So you want to be a famous content creator


Taylor Jacque, Arts & Rec Editor

For those of you who live under a rock, or enjoy mental and emotional tranquility by not spendings endless hours scrolling on your phone, a content creator is a bit of a catch-all buzzword these days. Loosely, content creators produce, develop, and publish content on social media platforms, websites, blogs, etc. With the rise of platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, content creation has become a rapidly growing industry. In fact, according to, there are currently over 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide and that number is only expected to grow. With a market capture that vast, there is real potential to make significant income by monetizing content through sponsorships, advertising, or merchandise sales. 

Let’s be honest, the thought has likely crossed your mind, as you lay in bed scrolling through your phone, avoiding the reality of that 8 a.m. class or job. But is becoming a famous content creator a pipe dream or a potential reality? How many of us ordinaries actually know anyone who is a content creator, much less a “famous” one? Not to mention, the fact that your life of getting up, going to class or work all week, avoiding boredom on the weekends, eating, sleeping, repeating, is, well, ordinary.

However, for those not familiar with content creators you may be surprised to learn, many of them are  equally ordinary, and their content manifests out of the ordinary, and that’s the point. In many ways the internet has democratized the content that’s available to us. Sure, you’ll always have your Kardashians – the lives of the “Rich and Famous”, but now you also have the lives of people you actually can relate to – not everyone who is famous online drives a Porsche and lives in L.A. Content creators come from all walks of life.

Case in point, Cora Shircel. Cora, is a student here at UW-Whitewater, pursuing her graduate degree in communications by day, and by night, well, she’s just like many other typical 22 year-old students here at Whitewater experiencing life. The only difference is she has nearly 400,000 followers on YouTube and a cool 270,000 followers on TikTok, to boot. According to her YouTube page, she posts anything “that makes me happy and hopefully makes you laugh.” With over 63 million total views, it seems to be a pretty good strategy. 

Originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Cora came to UW-Whitewater in 2018 to join the swim team and stay close to family. When she started her YouTube channel freshman year, she didn’t have aspirations of becoming a famous content creator. In fact, the origins of her channel emerged out of a common experience many freshmen have while adjusting to college life. Typically, it takes some time to settle into college life, find friends, just generally feel comfortable in your new space. As such, Cora and Whitewater didn’t click right away, and she planned to transfer. Recounting the origin story of her channel, Cora said,

“So because I didn’t like it here, I just kind of wanted things to fill my time, things I actually enjoyed doing. So I started my YouTube as a way to enjoy my time without actually enjoying Whitewater.” 

However, like her introduction to Whitewater, her YouTube channel wasn’t a hit right away. Entering the summer after her freshman year and uploading videos religiously over that time, she had around 40,000 followers. It wasn’t until July of that summer when she posted a video titled, “Asking college boys questions girls are too afraid to ask!” went viral, that her channel really took off. 

“Within the span of like three weeks I jumped from 40,000 subscribers at the end of July to like 100,000 on September 1.”

Cora’s content largely centers around what its like to be a 22-year-old student, life with roommates, relationships, fashion, going out on the weekends, with a generous helping of the hilarious yet relatable “ask me anything”, juicy dialogs with friends, or even awkward questions games with her parents. 

“A lot of my audience are the same age as me or maybe just graduated college. So a lot of my content is, day in my life or weekend in my life in college, things like that.”

The basic formula is relatability, for as much as the internet may appear to be filled with “fake news”, many people crave content that is real and relatable. Cora compared it against watching a movie or a T.V. show with a specific character you like,

“It’s similar to watching a character from a movie or t.v. show you like, except with those you don’t have any real emotional connection with them. The whole thing with social media is you feel like you actually have a connection with them. Because you know everything about them, their personal lives, what kind of toothpaste they use, like, super personal things, whereas celebrities there is more of a disconnect, you don’t know that kind of personal stuff.”

With Cora’s online success you might ask why do graduate school? Why not just do social media full time? To this, Cora, responds with some level headed wisdom, 

“I think making social media your only job, it becomes a job… and then it doesn’t become as fun. My job is teaching and then my other job is being a student. Those are my first priorities. That’s kind of why I’ve always tried to have balance in my life with other things because then it still remains more of a hobby, and something fun to continue to enjoy, to look forward to.”

However, as down-to-earth and unassuming as Cora may sound, that is not to say that making content is a walk in the park. It certainly is a skill and talent she has developed over years of diligent effort put into perfecting the craft of content creation. It helps too to be strategic; stacking functions with a Journalism, Advertising, and Marketing degree in addition to a Communications Master which she will complete in August. 

Cora is another testament to the importance of seeking out ways to express yourself that are enjoyable and meaningful to you personally while maintaining a clear understanding of your priorities within a work life balance. Along with some perseverance, maybe the recipe for success in content creation is just being yourself.