…It is so crazy to be in such an influential position. I’m very grateful that my voice can always be heard by those that choose to follow me. I’ve recently started what I want to be a movement of sorts called #LoveYouPassItOn. I post about someone I admire for whatever reason, talk about them and why I love them, and finish by telling them to pass it on! I’m hoping to start a butterfly effect of love and positivity spread throughout the internet which can sometimes be a very negative place…
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Summer Mckeen, a content creator and actress best known for her beauty, lifestyle and fashion content. Since she began creating content just 5 years ago, Summer has amassed a following of over 4 million aggregate dedicated fans. Summer is most known for her Snapchat original series, Endless Summer. The show is a coming-of-age series following her life in Laguna Beach produced by Bunim Murray Productions. The first season aired on Snapchat as part of their original 12×12 programming slate with over 25 million unique viewers. Beyond the acting realm, Summer’s influential and captivating content has been tapped for a range of collaborations. Summer has also renewed her year-long ambassadorship program with Sephora Collection, in which she has been featured in multiple commercial segments and in-store appearances, as well as being one of ten members of the Sephora Collection® “Troop SC.” Additionally, Summer debuted her collections with Billabong and Maybelline earlier this year. Prior to these partnerships, Summer has also worked with Clean & Clear on a two-year ambassadorship with multiple appearances as well as with Brandy Melville for e-commerce. Other recent collaborations include brands such as Marc Jacobs, Benefit Cosmetics, Target Beauty, Smashbox Cosmetics, Timberland, Hollister and Nasty Gal.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Summer! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Eugene, Oregon with my family of five, going to a spanish immersion school and participating in sports, art classes and acting classes. My two older sisters and I have always loved filming ourselves and making funny videos together. I’ve always enjoyed being alone and just creating things… whether that’s baking a cake, making a mini movie, painting or DIY-ing clothes. So, this whole YouTube thing totally makes sense for me. I really got into it when I was about 16. I started to be consistent with my uploads and even found an amazing manager to help my growing platform. I graduated high school when I was 18, and I moved right to the OC (Orange County). I’ve lived here for about two years now by myself, and I absolutely love it.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I found my love for editing when my dad brought home his new MacBook one day in 2011. I really enjoyed messing around on the editing app iMovie by myself. When I found out about YouTube, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I started by filming myself doing my makeup and showing my outfits of the week. Once I started feeling more comfortable in front of the camera, I filmed videos that were more lifestyle based, and I opened up a little more about my personal life. This seemed to really resonate with my subscribers, and I loved sharing my more intimate life, so I integrated that much more into my content with “question and answer” videos, life updates, and things like that. I realized it’s a lot easier to address my viewers as my friends. It’s more comfortable for me that way, and I know my viewers feel the same. It just feels very real and relatable. I’ve just genuinely enjoyed creating in this space, so I’ve never stopped and I continue to try new, fun things along the way!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Here’s something that really amazes me: When I began creating makeup videos, I used products by Maybelline. I’ve just always loved using makeup from this brand, because they’re great quality, easy to use, and not super expensive. Years later, around December of 2018, I began working on a product collaboration with Maybelline to come out with six unique shades of my own lipgloss. We released them in July of this year (2019) at Walmart, and since then, they’ve been selling like crazy. This blows my mind!! I’m SO thankful for all the incredible opportunities it has brought into my life.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I make mistakes all the time. I swear, I’m one of the most oblivious person sometimes… When I was 17, I made the mistake of putting my business email in the description box of all my videos, so anyone could find it and email me. I had this older man emailing me the strangest things every day. He would make comments about specific parts of my videos that he liked… mixed in with him talking about the rabbits and birds he would watch in his backyard. He made inappropriate comments about my body and would always say “no grow boobs too big” in all the emails. I made sure to block him and remove my email from my description box. LOL.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
This summer was packed with some of the most exciting projects I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on. Like I mentioned earlier, I was able to work with Maybelline on summer-themes lip glosses. That was incredible!! They took me and some of my friends to the Hamptons for a weekend, put together an amazing meet-n-greet for me at Walmart that was free for anyone to attend, and they showed me around the Maybelline HQ in NYC. I also got to work with my favorite swim/surf brand EVER, Billabong. I worked with them to create several clothing pieces made to be worn any day in the summertime. I got to shoot the collection all over SoCal. We went to Venice Beach, Malibu and Laguna. It was a blast designing each piece as well as modeling them!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity being well-displayed in the entertainment industry is something that should definitely be prioritized. Entertertainment is something that we seem to be constantly surrounded by. If it is something that is so used in each and every life, I believe that each and every life should be represented well! I know when I’m watching a movie or viewing photos from my favorite photographer, I appreciate when I can relate to the actor or model that I’m looking at. How can something really resonate with us if we can’t see ourself in it? Everyone should feel included. Everyone should feel welcome, and the internet — along with traditional media — should feel like an open, safe space to be you.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
When I first started, I wish someone would have told me that
1, this would end up consuming the majority of my life. I would’ve liked to hear this because going into it, I had no clue that what seemed like just a hobby would turn into something so huge. I’m basically a young CEO, and it is a very big responsibility that I have had to learn how to take on. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love what I do, and I’m SO thankful for it… There was just no way I could have prepared for what was to come because no one told me how big this was going to be!
2, Unfortunately, the things people say about you will eventually get to you. There is a lot of talk on the internet. LOTS of it. People don’t hold back from how they truly feel because it is so easy to be anonymous and/or think that the person being talked about will “never see it.” I started getting hate a few years after I started, but it never really affected me. I think the more you see it, the more it wears you down. I try to stay as far away from the negativity as I can because it isn’t good for my mental state, but sometimes there’s no escaping it. This is something that I’ve slowly been learning how to deal with. These people don’t truly know me. They don’t know my intentions. As long as I am confident in who I am and I know my true intentions, I’m okay.
3. You will find the most amazing people in your life through doing what you’re doing. I had no clue that I was about to meet some of the most talented people in the world by doing this job! Social media is insane in the sense that virtually anyone can talk to anyone. I’ve been able to talk to some of the people I looked at as idols growing up. This life is CRAZY!!
4. Editing takes way longer than you think it does. This is true!! If you want to make videos, you better love editing or get someone to do it for you because it takes hours upon hours to create a video. Fortunately, editing is one of my favorite things to do so I enjoy creating every second of my videos. I put a lot of love into each video.
5. You are in charge of what this career turns into. It seems like there are a million outside voices telling me what to do at all hours of the day, but ultimately, what I want to do is up to me and only me. This has been a very good life lesson I’ve learned as well. I can listen to, and take into account what other people are saying, but only I have the power to make what I want happen!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Stay true to who you are and what you enjoy watching and/or creating. Also, make time to keep in touch with yourself. This may sound silly, but in this chaotic world of social media, it is easy to lose touch with who you are and what you really want.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It is so crazy to be in such an influential position. I’m very grateful that my voice can always be heard by those that choose to follow me. I’ve recently started what I want to be a movement of sorts called #LoveYouPassItOn. I post about someone I admire for whatever reason, talk about them and why I love them, and finish by telling them to pass it on! I’m hoping to start a butterfly effect of love and positivity spread throughout the internet which can sometimes be a very negative place.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My first thought is my family who have supported me endlessly. They’ve been by my side every step of the way… through the cringey videos, messups and obsticals I’ve had to overcome. There have been a couple of times where I felt like completely stopping, but once I talk to my parents, sisters, aunt or cousins, I’m immediately helped back up to my feet and surged with inspiration to keep going.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Thunder only happens when it’s raining” is a quote from the song “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. To me, this means the bad really only happens if you’re letting it. If it’s already raining, then the thunder is going to come. If you let the sun stay out, there’s no rain, which means no thunder.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
It would be so cool to sit down with Zendaya and talk to her all about how she has reaminde such a strong, confident woman in a world that tries to bring down those who are successful. She is so inspirational, talented and powerful. I hope to meet her one day!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I have an account on pretty much every social media platform, so if you just search @summermckeen, you’ll find me!! I hope to meet you there!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
Thank YOU so much!! Feels good to speak more about things that really matter.