Sensational rise of YouTube video star
A funny script, decent camera and talented group of friends is all Christian Pierce needed to become an online sensation.
The 23-year-old, who has strong family links to Bermuda, has amassed more than 2.4 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and has more than 44,000 followers on Twitter.
The rising star talked with Lifestyle about his ‘Life According To Jimmy’ videos and why Cup Match is his favourite time of year to visit Bermuda.
Q: So what are your connections to Bermuda?
A: I have a lot of family in Bermuda. I would say a majority of my close family live there. We are part of the Waldron-Smith family from St George’s. My parents and I started going there when I was a kid. I first started visiting Bermuda when I was around one or two years old and I’ve been back every year or two since then.
Q: What are your favourite activities to do when you’re on the Island?
A: Well obviously see my family — that takes a long time. I have to go around the Island and see everyone when I get there. I love going to Art Mel’s and eating one of the best fish sandwiches I’ve had in my life. I love going to the beaches as well. My grandmother owns an apartment housing complex right on South Shore, so I like waking up and walking down to the beach. I just love how peaceful it is in Bermuda and how friendly the people are. I love to just soak it all up when I get there. It’s so much different from LA.
Q: How so?
A: Everyone in LA is mean. Everyone is a bit more real in Bermuda. The vibe I get is much more peaceful and welcoming.
Q: So you are planning to be here just in time for Cup Match?
A: Yes, I’m planning to be there from July 26 until August 3. The Island is crazy during Cup Match time. I love to party so I think it’s a good chance to see the Island for its true colours. My family will all be up and at it and it’s a chance to get everyone together. Plus it’s just fun to bring my friends down for the celebrations. I don’t even understand cricket, but I just love Cup Match. Every year I try to learn the rules to the game, but I never get it. This time my little brother will be coming with me and some of our friends.
Q: So how did you get involved with the Life According To Jimmy series on YouTube?
A: My partner Jimmy and I were in college together at the University of Arizona in Tucson. We were in the same fraternity [Pi Kappa Phi] and were talking about our future goals one day and he said, ‘I want to act’ and I said, ‘I want to write, direct and produce and do some acting as well’. And from that he said, ‘Why don’t we start practising and see how it goes?’ So we made videos out of our dorm with some cheap cameras and it just blew up overnight. We thought we should keep it going and put more thought and money into them and started doing better productions with better equipment. We’re definitely living our dream. A lot of people want to have more control over the work they do. We have the freedom to write and do what we want and can put it out how we want and advertise it how we want. You never get the chance to do that when you’re a typical actor. You might play a character in a TV show, but you don’t always have the opportunity to give your voice and opinions on things. You just go in, say your lines and act and that’s it. We get to create what we want from the ground up. It’s been four-and-a-half years now.
Q: What’s your favourite part of what you do?
A: The rewarding part is just making people laugh. I want to be that site for people to go to when they come home and have had a bad day. I want it to be so that whatever is going on in their life and bringing them down they can throw on a video we made and just laugh and escape for a while. People come up to me all the time and say ‘I love your videos. You inspired me to do my own at home media’. Or they say ‘You always give me a release. It’s something to look forward to every week.’ And that feels good to be able to be there for people.
Q: So how often do you release a new video?
A: We post one every Monday. This year we will start to do two videos a week. We want our audience to double by next year and to be able to engage even more fans. When we aren’t filming we sometimes do media appearances. We are also writing every day when we’re not shooting or editing. We have a few ideas for two more shows and a couple of movies that we are trying to get made. We are always trying to create new merchandise like clothing and have our hand in a new toy getting made.
Q: Did you ever think your videos would grow to this point?
A: I never, ever would have thought it would. If you told me that five years ago I probably would have laughed in your face. Things happened pretty quickly, but to really get into our groove, where we were being somewhat professional about it, it took about a year. That’s when we found a manager and started learning about the business and realised who our fans were, how we could batter cater to them and what they wanted to see on there. I would say though that I always wanted to be an entertainer and always loved writing so it was always my dream to be in front of a lot of people performing how ever I could to make them laugh or whatever. This really did roll into my lap and kind of just happened to me.
Q: Who is your primary fan base?
A: It’s mostly college children or high school children and people who just graduated from college.
Q: What is your partner Jimmy like in person? In the videos he seems to take on the jerk role.
A: He’s not like that at all in real life. His character was sculpted in a way that makes people laugh the hardest. He doesn’t like playing the douche guy. It distorts his image in real life, but it’s funny so we continue to do it. In real life he’s really nice and authentic and loves to play sports. He’s really funny as well and he’s a great friend.
Q: What did it take on your part to get here do you think?
A: It takes consistency. We are working all the time trying to get to a higher place. It also take patience because sometimes you don’t get the results you want for something you think is going to be good. I’ve been blessed with a great business partner as well. Me and Jimmy have a lot in common and share the same brain when it comes to comedy. We also have the same work ethic and share the same goals. To top it off we’re also friends. We hang out even when we aren’t working, which is really rare.
Q: Is there anything you guys still have left to accomplish?
A: I still have much bigger dreams, but this is as close of a dream come true that I can get at this age. I see myself way higher than this. I would love to be directing my own films and writing and producing as well over the next few years. I would love to have my own production company and studio one day.
•You can subscribe to the Life According To Jimmy account by visiting www.youtube.com