Meet Erika and her channel full of cultural observations, travel snapshots, and plenty of CRAMPS. She’s funny, adventurous and (most importantly) genuine and we think you should check her out…
Erika Felton, who is better known online as redheadabroad, hasn’t had the upbringing of an average (nearly-)18-year-olds. In 2011, her family relocated to Nanjing in China, where she went to high school and spent most of her teenage years. Many of the videos on her channel are about her observations in China, while others document her travels all over the world.
Erika is a gem of the community; she’s not one of those third-generation creators who began vlogging in the hopes of getting a piece of that sweet YouTube cash. She’s funny, adventurous, and most importantly genuine – both in who she is, and in her intentions behind making videos.
“I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that film and performing are the two things I’ve never not been in love with; I mean pure, unadulterated, love,” she explains, thinking back to when she first discovered this medium at the age of three.
“I think what I’m so drawn to is the idea that you are virtually limitless with what can be done within the realms of film. I am fascinated with how we, as filmmakers, have the ability to grab hold of an audience and not let them go; completely encapsulating them in a world outside of their own.”
Erika’s subscription box is full of other budding filmmakers, including Sammy Paul, Hazel Hayes, and Jack Howard. “No matter who I list, I’m going to kick myself for not having included a dozen other brilliant content creators,” she says, when asked who on YouTube inspires her own content.
“Oh, and Bertie Gilbert,” adds Erika, “the guy who makes any filmmaker his age insanely jealous yet incredibly humbled by the amount of raw talent the guy has. Some personal favourites being Rocks That Bleed and Let it Be.”
She started her channel in 2013, and while it has a small audience, it has consistently producing high-quality and interesting content. “I’m really proud of my This is… series because it encapsulates exactly how I saw each location,” she says of the videos which could be described as travel vlogs.
“However, I’m most proud of CRAMPS: January because of what it started on my channel. It’s achieving what I wanted to be showcasing when I started YouTube three years ago; the ‘not so normal’ normal life of a teenage expat in China.”
After binge-watching the monthly vlog series of both Sammy Paul and Hazel Hayes, Erika decided she wanted to give it a go. “I’m not a huge fan, nor do I think I’d be particularly capable, of daily vlogging,” she explains.
“[But] something about compiling a month’s worth of footage captured my attention,” continues Erika. “I jokingly tweeted Sammy saying I would do 2016 if only I had an acronym for ‘CRAMPS’, as the PMS [Pretentious Monthly Scrapbook] puns had to live on. Precisely 24 minutes later, he replied with what is now Completely Ripping-off All Monthly Pretentious Scrapbooks and I thought, ‘Well, I can’t back out now’.”
Almost five months into the series, she admits that it’s been both a challenging and rewarding experience. “As a filmmaker I want each month to have a narrative arc and creating that story can be difficult to say the least,” she reflects.
“But, as soon as the piano score is added and it fades to black I do the biggest sigh of relief. There’s nothing better than feeling like you can’t salvage a month’s worth of footage and then suddenly it all falls into place.”
“I love the upload, too!” she continues. “Sometimes I’ll get a comment that mentions a tiny aspect of the month, like the colour grading of a certain section or a choice of song, and I love those comments so much because knowing my audience picks up on these things holds me accountable to continue bettering myself with every new instalment.”
As she approaches graduation in May and a move across the world to London, Erika has been thinking a lot about what she wants for her channel and what role she wants it to play in her future. One thing she hopes is that she’ll be able to present a more rounded representation of her life by including some personal things that may be a bit uncomfortable to discuss.
Besides that, she’d also like to make her first short film. “I have a few ideas that have been sitting on the back-burner, and once I’ve graduated, I’ll have more time to explore them.,” says Erika.
“I never want to lose sight of where my passions lie and if suddenly they jump off in a different creative direction, then to follow it – safe in the knowledge that my channel will be the place for them to be expressed. However most of all, I want to make three-year-old Erika proud.”
Why not discover more new YouTubers! We’ve got plenty more channel spotlights just for you:
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