Being forced to produce a fun fact about yourself on the first day of class causes most college students at least a little anxiety. Not only is stating your name, hometown and major — especially for Gallatin students — stressful, but the dreaded fun fact question can feel intimidating. However, first-year Lucy McFadin had her answer ready to go: “I have a YouTube channel.”
Like most first-years, McFadin felt anxious for the beginning of class: excited to finally fulfill her dream of moving to New York City, but stressed about the move-in process with her parents. Despite her anxieties, McFadin documented all of these experiences with her vlog camera, later posting them online for the world to see.
McFadin is a lifestyle and fashion influencer. She produces content related to beauty, fashion, health and lifestyle for her nearly 13,000 Instagram and 5,000 YouTube followers.
Since her arrival at NYU, McFadin has posted four New York-related videos on her Youtube channel, the first of which has already received 18,000 views. These videos depict things many NYU students can relate to, like the struggle of waiting in line for hours at the NYU bookstore on the first day of class or leaving a seminar feeling totally out of place and unprepared. However, she also films some moments that are unique to her experience as an influencer, like attending invite-only fashion industry events.
The Orange County, California native started her YouTube channel in 2018.
“I always wanted to do YouTube,” she said. “I just watched it so much and thought, ‘I want to be doing this.’ Eighth grade, me and one of my friends made a video about fashion and we called ourselves the ‘fashion duo,’ and posted it on YouTube for literally 12 hours until someone at school found it and we got all scared and embarrassed and deleted it.”
Eventually, McFadin worked up the courage to begin her YouTube career.
“The beginning of my senior year last year, I was just like, ‘Screw it, I’m going to do it.’ So I did it and no one really made fun of me,” she said.
In the past year, McFadin has posted almost 50 videos, with content ranging from Q&As in her bedroom back home to her health routine. Her most popular video, with over 20,000 views, is one she posted in April about getting into NYU.
It is McFadin’s New York City and NYU-related content that is her most lucrative. She has made vlogs and posts about her college admissions process, traveling to New York and her apartment hunt this summer. (She lives off-campus with a friend from California).
“I don’t know why, but being in New York makes people want to follow you more,” McFadin said.
McFadin plans to leverage this newfound audience by producing both NYU-specific and New York City-related content. She plans to showcase her life as an NYU student.
“I really want to do a lot of college ‘Week in My Life’ vlogs, and really just taking my camera to classes and showing people, ‘Wow, that class really just stressed me out,’” she said.
“Week in My Life” vlogs have become important in determining a university’s reputation among prospective students. Thousands of students watch these videos to try and get a more nuanced understanding of their dream schools, and with NYU topping many students’ lists, these vlogs carry extra weight. McFadin strives to show an unbiased and authentic point of view on the NYU experience. She wants her viewers to understand how going to NYU is different than going to any other school, and the hard work that truly goes into it.
As far as academics, the Gallatin student hopes her concentration will prepare her for a career in the beauty industry.
“I’m really passionate about skincare and I want to own a skincare line when I’m older,” McFadin said. “So I want to go into entrepreneurship and marketing but I definitely want to talk with my advisor and see what else he would recommend to learn.”
McFadin is learning how to balance being a full-time student with a career as an influencer on the side. Spending a day bouncing between classes and industry events is her new normal. Luckily, McFadin has a support system to help her navigate the overwhelming fashion/beauty/media industry. McFadin’s sister, Ella McFadin, is also a New York-based influencer. Ella moved here earlier this year and works for Gucci, and it was she who helped Lucy start taking her own Instagram more seriously after finding her own success on the platform.
McFadin’s student planner is filled in with academic classes, business meetings and industry events in colored pens. She is committed to making the most of both her education and new life in the city, and said she never passes up an event invitation because it is too big or too small. She embodies the independent and motivated ethos that many NYU students strive to possess, taking advantage of the city and carving out a name for herself.
Email Jordana Bornstein at [email protected]