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Lohanthony and the Tao of Vlogging

In an industry becoming more corporate by the hour, one YouTube celebrity has become famous for being genuine.

In an industry that is becoming more corporate and plastic by the hour, one YouTube celebrity has become famous for being genuine. Anthony "Lohanthony" Quintal, who is just 15 years old, has more than one million YouTube subscribers and Twitter followers because he vlogs. As in, video blogs. That's it. No scripts or skits, no sponsored content, no "buy this merchandise NOW" or free giveaways and prizes for commenting … just an old-fashioned sitting on the floor of his bedroom, recording his thoughts video. What people were doing on YouTube way back in 2006, before Google, all the MCNs, and "new Hollywood."


To explain his appeal in a nutshell: watching Lohanthony's videos is to watch youth culture in its rawest form. Lohanthony gets his name from combining his first name with Lindsay Lohan but he currently loves Lana Del Ray, who he calls his mom. He is sassy and opinionated with his stories, silly faces, and advice for teens, prompting New York magazine to call him the "littlest big diva."

I was expecting an over-the-top character for our in-person interview but Lohanthony, in his t-shirt and faded flannel button-down, was surprisingly down-to-earth. A little wiser than his years, sure, but not at all influenced by his e-fame as some of his older contemporaries I've had the pleasure of meeting. He's set to make six figures this year from his YouTube work. I ask him why he said in a recent video that a trash bag represents who and what he is. He responds, "sometimes I feel insecure so that's where that's coming from."

Despite being broadcast all over the world and therefore the antithesis of private, there's something strangely intimate about Lohanthony's videos. Is it just the unfiltered vlog format, which is at times more creative nonfiction than a simple video diary? "When I am alone I am just one with myself, and it's not stressful, I'm not trying to impress anyone," he explains.

in order to find oneself, one must first broadcast themselves

He is more himself online in his videos than in real life. But don't misunderstand Lohanthony; his comfort with the camera, alone, isn't really about the potential viewer on the other side of the screen.


"People watching me is not really a main thought, that's why I like being alone and doing [it] myself, it's just about the content not who is watching … it's hard to explain, you're blocking everything out and focusing on what you are creating," he continued. Lohanthony has no interest in skits—"they're too time consuming," he says, "I just like sitting down and talking about something way better." He currently spends about six hours a week shooting, editing, and promoting his videos. Vlogs are spontaneous, more natural, even therapeutic to him.

He encourages me to vlog. "Everyone's voice needs to be heard," Lohanthony exclaims, "and YouTube is the perfect place to be and if you feel scared looking into a camera pretend it is your friend!" He really means this. He could care less about the trolls and haters.

Recently, his mom joked about starting her own YouTube channel over breakfast. "He looked at me and was so excited—I wasn't expecting that reaction and I said, 'I'm only kidding,'" said Monica Quintal, Lohanthony's mom, a bit sheepish at her failed joke.

Quintal was first a bit sketched out about strangers watching her son's videos, but seems cool with the whole process now. She was at the interview too, along with Lohanthony's PR representative and manager. We were sitting in a booth at a Corner Bakery in downtown Chicago, the Lohanthony crew tired from an early morning TV interview. All four are in town for SocialCon, an event for fans to meet and take photographs with their favorite social media stars. Lohanthony is headlining.

Andrew Graham, Lohanthony's manager, describes managing Quintal as "exhilarating," because Quintal is the "defining voice of the [millennial and global] generation" and "managing someone who has that sort of power is exciting." Out of all the talent he manages for Fullscreen (the YouTube-based network, aka MCN), Graham says he likes vloggers the best because they "are like tofu—they take on the flavor of what's around them, they're cultural sponges, and they're malleable."

It's hard to imagine Lohanthony being shaped into anything other than himself, but if he must be a tofu, he's spicy and definitely not for everyone. And that's okay.

Lohanthony began making videos when he was 10, but he didn't get noticed by the Internet until he was 13. The first video of his to go viral features him cursing obscenities to the camera after a woman hits the car he was vlogging in. Before this stroke of fortune wrapped in a mishap, Lohanthony was made fun of at school for his vlogs. "No one understood why I would want to broadcast myself in front of all these people," he said.

I don't know if I understand it either, this modern proverb: in order to find oneself, one must first broadcast themselves.