I really liked it. You can tell, it was kind of my source of therapy, in a way. Because that’s where I got everything out. I did have a couple of altercations, though. I cracked my pelvis, when I was a cheerleader.
ENNI: Argh! That’s real! Ow…
ROSE: It was awful. It was really awful. I was one of the girls that got thrown up in the air. And when I came down – the whole team was so great, but - I threw fists because I was doing a double down. Which means you twist in the air. And what you have to do, when you’re twisting in the air, is you make your fists go really tight across your body in a corkscrew motion So, you’re moving your arms, your twisting in mid-air, and from someone who’s about to catch you, you just see fists flying. So, you don’t necessarily want to step in and catch that person, cause they might punch you in the face. Because I did punch someone in the face, prior to that. So yeah… actually, my bassist stepped out and my back spot – the person who’s supposed to catch you from the back – kneed me in the hip. She was trying to support me, when I was coming down. She didn’t do it on purpose. No one did it on purpose. But, that happened. And then I was out of commission for two months.
I didn’t see anyone from the cheer squad. I never got a good feeling that they liked me very much to begin with. I think I was kind of the weird girl on the internet, in that situation. So, when I went home, and I was on pain pills, and I felt awful - it was excruciating pain every time I would move - all I could do was make You Tube videos. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t do anything for a month-and-a-half, two months. And I made a You Tube video about what had happened. I was describing why I was out of commission for so long. And in saying it, I had the coach get really angry at me. I had several cheerleaders get very mad at me. I made this video, which is kind of giving my honest depiction of what was going on. And it didn’t paint the people in charge in that great of a light. Because I sat on the mat for six hours before I was taken to the hospital. That was the reason why they were angry. Because I revealed that information. And it was probably something that could have gotten the school in trouble.
ROSE: So, I didn’t recognize that that was even an issue, because I was just telling the honest truth. I didn’t know that there was this political background to this thing.
ENNI: You’re not thinking about liability or legal…
ROSE: No! It’s my You Tube channel. And also, at the time, a You Tube channel was not a business, like it is today. It was like an online diary. It was something you wouldn’t worry about [from] a legal standpoint. You know? It was just one of those things. That was the first time I saw repercussions for what I was doing. My peers disliking me based on what was happening on my You Tube channel. That was the first time I stepped back, and was like, “Oh shit. I gotta sensor myself.”
ENNI: How did that feel? That’s kind of an invasion of this private space, too.
ROSE: It was weird, because I had tricked myself into a false security, thinking: “Everyone likes me. Everyone likes my You Tube channel. I don’t have to worry about what people say about it.” I think I took a break for a week or two after that. I was so shocked, and almost embarrassed, that I had done this thing that caused people to be irritated. When you’re that young, too, you don’t know to go: “Well, screw you! You did something wrong. I’m cool to talk about this, because you did something wrong. You just automatically think I did something wrong. What did I do, in this situation, that was so wrong?” You know?
ENNI: Yeah, well, the reaction you’re getting… I mean, that’s the time when you start realizing like: “Grown-ups don’t necessarily have my best interests at heart.” Or, “They might disagree with something I do, but I need to do it anyway.” But those are really hard lessons to learn. It’s not your first instincts.
ROSE: Yeah. I had to go to that coach, who was so upset, and I apologized. Like, “I’m so sorry for everything I said.” Me, the girl who was laying on a mat for six hours, with a broken pelvis. I apologized. I was just so insecure, and didn’t know who’s was the truth of the situation. So, that was the first time I was like, “Oh, I gotta take this a bit more seriously.”
ENNI: I’ll say, in my example, this podcast. People listen to it. And I know that, really. But I don’t. When people are like, “Oh, when you said this on…” And I’m like: “Oh. Wait. What?”
ROSE: “You remember that? You saw that?”
ENNI: I’m like, “Hang on a second.” I put something out there, and I feel so gratified when people talk about it, but it’s all this hypothetical thing, until, in real life, someone references it. And I’m like, “Oh. This is a real factor between us.”
ROSE: Oh, totally!
ENNI: It’s very odd. You kind of trick yourself into feeling that it’s still private, in some way.
ROSE: Yeah, there’s a layer over it that you don’t necessarily operate in the real world with it. I agree with that wholeheartedly. It’s the same way, if I meet anyone who watches my You Tube channel, in person. Because I don’t know who my average viewer is. I don’t look at my viewership and go: “Okay. Let’s think about this demographic. Who is this, that’s watching?” I never do that. I’m just like, “Oh, they must be like me.” That’s my first [impression]. “It must be someone that looks, and acts, like me.” So, when I meet people from different cultures, that all watch my videos, I’m like, “Fuck! I’ve gotta be more representative of everyone!” Because, I’m so me-centric. I’m so ego-centric, that I don’t even think that it goes to a wider berth of people.
ENNI: But that’s what the channel is. This is a really interesting thing to have to think about. Because do you need to represent? Or, do people find you because they…
ROSE: Find commonality? Yeah. But, I think [of that] now that I’ve gotten older. That was never a thought when I was younger. It’s only now that I’ve gotten older, and I’m like, “Oh, I have a responsibility to these girls that watch me.” That’s when I realize that I should probably make sure that I’m putting nuggets of wisdom - that good, good, beautiful wisdom - in each of my videos. Even if it’s a little thing, every now and then. I do lingerie hauls, occasionally. And I make a point to show what they look like, in a non-sexual way. Because I want girls to be comfortable with their sexuality. And feeling sexy, and good, and not feeling ashamed of putting any kind of worth on that either. It’s things like that, that I’ve tweaked a bit, as I’ve gotten older. And seen, what I would have wanted in a You Tube channel, when I was watching it, when I was younger.
ENNI: You are where you are now, partly because you have this history. And you’ve built something over time. Really, it’s seven years, is that right? Or, more?
ROSE: It’s close to a decade. I’m at eight-and-a-half years now.
ENNI: That’s an enormous catalog of information.
ROSE: I know! My show has been on air for way too long.
ENNI: It’s great!
ROSE: I jumped the shark a long time ago.
ENNI: [laughing] I jumped the shark.
ROSE: Yeah. A long time ago.
ENNI: I was thinking about this in my head, and I was like, “This is so crazy!” You are kind of like the closest thing we have to a time traveler. Because your fourteen-year-old self is acting in your life, and it’s still new to people. And it’s impacting you now. It’s very strange.
ROSE: It is weird. On the You Tube dashboard, sometimes it will show random comments that are coming in from all your different videos. And most of the time, I watch all of the new comments from my newest videos So I can see what I can change, and improve on. But occasionally, in that map, I’ll get videos from 2009. And I’m like, “Why? Why are people still watching this?”
ENNI: Yeah. “A: You’re watching it. B: You’re commenting on it.”
ROSE: Yeah, “Why are you engaged in this fifteen-year-old version of myself?” I think people find it interesting, now, to go back. Not a lot of people in the spotlight have records that they have created, for themselves, that are in the past, but also exist in the future. Like you said. And it’s definitely weird to have your own receipts ready to show. It’s like, “Oh, well, I did this. This is what I was like in 2009.” It’s weird to have that catalog.
ENNI: I think a lot of people would be upset about having their past self out there. Does it ever strike you as something you’re uncomfortable with?
ROSE: Not really. I mean, the weird thing is, I do have videos that I totally regret making. There are videos, in the past, where I’ve openly said, “I’m not a feminist.” Because, I was fifteen-years-old at the time. I was living in the South. In a conservative, southern culture, that thought that feminists were like feminazis. That was my only idea of it. And I’m gonna keep that video up, because it shows that people change over time. People learn new information. And even if someone watches that video now, and is like: “What the fuck? Arden says she’s not a feminist? That’s crazy! Why is she saying she’s not a feminist? She makes all this feminist content now. What a hypocrite!” I’m not a hypocrite. I just learned. I had my history out to bear, and that’s a good thing. Because it shows that, even if people make mistakes, we have such a culture of witch hunting. People fuck up… a long time ago. Give them a chance to learn something. Would you rather demonize someone, or bring them over to the light? You know? It’s weird having a catalog, but also, I think, it’s a good thing.
ENNI: There’s a lot there that I’ve been thinking about lately. A lot of it is just understanding the difference in communication… now. I mean, my mom does not understand, necessarily, this kind of communication. Or, this level of openness or honesty, because it just wasn’t a form of communication when she was our age.
ROSE: No. Especially culturally. You had, similar to what I did, where you have an outside self. And you have an inner self. Typically, depending on your culture, you keep that inside self pretty separate. But, You Tube created this weird caveat, where you could go and be your inside self, and maybe your even more real inside self, and actualize what that looks like. And then, other people come in, and they go [lowers voice and whispers], “That’s what I thought this whole time! And no one said it?” Because it’s such a weird thing to say in public. Public discourse online, is such a different story, because it’s anonymous in a lot of ways.
ENNI: It’s this publicized, private space.
ROSE: Yeah, and I think it’s great. You unpack so many problems, in society, just because of honesty. And the fact that you don’t fear being judged. Because I’ve built this echo chamber, if you will, of people around me, that will support me, regardless of what I say. As long as it fits within certain ideals.
ENNI: Well right, within reason.
ROSE: Yeah, within reason. I’m not gonna get a swastika tattooed on my arm anytime soon.
ENNI: Please don’t.
ROSE: Oh god, no.
ENNI: I was talking to my friends, recently, about shame. And the degree to which it still functions in our society. And, obviously, this is a Trump conversation. What I would say is that, all that we’ve been talking about, about You Tube and the ability for it to empower, most particularly, young women… that’s real. And it happened, because people like you were willing to be vulnerable and honest. And so, what you’re saying is, you’re a little beyond feeling shame about your past self.
ROSE: Yeah, you’re a bit shameless.
ENNI: That’s incredible. And super empowering in that way. Then, we get this other extreme, where I’m like, “What does it mean, that we live in a world where he lies. He knows that we know that he knows. Everybody knows that you’re a fucking liar, but you don’t care!”
ROSE: And shameless. So, shameless.
ENNI: It doesn’t matter.
ROSE: I think a lot of people also forget that, he’s like seventy-two years old. And so entrenched in what he thinks, that if you even had the idea to maybe have a constructive conversation with someone like Donald Trump, it’s not gonna fucking happen. Because his brain – his neuropathways – are already so locked in.
ENNI: He’s only losing them. We’re not gaining them at this point!
ROSE: We’re not gaining anything! Let’s hope he loses the bad stuff though. What if he gets senile and really sweet?
ENNI: That’d be amazing.
ROSE: Oh, my god. Oh, that would be great.
ENNI: He’s seeing a new doctor at the naval hospital. It’d be like, “Just give him a couple uppers and let’s coast.”
ROSE: Yeah! Yeah, let’s get this thing going. Alright! Weeds legalized in most places, get it going! Oh man, that would be a game changer.
ENNI: [laughing] It is interesting the way that shame is shifting in our concepts of it. It’s like shame almost needs to be replaced by this cultural value of honesty.
ROSE: And that’s the trouble. We value people telling stories, and being very out there. And that’s such a good thing. But, like I said earlier, the pendulum swings a bit too far, and those stories get more and more outlandish. They become less real. You realize that you can sell a lot of things, based on a story that’s not real. And you run with it so far, and people believe you, because they believed you the whole time, and then you get Donald Trump as president.
ENNI: [heavy sigh]
ROSE: It’s fucking wild.
ENNI: It’s one of many pendulums that all combined.
ROSE: But you know what? The crazy thing is, I think that whole thing going on - I’m an optimist, so I have to say something like this – but I think all of that is indicative of a social disease that we have to work on. It’s not a bad thing, even though, obviously, it was a terrible thing when it happened. All this does is stir a fire under people that do believe, passionately, that that is not an okay way to lead a country. Or to live, in general. And all of that ooze that’s coming out of the cracks because of what he has done, that all gets washed away because we’re not having it anymore. Once you have given a voice to all of these ignorant people, they can no longer stand on their own two feet. When they start saying these things out loud, their private selves have come out. And now, they’re saying all these terrible things, that are obviously not true, about any race, color, gender, identity. It’s like the wound healing itself, you know what I mean? It’s the gross part, before it starts looking better.
ENNI: It has been the most heartening thing, of all this disgusting horribleness, is like, “Oh!” Those three million more people who did vote the other way… and then, also, the fifty percent of the people who didn’t vote at all! There’s an enormous number of voices, who have been like: “Oh, it’s time to talk. It’s time to be open. It’s time for me to actually…”
ROSE: Yeah, be involved!
ENNI: There was a time, three years ago, or something like that, where I was like, “My twitter… I’m gonna try and keep it apolitical.” And it’s like [makes a raspberry sound], we’re so past that.
ROSE: No! Honey. No!
ENNI: The personal is political. Everyone’s talking about it. Everyone’s hearts are out there. I feel like we’re having better conversations than we were before. Everything.
ROSE: Totally. I think the big thing that I’m really hoping that we can figure out, is how to combat tribalism right now. That’s such a problem. And I made, actually, a video after the election was announced…
ENNI: I watched part of that [laughing].
ROSE: It was me, drinking wine, in a hotel room… coping. But a large part of what I said in the video, is something that I still believe. Which is… all of these problems and issues that we had, are based on communication. It’s based on demonizing another side, because you’re so entrenched in your beliefs, that no type of discourse can happen. Because you believe so heavily what you believe in, and there’s no other way that that can be anything different. And half of that time, it’s very good. I would say that, most of the time, I love all liberal ideals. But sometimes, there’s a nugget that maybe we don’t understand, that the Republican side gets a bit better. That we have no way of solving that issue, in between, because it’s so tribal. It’s like, you’ve got one tribe over here, that believes something so heavily. And the other tribe over here, that believes something so heavily. And if either of them interact at any time… it’s traitorous.
You can’t have a conversation between the other side, without it being like: “What do you mean you agree with that? What do you mean you agree with that? You can’t agree with that! We’re on this side. You can’t jump over there, and suddenly like this part of this one!” And that’s the problem. We have to find a middle ground somewhere. Even if we don’t want to. And not give up on any social activism. But something that can somehow get the other side to understand why there’s a reason why we need to be pushing to a progressive side. We need to, somehow, bring this uneducated… because a lot of it is just uneducated people that don’t know.
ENNI: That’s the thing to me. I think both sides, actually, what’s a key, not a cure, but something that would help this totally tribalistic thing [is] asking more like, “Well, why?” This is how we get to policy conversations. This is how we get to empathy conversations. It’s like: “Tell me why you believe what you believe. And then, hear me when I tell you why I believe what I believe.” I’m trying to have more conversations where the end goal is not to agree. I want to start a conversation, and my goal isn’t to bend myself…
ROSE: Convince someone over to another side, or anything like that.
ENNI: Yeah. It’s just to hear someone, and be heard. And that’s it. And then we can just have wine and not worry about it.
ROSE: Yes! Did you watch the Ted Talk with the ex Westboro Baptist member?
ROSE: Oh homie! It’s a member of the Westboro Baptist Church that was actually in – I don’t know if you watched the Louis Theroux documentaries [The Most Hated Family In America] about all that?
ROSE: He followed around all of these members of the church, as they were going on hateful protests. And, he met this girl. She was so entrenched in the cult, that she didn’t even have a secondary thought about it. The thing that turned her from someone who was a hatemongering person was just one dude. He’s a Jewish dude on Twitter. He was like, “Why do you believe that?” And she would come back with hateful rhetoric. And he’d be like, “But why?” Like, “Why are you doing that? Why?” And she said she cultivated these friends on the internet, that she had been told this whole time were demons, and people that you should be afraid of. And people that will try and turn you to be a bad person. Because that’s the rhetoric that you hear all the time, in a cult-y situation, especially. Is… don’t listen to the outside world.
ENNI: Other, other, bad…
ROSE: Other, other, bad. Don’t listen to them. They’re not us. You know? It’s tribal. And when she started hearing all this stuff, she’s like: “Why? I have not realized the impact I had on these people’s lives.” And she felt immense guilt, based on that. To the point that, she was excommunicated from the Westboro Baptist Church, and ended up marrying the guy that converted her out of it.
ENNI: No way!
ROSE: Yeah. It’s such a good Ted Talk. It’s all about tolerance.
ENNI: I think I read an article about that, but the talk I have not checked out, so I will totally do that.
ROSE: Please watch it. Seriously. It’s so good.
ENNI: Okay, well I love that. The other thing I want to talk about is, you’re talking about narration and kind of making stories of our lives. I’m going to intro into this topic with my own story.
ROSE: Yeah, go.
ENNI: I’ve always been a writer. And in college, I studied English. And at some point, I was having boy drama. And I remember walking across campus, and being like, “How does this end?” I was thinking in fictional terms, about what I was experiencing in my current moment.
ROSE: Ha, you’re such a writer. Oh, my god. You’re such a writer!
ENNI: So dorky! And in that moment, I was like: “Hang on! Actually, this is so unhelpful.” Because I was like: “Then what happens? What’s the next plot twist? And, how does this end?” Thinking about your life as a story is actually the worst way. Because life doesn’t care about a narrative structure at all.
ENNI: So, I was like: “I think I need to take a break from fiction for a while. Because it’s just warping my concept of what’s going to happen to me.”
ROSE: That’s so interesting.
ENNI: Really, it blew my mind a little bit. And I think about it constantly. Because I want to make sure that my fiction is a therapy that’s helpful. And not me trying to put my life in a box, to this level. So, you are writing stories, crafting stories, about your life. How do you keep what you portray, and how you package it… how do you keep yourself, and your own life, separate from that? How do you think about those things?
ROSE: It’s weird. Writing the book was unpacking a lot of those narratives, or stories, that I had told myself. And one thing I learned recently, from my friend Rya (?). She said that, “Everyone has a version of the story.” Like the two of us, sitting in my kitchen. If we came away from this, we’d have two entirely different interpretations of what happened. And that’s just because of human nature, and the way our phycology works.
ENNI: Subjective truth.
ROSE: Yes, exactly. And a lot of the stories in my book, they’re from my perspective. And they’re things that my brain has buried deep inside that are recreations, over and over again, of an event that happened. And things are much more colorful that actually weren’t that big of a deal, back in the day. And so, I think, even though it is completely non-fiction, it is an interpretation of what happened in the real world, from my brain. Real life is something that is, technically real life, but also is up to interpretation.
And, I think I just separate it by saying like: “Even if, in my brain, this is sort of how I wanted the situation to work. Or, this is how I want the story to end.” Doing it in that format, you’re right, is so unnatural. Like that story will never be true. But reading a book of a stream of consciousness of what actually happened, would be the most duldrum… it would be soo not fun. I think you just have to separate it by saying: “In a way, this is my art. This is my storytelling. And my real life is separate from that. Just because, by nature, it will not be as extravagant as whatever happens here.”
ENNI: When you can boil it down.
ROSE: Yeah. Even if I’m talking about being stressed out about finding parking, right? That is still a more dramatic story than what actually happened. You know what I mean?
ENNI: Right. Because that’s the craft. That’s how you learn to tell stories that are everyday things, but that carry some entertainment value as well.
ROSE: Yeah, a little weight.
ENNI: But, with the videos, to me, it feels like even more of a blur. Because, in books people can imagine what they want, and it’s more boiled down. With videos, you’re also doing videos about your real life. And it’s your face. Everything about it is a little bit more paired with reality.
ROSE: Real, uh-huh. Oh, absolutely. The one thing that makes it out of reality, [is] if you watch a live stream of something? That’s reality. You’re gonna watch that. You can play it back. It’s gonna be the exact same, every time. If you film your day, once again, I can edit that in a completely different way than you would edit that. You might see my day as focused on me going to the grocery store. But actually, that part was really boring to me, and I completely cut that. That never happened in my day, from what the vlog is showing. And, you would have no idea that that was even happening, as a viewer.
I remember I was doing a spooky Halloween day with my boyfriend, where we went out trying to find costumes. And I had a really upsetting moment, halfway through the vlog, where this guy - I was trying to parallel park, and it always stresses me out [laughing], I always get so stressed out – but this guy in a big-ass truck was honking at me for taking up a lane. And I’m like, “You’re the one with the big-ass truck.”
ENNI: Don’t get your truck, and then, actively intimidate people.
ROSE: Yeah. “You can’t have your cake and eat it too, okay buddy!”
ENNI: The truck was supposed to talk for itself.
ROSE: Exactly! And it did. And so, I had this altercation with him, where I was kind of a dick, and he was a super big dick, and so… it was this thing that upset me. I don’t typically have those kinds of interactions.
ENNI: Right. It’s confrontation. I hate that [laughing].
ROSE: I hate confrontation. Even from the safety of my car, I hate confrontation. And so then, we had to walk into this Halloween store and I’m still kind of like, “Ugh!” I’m still upset by this situation. But, I have to turn on my face, because I know I need to get this vlog done. And so, that isn’t reality. I put on a smile, and made jokes about costumes, when in reality, in the back of my head, I’m like, “That was gross. I hope he doesn’t come back and key my car.”
ROSE: That’s my first thought, “I really hope he doesn’t come back and ruin my car for some reason.” And I’m not saying that in the vlog. I’m not telling you how I’m actually feeling. I’m going through the motions of getting a video done. And that’s where there’s a bit of a difference. Even if that, what I called a “spoopy”, which is “spooky” Halloween vlog, that, it’s still real. What happened in the video, was like a funny version of what happened in the day.
ENNI: So, you’re narrating your life. You want to tell an honest story about yourself. When does it hit you that you might have an impact? Or, that people might be looking to you for, maybe, answers? Which is an interesting thing, when you’re primarily a beauty, You Tube, thing.
ROSE: It’s weird, cause you never think that you have a responsibility, until someone comes up to you and kind of hands it to you. You’re like, “Oh. I just do my thing.” Like, “This is the thing that I do.” And then, you go to a meet-up, or whatever. And I think meeting your subscribers, or the people that listen to you, is the most important thing. Because it keeps you in touch with who you’re with. Who your people are. Like some video that I did, six videos ago, that didn’t get that many views. That changed that person’s perspective on something.
And it’s so easy to quantify your success based on views. But when you hear someone have an impact, a personal impact, from something you’ve talked about. That maybe didn’t do that well. Or, maybe it was a controversial opinion. That is what matters. That’s where you gain your responsibility. And so, to do those mental check-ins, emotional check-ins, to see what’s being reciprocated. What people are taking from what you’re saying. I think that’s so important.
ENNI: How do you adjust, based on that feedback?
ROSE: Sometimes I [chuckles], sometimes I’m a bit of an overlord. And I will just dictate what I think might be helpful towards people. Like, for instance, this “Let’s Learn Japanese” show. I thought, a comedic, educational show was appropriate. Because it teaches you about another culture. And I thought that was important for my younger viewers to watch. But that is a completely, like I said, dictatorship of content. Like, “I’m going to make you watch this.” I also get girls saying: “I love it when you talk about sex on your channel, because I can’t talk about that with my mom.” Or, “I can’t talk about that with my dad.” If their mom’s not around. Or, anyone. You know. “I don’t feel comfortable. But, it’s great hearing it from an older sister.” I get that a lot, like, “I’ve always felt like you’re my older sister.” And so, I feel that responsibility then, to describe things in a way that my younger self would understand a bit better. So, that’s why the entire sex chapter in the book, it is from my perspective as a twenty-one-year-old, but something I needed to hear when I was seventeen, eighteen.
ENNI: You’re still close enough.
ROSE: I’m in it. I’m still with the kids, you know? I’m still there.
ENNI: And aware of what was lacking. That’s really important to remember.
ROSE: Part of my personality - I’m an ENTP [Extroversion/iNtuition/Thinking/Perception] if you follow the Myers-Briggs [Personality Type Indicator] - part of my personality, is that I’m a devil’s advocate. I love ripping apart ideals. Or, questioning why people believe certain things. And so, when I did that a lot when I was younger, that’s when I realized I was probably agnostic. Or, felt certain ways about things, that had been represented as truths to me. And when I started doing that, I realized that a lot of other people, probably should start doing that. Start questioning where you get your information from.
ENNI: Critical thinking.
ROSE: Yeah, do some critical thinking. If I can help someone do that, lead them down the path of thinking about that? That’s always a good thing. Even if it comes in a package that’s very “click bait.” I have videos that are like, “Sex Q & A.” And maybe it’s like, “How to Give a Blowjob!” And then, the entire thing is more about consent. And how important saying “no” is in situations. Where I can - not trick the viewer into watching and getting educated - but in a way, it’s like, “I want you to watch this, because you need to watch it.”
ENNI: There was that um, [chuckles], this is not a one-for-one, but, remember the other day when the internet blew up because Rachel Maddow had [Trump’s] taxes and went crazy?
ENNI: It was the most hysterical thing, too. My friends and I were out at a coffee shop, and we’re like, “Let’s go home, instantly, and just watch this.” Like everyone else on earth. And then she [Rachel Maddow] spent twenty minutes contextualizing, before she got into what they really had. And then, the internet was super mad that they were being forced to watch this, like information. Actual news. And I was like, “You go Rachel!” Cause you were like, “While I have you, let’s remember.”
ROSE: “Let’s talk about why this is important.”
ENNI: It was so great. And [for] that twenty minutes, I was like, “God, I didn’t even know some of this stuff, and I read the news every frickin day.”
ROSE: That’s part of the problem, it’s not just a young problem. We grow up getting these snippets of information in news. I know, if I went on a conservative Twitter, like, if I went on someone who followed a lot of Fox News. My view of the world, and what is going on in the world, would be so vastly different. Which is where my parents are coming from. And so, when we have conversations about things, I’m very aware of where their truth lies. But, at the same time, it’s like we don’t have the attention span to just sit and listen to that thirty minutes. Because we want to get to the headline. We don’t want to listen to the cliff notes of everything.
ENNI: It’s the context that we are lacking. And it’s tying in to what you’re saying about conversations, and this empathy, and tribalism. You need patience to hear.
ROSE: To get context.
ENNI: Yes. And, to really hear someone, and to listen.
ROSE: That’s why context matters so much. I think we get really bogged down because we live in a world where Twitter is king. And you have 140 characters to say what you need to get across. And a lot of companies have really profited off of that. In a way, it’s nice, because you can get your news pretty quickly. But, what that also means, is that there is a lot of context lost, in those situations. So, you need a place to learn about all of that. But so many people don’t find it in their busy days, to sit and look at the facts, rather than just the big thing that’s gonna make someone click on something.
That was a whole controversy when PewDiePie got his channel dogged. Regardless of how you feel about all of the jokes he made, which were in such bad taste! Everything was in such bad taste! It’s so terrible. At the same time, the context in which he was saying it, and the context in which news articles were representing him, were two entirely different things. Even if you hate all of the jokes he made, which I absolutely do, the fact [was] that there was free speech involved. And, he was not actually trying to be a Nazi, [that’s] important to understand, because he isn’t a supporter of anti-Semitic content. Even if he makes content that is borderline, and kind of represents something he doesn’t necessarily believe.
ENNI: Well, that’s that comedy thing.
ROSE: Yeah. It’s like, “What’s okay to make fun of?” And, “What’s okay on You Tube to make fun of?” Because, You Tube is like [the] Wild West. Now we’re starting to sensor it. And since we’re starting to sensor it, you’re getting these people, these big people in the forefront, that get to be targets. And, rightfully so, in some cases. People should understand that that’s not okay. I probably wouldn’t hold up a sign that says, “Death to all Jews,” and think it’s funny. I don’t think that’s funny at all. But the context is that he was doing that, because he was seeing what he could get someone to do for five dollars. So, as much as that is terrible, someone did hold up a sign that said, “Death to all Jews” for five dollars!
So, in hearing that, you’re like, “Okay.” So now when I saw that headline that said PewDiePie says “Death to all Jews”, you’re like, “Okay, well maybe that’s not…” I hate that I’ve had to say that phrase four times, by the way. I’m really mad that I’ve had to say that at all!
ENNI: I only saw the headline about that thing. I didn’t even know that that’s what it was.
ROSE: Because you wouldn’t know, unless you’re entrenched in the You Tube community. Which is its own tribe. That’s why a lot of people rallied around him, is because they supported him. I was always neutral about it. I totally get how it’s free speech, and it’s great. But also, that’s a really gross joke to make. But, the media would just say: “Well, he’s a bona fide Hitler supporter.” And, “That’s it. That’s it.”
ENNI: And then move on.
ROSE: Yeah, and then move on.
ENNI: Well, hang on…
ROSE: It’s funny, but he’s kind of created his own movement of like, “Context matters.” Because then, following that, I don’t know if you saw any of the other videos? But, he made a video where he was making fun of a program on You Tube, that was a censorship program. So, You Tube came out with this program, where users could flag videos that they thought [had] inappropriate content. So, what that means is, you get a lot of people… oh! And you benefit if you flag something, that someone else has flagged.
ROSE: Yes. You start getting points accumulated. And you start collecting stuff. And it’s scary cause…
ENNI: That’s not gonna work the way it was intended.
ROSE: No. And you shouldn’t set a precedent that censoring someone [has] a benefit to it. Because that ruins the whole thing about free speech on You Tube. So, he made a video where he was sitting in [pauses, and chuckles], it’s always Hitler! I don’t know why he does Hitler jokes so much. But he was sitting in like a Hitler uniform, watching the video explaining how the program worked. So, he’s sitting there, and he’s saying it’s a Nazi symbol. Because it’s censorship. So that’s his joke. But MSNBC took that screenshot of him, sitting in a Hitler uniform, and was like: “Look. Evidence. PewDiePie is anti-Semitic, and loves Nazis.” And used it like a real news story. So that takes away credibility from them. Because they weren’t paying attention to the source. But also, not a great joke to make from PewDiePie. So, there’s a truth somewhere in there, and all that would help, is just context.
ENNI: Yeah. You took me on a journey there. I appreciate that.
ROSE: Yes, sorry. I really took you!
ENNI: No, no, no. I needed to know all of that. And that’s a perfect example of what we’re talking about. And I will say, I think the book counts for that. I think the fact that you’re speaking from this place of enormous context, because you’ve been honest about the last ten years of your life.
ROSE: It’s been here, man. You can go check the receipts, they’re all there.
ENNI: You’re like: “I’m out here. This is what it is.” And that’s why I feel like podcasting is this format that people are really flocking to right now. Because it’s not two minute things. It’s like: “I’m gonna sit, and listen, to an hour of people having a conversation.” It’s like this salve right now.
ROSE: Yeah, and it’s real. It’s not these little sound bites to, like, change your day in a minute. You can sit and have a public discourse in a way that’s healthy. And you can get information from people that aren’t like you all the time. I think it’s great.
ENNI: Okay, but the narrative… I was gonna talk about the book. So, the narrative, and the feeling of responsibility, and this is an extension of like, “I think I have something to say, that people would respond to.”
ROSE: It was something that I felt was important. Because I remember when I was younger, I would go to Barnes and Nobel, and I would pick up a lot of the self-help books. And [chuckles] unfortunately, if there’s one that had a sex section, my mom would be like, “You can’t read that.” But it was, in general, a lot of the books I saw were very… they were American Girl books. That were always body positive, but some of them would be like, “This is how you shave.” Or, “This is how you put on makeup.” Or, “This is how you do whatever. This is how you make yourself presentable to the world.”
And less like: “Hey. That’s one way to do it. But also, there’s this other way, that’s totally different. And it’s called… Just Doing You.” Which is kind of what I wanted ALMOST ADULTING to be. Was like a: “You do you, honey. I’m just gonna give you parameters that might help. But I want you to figure out your shit, on your own. This is how I figured out my shit. And if it helps you in any way, you take whatever pack you need to, to get there.” And that was never how I felt books, that I would pick up when I was younger, were. It was a very like: “Step A. Step B. Do this. Do that. And then you’ll be good.” And then, you never felt good afterwards. You were always looking for the next thing that could maybe help you out.
ENNI: I felt this way when I would take COSMO quizzes and it was like, “This is what…” I feel, personally offended by…
ROSE: I am attacked. I was triggered by the COSMO.
ENNI: It was the COSMO help sections.
ROSE: Yes [claps hands]. They’re awful.
ENNI: So bad. It was always like, “Your best friend is dating a loser, and you need to sit her down and talk to her.” And I was like, “What?” The older I got, the more I’m like, “What an enormously stupid thing to tell a fourteen-year-old girl.” To be like [lowers, and quiets, voice], “We need to talk about Joseph. He’s the worst.” And it’s like, “What the fuck?” How do we know what we’re talking about? Who cares? It’s this very interventionist style, aggressive friendship, that really hurt me for years.
ROSE: Yeah, but you know what? That’s one perspective. That is the writer that wrote that. That is their perspective, that might change a year later. That person, that article, is not the end-all-be-all. And that’s what I never knew growing up. And I’m sure you felt the same way. I read that as biblical fact. And that was the point. I never pretend that I know what I’m doing, all the time. But, I do get a lot of girls online saying: “I like what you do. How do you do it?” And it’s like: “Well, I’ll tell you. But also, you should do it on your own. In your own way. This is just one way to do it.” And I wanted to emphasize that. You get a lot of titles of books. There is, actually, a book titled ‘Adulting’. And it’s like, “How to get your shit together.” And instead of that, this one says, ‘Almost Adulting’. Which is like, “Nyeh! Maybe.” And then, ‘All you need to get it together’, in parenthesis, ‘Sort of.’ Because this isn’t a book that’s going to solve the problems in your life. But it might help you figure out what your problems are. And, how you can solve them, personally. Rather than me telling you what to do. What’s that called? It’s like, subversive messaging, I think. I want you to do it on your own. Do it yourself. But, here’s how to do it in a way that I liked it.
ENNI: There’s something about even encouraging people to pick up a book about that. It’s like, “Just live in the space for a while, and think about it.” Whenever I pick up memoirs, or self-help books, it’s like I’m also telling myself that I’m taking this seriously.
ROSE: It’s almost like a self-care step in the day. This book, I don’t actually know even how many pages it is… I will tell you right now.
ENNI: Let’s reference.
ROSE: Ha! Right? I should probably know this [rustle of pages turning]. Oh look… my ‘It’s Okay Boat’. I love all of the illustrations in this book.
ENNI: They’re so cute.
ROSE: I know. And now I can get the ASMR [Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response] of me turning pages. Yeah. It’s a hundred and ninety-six pages. So, it’s really close to two hundred. But for me, when I was younger, this is a book that I would have ripped through. It would have gotten read in three hours. But I like that. Because it’s something that you can get through pretty quickly. But I’ve already been seeing people, on my Instagram and my Twitter, highlighting things, underlining things. It’s a book that you can go back through, and be like, “What’s this interesting part?” Because I talk about like, apartment decorating, and things like that. It’s kind of like a well-rounded thing, where I hope the people can refer back to it as sort of a guide. But not in a way that’s overly patronizing, or trying to get you to do something specific.
ENNI: It’s that in-between stage, because I feel like having a ‘To-Do’ list is always helpful. But if one of the ‘To-Do’s’ is, “Do whatever you want.” It’s like: “Oh yeah. I don’t have to just blindly follow rules.”
ROSE: Yeah, which is the other thing that I always want to tell people. It’s like: “You gotta do you. You can’t let other things dictate what you’re up to.”
ENNI: What made you decide, or think about, books as an extension of what you were doing with your videos?
ROSE: It was funny. ALMOST ADULTING was supposed to be a series, which it still might be. But, it was…
ENNI: A series of non-fiction?
ROSE: Oh no, a series of videos.
ENNI: Oh! I see.
ROSE: I wanted it to be for a show. I wanted it to be a half hour comedy. I had scenarios. I had actually written out the bible of what ALMOST ADULTING was, before I even knew it was gonna be a book. And I wanted it to be episodes of things. So, for instance, I talk about Oreos a lot in the beginning. But, I had a whole stream of consciousness, shit-storm of stuff. About how Oreos are Vegan, but they’re terrible for you, and that’s like a great representation of the world. And I had this whole thing about truth versus reality, all based on Oreos.
ENNI: I love this!
ROSE: I know! I gotta condense that though. But, that was gonna be one of [the episodes]. I have an existential crisis in the show over Oreos. That was something that I really thought would be hilarious to play out. So, I had this whole concept. And Byron was like - Byron is my manager. Wonderful guy – he kind of went behind my back and was like: “Yo, Harper Collins! You got any interest in a book? Cause this kid’s been writing some stuff.” It started off as just lists. Because I’m a list taker, much like yourself. I love doing lists. So, the book actually has a lot of lists in it, that were the original lists, that inspired the book. We have a list that’s, “Things You Need in Your Apartment.” But, sprinkled throughout that list are serial killer items. So, there’s like, “Chloroform, and duct tape, and zip ties.” But also like, “Cute Idea Magazines.” And “A Couple Video Games to Play with Friends.” And that was something that inspired the rest of the apartment chapter. I didn’t say to hide dead bodies under your floorboards, or anything. But, it was something that was a joke going on, while I was writing it. It started organically like that, and then we actually started writing it in March of 2016, and it got finished in October.
ENNI: How did you feel about that process?
ROSE: The actual writing process was, at first, incredibly daunting. Which you probably know as a writer. It’s that first page that you rewrite five or six times, before you send it to your editor? Because the other thing is, and this is not to bring this up, and make this a focus of the podcast, but I didn’t ghost write my book.
ENNI: Good for you.
ROSE: Which I feel shouldn’t even be something I have to say.
ENNI: But you do.
ROSE: But I do! And I get questions about it all the time. I can’t tell you how often I get questions like: “You said you didn’t ghost write your book, but I read this thing. I heard that this was a thing.” And I’m like: “Honey, you don’t know how stressed out I was last year over this book. Do not question it.” It was tough putting my ego aside, to throw my writing into the void, and be like [with a cringe to her voice]: “Rip it to shreds. Tell me what you think!”
ENNI: To me, that’s interesting. Because you are no stranger to editing. You’re like an old hat. Editing videos and writing… all these things are really, really, similar.
ROSE: Oh yeah, just different mediums.
ENNI: And it sounds like you’ve written a bunch for lots of other stuff you’ve been doing. So, what do you think was different about [this]?
ROSE: I think part of it was that I’m not trained. I didn’t go to college at all. I’m an uneducated turd. And I got this great opportunity to write something. And that felt like such a big responsibility, because I’ve seen people walk in my shoes, in the past. And they’ve done it in a way that did not represent You Tube very well. And it didn’t represent the creators, as a whole, very well. By maybe not taking on the burden of actually writing it, or whatever it is. Not to judge anyone for their circumstances, because sometimes people just want someone else to write a good novel for kids. And that’s great. But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted something honest. And I was worried about that. That was a constant anxiety of mine. And also, what people don’t know, is that I did have the offer to have a ghost writer on my book, constantly. There was always this little earwig, in the back of…
ENNI: Like a safety net?
ROSE: Yeah, a safety net. My manager never said it like it was a ghost writer. But he was like, “We could have someone come in and help edit, if you don’t want to finish the last page.” Or, “If you don’t want to finish the last page of this chapter.” Because I was taking a while to do everything. I had such a defiance against that. I was like: “Never! Don’t you ever tell me that ever again. This is my burden. This is my cross to bear. Don’t you dare tell me there’s an out for this, cause there’s not.” Because if there was an out, that would be giving up.
So, that was what made me just bite the bullet and be like, “I know how the editing process works.” You’re right. I know that things need to get cut. I know that everything’s not gonna be perfect the first time. Especially since this is my first time writing something bigger. And I think I also trusted my editor a lot. And Sarah, to her credit – Sarah, if you’re listening I love you – she was so constructive. She probably could have ripped me to shreds in so many instances But, she was so great at just being like: “This is so great. Could you explain to me, why you wrote it this way? Because, in my head, it reads like this. And maybe you’re trying to say it like this.” And I was like, “Oh, yeah.”
ENNI: Okay, so, you’ve read non-fiction books. Did you read non-fiction self-help? Did you go to memoir sections to read up on stuff?
ROSE: Oh yeah, all the time. I think I’ve always been fascinated with figuring out someone else’s perspective on something. Like I said, that’s my personality type. Is to figure out why people believe something, and tear it to shreds effectively. I read so many, like I said, like, “The American Girl Self-Help Books” which I thought were very one-way. And then there were also ones I read that were a bit more open-minded. But I was always interested in them. Even when Tina Fey’s book came out, and Amy Poehler’s book came out. Tina Fey’s book came out when I was seventeen, I want to say. BOSSYPANTS. That’s the name, right?
ROSE: That was such an amazing book for me, when I was younger. It was a strong female in the industry, that was still killing it. And held her ideals every step of the way. In a way, it was a self-help book for me, because it was like: “Wow! It’s okay that I feel this way about certain things.” I feel strongly about the fact that women aren’t equal in the workplace, or whatever. And these are all things that I would have not necessarily thought, had I not read that book. And been verified by someone else, who’s much more intelligent than me, and much more successful than me, at the time.
ENNI: A lot of experience.
ROSE: Yes, tons of experience. And it’s reassuring. It was like a mom, in the book. Where I could be like yeah! That’s the knowledge I want. Like, “Thank you for that Tina Fey.” A shout out to her.
ENNI: It sounds like you had this concept already of what you wanted ALMOST ADULTING to be in this other format, but, how did you decide what you wanted to talk about?
ROSE: A lot of it was looking back and thinking, “What did my eighteen-year-old self need, that she didn’t know that she needed?” Even in the book, there’s an entire chapter, thanking my dad for being my hero when I was younger. He taught me that hard work pays off. But also, that sometimes the best thing you can do in the morning, is put a smile on your face and get through it. He’s a very inspirational person in my life. And so, that was something I felt was important. To appreciate your parents. And appreciate age and wisdom. I thought I could impart that to younger viewers, because at that age, I maybe didn’t like my parents that much. And that wasn’t something that I would have ever have written a book about, and been thankful for.
But now that I’ve looked back on it, I can see how great they were. Both of them were, at that time. And I feel like that was something where, if you can read this as an eighteen-year-old, and kind of go: “Well Arden really appreciated her dad, and she wrote a whole chapter about him. That’s pretty great. Maybe I should look at my parents and say, ‘Thanks for that thing you did’.’” Or, anyone in their lives, their guardians. Not everyone has a traditional family like I did. Any kind of appreciation for another human is always a good thing.
Like I said, the sex chapter was something that was very important to me, because I had a terrible sex education when I was younger. And other things, like mental health. I talk a lot about my struggle with OCD [Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)] which, looking at my apartment, it does not look like I have OCD!
At all! I’ve got cluttered stuff everywhere! But that’s because it manifests itself in different ways. But that’s something that people wouldn’t know. You don’t have to be counting cheerios in a line, to be OCD. It can come in all kinds of different forms. And it’s not always cute and glamorous and fun to talk about. It can be times where you have no eyebrows and eyelashes, and your nails are picked down to nubs. And you are kind of a wreck. And that’s okay. It’s just a different form of dealing with yourself. That whole chapter about mental health is also questioning your mental reality. Which I thought was also important for a younger viewer, who might see something and think… I don’t know how to put this. Your reactions to things are based on your being, rather than your mind fucking with you a little bit. Sometimes your brain can trick you into feeling certain ways, in situations, based on any number of mental health problems that people have.
So, being able to unpack that and say: “You actually have a great life. You just have a really awful perspective on it, because of what your brain is doing to you.” That was another thing that I wanted to come across a bit. Because I know a lot of people in high school are very confused about what’s going on upstairs in their brains, and with their bodies as a whole. And I wanted a chapter to be like, “It’s okay.” The final illustration in that chapter is a boat, and you’re the captain of your own ship, and the tee shirt says, “It’s okay.”
ROSE: It’s supposed to be like, “It’s all cool. And you can hear it from my perspective.”
ENNI: That’s a really tough one to get across. It’s like, question yourself. But it’s another form of trusting yourself, in a weird way.
ROSE: You don’t want to take it to a point of self-consciousness, being so worried about what your feeling and thinking. That’s a whole problem, and that relates to anxiety. It’s more like… question the reality of a situation. Maybe you feel really badly one day, and you don’t know why. And half the times, I can chalk it up to hormones.
ROSE: Half the times I can say: “Well I am about to go on my period. And I’m a monster because, my body is telling me that this is what I’m going to feel like today.” Tracking my period has changed the game. I will not book things when I know I’m about to have a bad day. I can track my bad days. And that’s something I talk about in the book. You can be your own temperature gauge for yourself. And then treat yourself well, based on that. You don’t always have to have a good day, but learn how to be okay to yourself on that bad day.
ENNI: I talk to my friends incessantly about learning how to manage. I will say, one of the best things about getting older, is learning the shorthand of how to manage myself. And how to treat myself better. I know when it’s going to be an overbooking for me. So, even though everyone else is gonna go do this thing, I just need to say no. Because I know I’ll feel better.
ROSE: Yeah, it’s learning to say no in situations too. I think that’s one thing that a lot of younger people struggle with, and another thing I talk about in the book quite a bit. Learning to gauge your temperature in social situations, in work commitments, in anything. You don’t have to be a “Yes Man.” And that’s why I heard Amy Poehler’s book is great for that. I have not read it yet. But, in general, you’re right. It’s learning how to gauge yourself. And look inward. Because you can only be your most productive self, and helpful to the rest of the world, if you’re taking care of yourself.
ENNI: It’s this constant struggle to love and be loved, right? And it’s easier to be loved, if you aren’t in a horrible mood. Or, putting yourself in situations where you’re uncomfortable constantly. That whole balance gets easier. But, you do have to start paying attention to it, in order to make those changes. I really wish someone had been talking to me about that.
ROSE: I know, right? Same! So, I’m kind of jaded while I’m writing. I’m like [sounds like she’s gritting her teeth]: “Yeah. Cause I should have known this. Why didn’t I know this?”
ENNI: [Laughing] Okay. Just a couple more questions, and then I’ll let you go. I was watching the live stream that you did, while you were signing books, and I loved that you said, “I’m glad I let the uncomfortable stuff stay.” Speaking of the stuff in the book. How was the uncomfortable stuff different writing it, then necessarily sharing it? How was that process different?
ROSE: I feel when you’re writing something that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable, it’s a bit of therapy. I think, when I was writing, I didn’t ever keep in mind that someone was gonna read it. Which is a problem, cause now I’m like, “F U C K! [long drawn out exclamation]” There’s so much stuff in there, that now I’m like, “Oh, man.” But it’s good! That’s exactly why I was addressing it in the live stream, because you have that moment of like, “Oh. People are going to read this.” But it’s good. I treated the book sort of like a diary, for those uncomfortable moments. And it was therapeutic. So, I was unpacking things.
And as I’m writing, I’m realizing things about the scenario, that then inspire the writing. And so, I continue to write about the thing, that maybe I’ve just figured out, and pulled out of a random whole in my memory. That I wouldn’t have ever contextualized, without physical writing involved. Your brain is like a swirling vortex of craziness, all the time. Trying to remember, or recall a situation, or, how you felt in a situation where you’re so young. Especially when I’m talking about my dad’s struggle with cancer. I couldn’t really draw back to that place, because I think I was a bit numb. I didn’t realize what was going on. But, at the same time, I had these emotions that I wasn’t dealing with when I was younger, because I didn’t actualize that they were problems. And so, until I could write it out, as an older person that understands how psyche works, writing that out was so different, but good. And that’s why it stayed in the book. It’s something that’s real. And it’s my older perspective of what happened when I was younger. So, it’s different as well. But it is what I can call truth, in that situation. I thought that was important to keep in. Even if it made me uncomfortable.
ENNI: I’m really curious about, both in the book and in your videos, how you think about the line. What is too personal? And has that changed over time?
ROSE: It has definitely changed over time. Too personal for me used to be, if my parents saw it, would I be embarrassed by it. That used to be the too personal. Also, I went through… not a difficult time, but something where my parents, we were disagreeing. Where I posted something that was maybe a bit more out there, or outlandish. Or, cursed, or whatever the thing was. And they would be like: “Okay we’re unfollowing you on everything. We don’t want to see what you’re doing, because we don’t approve of it.” So, I would have this looming fear that anything I said, with honesty, might be judged by them. I love them, and I care about them, and I hold their opinion so high – above everyone else – I want my parents to approve of me. And so, that type of shame and guilt towards disappointing them, kept me from being honest about a lot of things.
ENNI: By the way, very interesting to think about this new parental threat being, “We’re unfollowing you.”
ROSE: Right? Oh, it was weird. When I got that text from my mom I was like: “Who are we? What are we doing? Fine! Unfollow me on Twitter!”
ENNI: I kind of love that, though.
ROSE: I know! It’s a great threat. I hope that’s the new threat, like [pretending to shout]: “I’m not letting you go to the party. I’m gonna unfollow you on Twitter!”
ROSE: “I don’t want to see your shit… anymore!”
ENNI: That is very sweet that you were the kind of kid who was like [contritely], “Noooo.”
Rose: “Please don’t!” Oh no. I care about my parents more than anything, like I said. That’s where I gain a lot of my approval. I would not be the person I am today, if my parents weren’t so well educated and cared about current events. And that’s what my brother told me when this whole thing was happening. I confided in him. I was like: “I feel so guilty about everything that’s happening. It makes me feel really weird inside all the time.” I would wake up with sweat dreams about my parents finding out about something.
ENNI: Oh no!
ROSE: Yeah! It was weird stuff. I would freak myself out thinking that I was gonna constantly be judged for something. I was talking to my brother about it, and he was like: “They set you up to be this way. They set you up to be the critical thinker, that has a different opinion than them. If they hadn’t, you wouldn’t be on the path that you are today. But they were both trailblazers in their own way. And thus, you, are going to be doing something different, that may be controversial to them.” So, hearing that from him, I was like [whispered excitement]: “That is so good! That’s the thing I needed to hear, to feel okay.”
ENNI: That’s so validating.
ENNI: How nice that he was able to help you.
ROSE: My brother’s the best. Shout out to Sam. He’s the best. We also, all have really weird names. But, that was the main thing that I thought, could have been too far. It was because my mom would read it. Or my dad would read it. And I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable. When I made the decision to stop letting that be a worry, that’s when the book started flushing out. Once that went away, it’s like the book wrote itself.
ENNI: Did you have that sort of uncoupling of conscience, earlier? With your videos?
ROSE: Definitely. I think they stopped watching my videos a long time ago. Now they might watch them a bit. If I do a big “Sex Q & A”, they’re not gonna watch that. Understandably so. And that’s to their tolerance. It’s like: “You don’t have to watch that cause you’re my mom and dad. You probably don’t want me to talk about having sex with someone. I totally get that. That’s a boundary, and you don’t want to cross it, so I’m cool with that.” But, my videos were always kind of… I knew I needed to talk about certain things. Similar to the book. The book is like an extreme version of my You Tube videos. It’s very, very… I don’t want to say crass, it isn’t the right word. But it’s very honest. And, maybe my You Tube videos are taken back a notch from the book.
ENNI: I like that!
ROSE: The book is the real, real. And then, the You Tube videos are like one hair back. I try not to be so outlandish, because I know my You Tube audience is very wide. But, I know whoever is gonna buy my book, likes me enough to want to read what I have to say.
ENNI: They’re in it.
ROSE: And so, if you want to read what I have to say, I will tell you it! With You Tube, I didn’t have a standard that I set for myself. But, at a certain point I was done – I’ll call it lying to my audience – just because, for instance, I cursed all the time. Like a sailor in real life, but I never cursed on my videos. And then, one day, I think I said ‘Dammit’ and my dad texted me and was like, “What’s that all about?” And I was like, “Uh, dunno daddo!” Just [makes an apologetic, embarrassed sound].
ENNI: Uh, it’s happening.
ROSE: It’s happening. And then it became one of those things where I was like, “It’s just unhealthy to be worried about that kind of stuff all the time.” I understand censorship for certain reasons, but I’m not running a child’s channel.
ENNI: I love hearing that – just because I’m not as familiar with videos as a form of expression – it’s funny to hear you say that the book is like this concentrated…
ROSE: It’s the syrup that makes the lemonade. It is there.
ENNI: The books still have power, guys.
ROSE: Yeah, they do.
ENNI: I do like to end my sessions with advice. And actually, you give a lot of advice about the whole, everything, on your channel. But, I’d love to hear advice for people who are interested in writing for the first time. Or, writing about their own lives.
ROSE: Like I said before, I come from almost like a suspended reality, where You Tubers suddenly have the clout to write books. Which, in no other world should that be possible. Honestly? I think there’s a parallel world where people are like: “Wait! What? You Tubers wrote books? What are you talking about? Who gave them that right?” But I think it proves that anyone has a story. And if you have a story that you want to tell? Tell it in the most honest way possible. And then have someone edit it!
Then have a second look at it. But, in general, never feel like you are not qualified enough to have your voice heard. Because, in reality, that’s all that books are. Is someone sharing a narrative of their own lives, or their own circumstances. Or, even in fiction, their own way of seeing the world. Even in a fantasy world. Any kind of book that you read, written by one author – hopefully not ghost written – is going to be a true account of how that person sees the world. And that’s important, because that’s how we learn new things about other people. So, never feel intimidated by starting a first page. Even if you want to rip it up seven times.
ENNI: And do you mind advice… what if someone is listening to this, and they are interested in You Tube and for some reason, they’re listening to a writing podcast. What would you say about that other form of expression? Starting it now is a different environment.
ROSE: Right. So, starting it now, the problem is that now, like we said previously, people are turning it into a business. I can’t even disagree that I’m not turning it into a business. Because, it’s how I pay my rent, you know? I think, if you’re starting it with the mindset of having a job, it’s the same thing with the entertainment industry. Never make that your Plan A. Have a Plan B, just in case. Or maybe, have it as your Plan B. Enjoy it as a hobby before you try to make it into a career.
ENNI: That’s a really good piece of advice.
ROSE: And that’s what I did. And even if it’s taken me nearly eight years, nine years, to do anything with it, that I think is worth doing. I always loved doing it. And like we talked about this entire time, it was my therapy. It was my way to escape. It was my enjoyment. And, because I found enjoyment in my work, I never have to work a day in my life! [Laughs] That old adage. Which is not true. I still have to work every day.
Keep it something that is fun to you. Keep it fresh. Have your own perspective on it. Another thing that’s really helpful though, look at who you really like watching. Look at your top ten most watched You Tubers, that you pay attention to the most. If that’s where you’re coming from? Where you’re like: “Oh. I watch You Tube all the time. And now I think I can do this.” Pay attention to the people that you think you are like. Because a lot of times you watch people that are similar to you. That’s just a thing in humanity. You want to be around people that are like you. So, look at those people. See what they do that you like. See what they do that you dislike. And try to suss out your feels for things, based on that. And then, let it grow organically. However your brain turns it out to be.
ENNI: I love that. That’s very similar advice to starting a podcast, as well. Or any of these things. Creative endeavors are not entirely different at all.
ROSE: It’s never a solo mission. You know? You think it is, but it’s never an entirely solo mission. Someone else has done it in a different world.
ENNI: And why not learn from them? Don’t think you’re reinventing the wheel, cause you don’t have to.
ROSE: No, you don’t have to. You absolutely don’t have to. I did learn that when we started doing our podcast. I was like, “Well. I listen to MBMBaM [My Brother, My Brother and Me]. I listen to every kind of MAXFUNchannel.
ROSE: I love all of them. So, starting a podcast was like, “I know what I’m doing! Because I know what I enjoy.”
ENNI: So, you can start from something. Well, this has been so fun. Thank you so much for letting us ramble on for so long. This is awesome.
ROSE: Yeah! Thank you for having me. And thank you for coming into my kitchen.
ENNI: Oh, this is the best. My favorite.
[Theme music plays]
Thank you so much to Arden. Follow her on Twitter @ardenrose and on You Tube. You can find the show on Twitter @FirstDraftPod and me @sarahenni. Follow the show on Facebook and Instagram too. But for show notes, including links to everything Arden and I talked about, as well as transcripts, my favorite quotes, book recommendations, and a sign-up for the First Draft newsletter, visit FirstDraftPod.com. If you liked what you heard, subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave a rating or review there. Every five-star review helps other people find the show, and swings the pendulum pretty far, but not too far, in the right direction. Also, if you’re in Los Angeles, you should come to Arden’s book signing. I will be there in conversation with Arden to celebrate the release of ALMOST ADULTING. It will be held at Urban Outfitters, Space 1520, in Hollywood, on April 6that 6 to 8 pm. It’s gonna be really fun. We’re just gonna talk about the book and a little bit more about Arden, and get a little silly. So, if you are in the neighborhood, you should definitely come check it out.
Thanks so much to Hashbrown for the theme song, and to Collin Keith and Maureen Goo for the logos. Thanks to super intern, Sarah DuMont, and transcriptionist-at-large, Julie Anderson. And, as ever, thanks to you, socially constructed narratives of selves’ geniuses for listening.