Most students come to college with a wealth of academic achievements under their belt, but not many can say they have more than 93,000 YouTube followers like sophomore entrepreneurship and marketing major Meredith Edwards can.
Edwards got her start in the YouTube world almost four years ago during her junior year of high school. From her own personal interest in beauty and fashion videos, Edwards decided to go out on a limb and create a channel with videos of her own.
“For the most part, my YouTube channel started off as something to do for fun. It was partly because of my interest in different YouTube videos and partly as a hobby,” said Edwards.
Though Edwards is very open about her channel and YouTube journey, there was a time in her developing years where this was not the case.
“When I started YouTube, no one knew about my channel except for one of my good friends who had a channel as well,” said Edwards. “I remember the day when my friends found out for the first time. One of my subscribers had commented on an Instagram of mine when I was out with friends saying she loved my YouTube videos, and I remember being so scared of their reactions.”
As her channel began to develop, Edwards stopped worrying about what others thought and focused on the message she wanted to portray.
“I have really been able to turn my channel into a platform for promoting self-confidence within young girls, since my channel reach is mainly between middle to young adults,” said Edwards.
Through her YouTube channel, Edwards was able to strengthen her own self-confidence and develop a brand young girls and women can relate to. Edwards’s tagline describes her channel as ‘sharing fashion, faith and beauty’ with her followers.
She has done videos from clothing hauls and Q&A’s to more personal additions like “Mail with Mere” and Life Updates, each promoting her unique message in a creative way.
After six months, Edwards turned her hobby into a full-blown career, eventually making her YouTube famous.
“After a few months went by into my YouTube career, I was able to sign a contract with a management brand which really helped enlarge my reach and in turn allowed me to connect with more followers than I could have ever imagined,” said Edwards.
One of the many followers who came about during this growth was 13-year–old Florida native, Anna Grace Locklear.
“I started watching Meredith about two years ago. I found out about her channel by going through YouTube trying to find a channel and came upon on of her videos. I watched one and I loved it,” said Locklear. “After that day, I have watched all of her videos.”
Edwards credits all of her success to her loyal subscribers. She consistently maintains meaningful relationships with each one of her followers through her videos and comment sections, setting her apart from many in the YouTube world.
“Meredith’s videos are different than other YouTubers because I feel like I can relate to her more than other YouTubers. She really cares about her subscribers, and when I watch her videos, I feel like I am there with her,” said Locklear. “Watching her videos are what I look forward to every week.”
While it is clear Edwards has made an impact on her YouTube subscribers, her message and reach extends far beyond her follower demographic.
Belmont University Honors Program Director Dr. Jonathan Thorndike shares this same support of Meredith’s channel, just as many of her subscribers do.
“It is quite unique that Meredith came to Belmont with a fully-developed YouTube following built on such a positive message,” said Thorndike. “I think Meredith is a great example of an entrepreneur. She is almost like a philosopher out there for young girls or like Oprah or something, in that she has these profound thoughts that make people think.”
Not only has Edwards won over the hearts of her subscribers, but she has also earned the respect of her professors and peers.
“I find it so refreshing to see that type of energy and ambition and creativity in a student like Meredith,” said Thorndike. “I think that type of drive is something any professor wants from their student.”
Edwards’s drive is so strong, in fact, that she plans to take her YouTube platform and expand it even more.
“As far as the future goes, I would love to use my YouTube as a marketing platform if I were to open a business or something like that. I think there are many options in what I can make my channel into once I graduate, the possibilities are endless,” said Edwards.
In terms of Edwards’s future plans, it’s only up from here, she said.
“Meredith will do big things. I think she really has something to say, and she could take her talents far beyond YouTube with the platform she has created,” said Thorndike.
This article was written by Cathlin Cantrell.