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Why Former Disney Star Christy Carlson Romano Took To YouTube To Talk About Shia Labeouf, The Dangers Of Childhood Fame, And Managing Her Money

Christy Carlson Romano managed to become an influencer. Courtesy of Christy Carlson Romano.

  • Former Disney star Christy Carlson Romano took to social media to discuss childhood fame.

  • His videos have gained traction and garnered memes and admiration from industry insiders.

  • Romano spoke to Insider about his booming YouTube channel and the next steps in his career.

On August 16, Christy Carlson Romano – known for playing the control freak older sister in “Even Stevens” and voicing “Kim Possible” – posted a video on TikTok telling her #YoungerSelf. His reincarnated 16-year-old self asks, “So we’re totally rich and famous, aren’t we?” To which his current self replies, “No. We do mostly online content. But we’re happy.” Later in the exchange, she reassures the disappointed young actress: “We are never alone again. We have finally found love.” This kind of unvarnished honesty has been key to Romano’s recent rebranding as the wise and happy older sister of the internet.

In recent months, the former Disney star has posted a whirlwind of vlogging on her YouTube channel, where she has 346,000 subscribers, covering topics such as her friendship with “Even Stevens” co-star Shia Labeouf, why she traded his struggles in Hollywood to thrive. in Austin, Texas, and how she found peace and love after years of breakups, alcohol abuse, and career ups and downs. In the videos, which she co-produced with husband Brendan Rooney, she walks through Austin in athleisure, spending her day sharing her perspective and the stories of Tinseltown. Her voice is serene; sometimes there is a Starbucks order or a bottle of water in hand; all punctuated by the soothing sounds of nature.

“We want me to feel like I’m in front of someone or that they’re really there to talk to me. What’s important in videos is how intimate they feel,” he said. explained Romano to Insider over the phone; his young daughter running in the background.

Days before posting a vlog regarding former Disney actress Raven-Symoné, Romano spoke to Insider about his burgeoning YouTube channel, how the film industry can keep its older people mentally healthy and safe. young stars and what she wants to work on next.

Romano’s YouTube rebranding was born after a creative ‘plateau’

After entering and exiting the entertainment industry and struggling to move into adult roles, raise a family, and over the past 12 years earning a bachelor’s degree in film studies from Barnard College, Romano launched his YouTube channel in 2019.

In an August video, “How I Lost All My Money,” Romano challenged an online claim that her net worth was “$ 3 million” and described herself as a “mom monetizing my channel. [and] make sponsored content [and] work when I can. ”In another video on her channel,“ The Truth About Disney Channel, ”she described how, as a 37-year-old actress, casting agents told her she was too young to play mom characters on TV.

For now, social media seems to be a creative outlet for her to grow.

“It’s interesting that I’m blogging now because I never really saw myself as a real person. It’s definitely not as scary as I thought it was because I lead with the positive rather than completely with the negative. , that’s why I think it’s really important that people watch my videos instead of looking very casually at the headlines, ”she told Insider.

Romano said vlogging helps him control the narrative and understand his audience. Instead of having to wait months to see if something passes or not with Network Audience Testing, she can get results faster using YouTube’s analytics tool and react accordingly. .

“With that [vlogging], I can be the master of my destiny and see what people want me to talk about and start talking about it and see how many people I can help, ”she said.

Romano hasn’t always planned to revisit his story for YouTube. She started out with cooking videos and intended to cover mostly “light” topics. After moving to Austin in 2020 and finding herself constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic, she turned to filming reaction clips to her old Disney scenes. But after months of producing nostalgic content, she hit a creative “plateau” and decided to build on the success of a self-help TikTok (she has 693,000 subscribers on the platform) which went viral and delved into its vibrant past for stories. that might stick to a larger audience.

Her August video, “Why I’m Not Talking to Shia Labeouf” has racked up over 1.7 million views. A September video, “How Katy Perry Got My Record Deal” has 322,599 views and over 2,000 comments. In the past two months, she has had 79,000 new subscribers and a cumulative 6,762,168 additional views.

Having experimented with various forms of content, Romano is thrilled with his recent success.

“This format which seems to be popular right now is not something I expected to lean on so much. It was just something that I kind of tried,” she said.

Romano has spoken candidly about how Hollywood can better treat young actors

Romano started working as an actress at the age of six and made her big break with Even Stevens at the age of 14. In “How I Lost All My Money,” Romano revealed how, despite his early hits with “Even Stevens,” “Kim Possible,” “Cadet Kelly,” starring in Broadway’s “Beauty and the Beast” and by getting both a recording deal and a book deal, she ended up wasting “millions of dollars” because she didn’t understand how to properly invest her assets. While there is a specificity to her experience, like her other videos, she links her story to what she hopes to see corrected in the entertainment industry.

“It’s not theirs [Disney Channel and Hollywood executives] to rehabilitate the children, but there should be something in the union [Screen Actors Guild] or an advocacy group that prepares kids for their next steps and options, ”the actress told Insider.

In a recent video on Britney Spears guardianship, Romano spoke about his own experience struggling to set financial limits with his family.

“When you pay your parents, the dynamics of the nuclear family are completely disrupted,” she remarked to Insider of the vlog. “This is something people don’t think about because they are inundated by the media with” is she [Britney Spears] a victim or is she not a victim? ‘ So that’s just part of a really big concept I’m talking about because I paid my family. “

“I’m not trying to ruffle the feathers, I’m just trying to speak my truth,” she added.

Romano said former childhood stars like Monique Coleman of “High School Musical” and Alyson Stoner of “Cheaper By The Dozen” have contacted privately to offer encouragement.

Benjamin Di’Costa, a dancer who grew up in a family of televangelists, is one of the many fans who tune into Romano’s YouTube channel in a personal capacity. level.

“Christy highlights that there needs to be more support and resources for young artists… Young artists can be vulnerable or exploited when trying to break into the industry,” he wrote to Insider.

Romano’s vlogs have become a meme, and she absolutely loves it

Since the explosive growth of his YouTube channel, Romano has become an irreverent meme in certain corners of the web like gay Twitter and alternative comedy circles.

On October 4, when Facebook experienced an outage, a Twitter user posted a parody screenshot of Romano’s vlogging of how she “Shut down the Internet,” in what has now become a meme format that spices up its candid stories.

“I’m flattered that people take the time to make a meme because it means they’re interested in my content,” she said between two hearty laughs.

Romano wants to continue producing more vlogs and eventually start making family feature films. She also wants to get into network reality TV, but on her own terms. Speaking in an exuberant voice, the actress detailed her dream of teaming up with fellow Texans Chip and Jonna of the Magnolia Network for a show about building her husband and her dream home in the Lone Star State. .

For now, she’s juggling her thriving YouTube career and being a mom to two.

“There are days when I put on makeup and others when I don’t,” Romano said before leaving for lunch with his mother and young children.

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