Bui breaks out of shell by shooting YouTube videos

Michelle Bui (12) loves to make people laugh. Whether she is simply walking through the hallways or spending time with her friends, Bui carries with her an infectious enthusiasm and vibrant personality.

The humor and joy she possesses is also reflected in the collections of videos on her YouTube channel.

She created it in 2016, near the end of her sophomore year. During this time, Bui had suffered from depression and sought an outlet to help her cope. Coincidentally, she had started becoming interested in makeup and had received a camera that same month. Equipped with the tools she needed, she made a channel and filmed her very first video.

“You can see the progression of how I was really bad at makeup at the beginning, like my first video, which was just equally as bad as my makeup,” Bui said. “You could see how much I’ve improved and it’s almost like a timeline, where you could just see how I’ve grown as a person.

Although Bui uploads many videos of makeup tutorials, she does not consider her channel to be exclusively for makeup. She initially had more of a schedule for her channel but has since moved away from this.

“I used to have a structure,” Bui said. “I used to post every Saturday at 9 a.m., and now I post whenever I feel like it. It’s just easier that way and it’s less stressful, cause it used to feel like homework sometimes.”

She said that not having a strict structure allows her to be completely natural and post whatever interests her at the moment.

“It’s just whatever I want to post that makes me happy and in a very great way it also makes my subscribers happy, so it makes me happy,” Bui said. “I just let myself be who I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be fake.”

Then slowly, video by video, her subscriber count began to increase.

“At first, I got really excited and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I got another subscriber,’” Bui said. “I was just so excited because I [thought], ‘Wow, people actually like me,’ and that kind of gave me a high at first. For now, I don’t look at the subscriber count as much because all I need to know is that people are enjoying my videos.”

As time passed, Bui found that her channel also changed her personality in a positive way.

“I became more outgoing as my channel progressed because I saw that there was absolutely no point to hate on myself and there was absolutely no point in hiding in a shell,” she said.

In terms of filming the actual videos, Bui said that her initial videos only took about two hours to film and edit. Now, the filming and editing time can take up to five or six hours, depending on the length of the video.

Another factor that can prolong the editing process is mess-ups. However, Bui stays true to herself and is not too concerned with these little mistakes.

“I find that the mess-ups are the funniest, so I like to keep those in sometimes because they just show me as a person,” Bui said. “I don’t want it to be too polished, I want it to be authentic me and that’s why if I make a mistake, I might keep it in.”

Although Bui is very invested in her channel, she makes sure to maintain a balance between it and her other commitments.

“When I started this, I was in AP Biology, and throughout the following year I took very heavy classes,” Bui said. “I used to do consistent uploads, but for a while during AP testing season and during college application season, I took a break. My subscribers understood because they all have lives too and [they understood that] I was just busy at the time so I couldn’t upload. They’re very understanding about everything, which is great.”

As she added more videos, she also noticed some negative comments filtering in.

“There’s a lot of hate comments, but I’ve grown thick skin because of it,” Bui said. “When I got my first hate comment, it didn’t really bother me. You realize that those people are just sitting behind a screen and they have to use their own energy, their own time to watch your video and type it. It doesn’t really bother me because the amount of niceness and positivity all over overpowers all the negativity.”

Bui chooses to focus on what she has always wanted to do: make people happy. Her family and friends have all been supportive, and through her channel, Bui has met a lot of people.

“The goal of my YouTube channel is to just make people laugh,” she said. “That’s something I really like doing, and I’ve found a way to reach people from not just the U.S., not just in school. I’ve reached people across continents and oceans and I’ve had people talk to me, direct message me from France and one from Egypt. I was surprised that I could reach people from so far away, and talk to people I never thought I’d be able to talk to. I realized that I was more than what I thought I was. I was able to impact people other than me through my channel.”

Ultimately, Bui’s channel is just a reflection of her. All of the videos, the tutorials, the accidental camera drops and the lighthearted humor belong to the person that she has become comfortable with being.

Her channel has helped her become more outgoing and happy to just be herself.

“I used to be the quiet kid in class, and now I’m loud,” she said. “I’m just okay with being myself and being weird and crazy. That’s who I am and I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. If I didn’t have my YouTube channel, if I didn’t have enough confidence to put myself out there, then I wouldn’t be the person that I am today at all. I’d be still in the shell that I was in 10th grade, and in that sad state. Now, I’m a lot more happy, and I’m a lot more confident.”