Cronkite student finds success in lifestyle Youtube channel

With a flick of a make-up brush a mermaid emerges in the middle of the desert. A starfish in her hair and purple scales on her neck, Keaton Milburn sits in Scottsdale Arizona’s make-up studio, the Sparkle Bar. She is filming her latest YouTube video, a Halloween mermaid make-up tutorial.

Always on the lookout for fresh content, doing the unexpected comes naturally for Milburn, a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Milburn is an active YouTuber who brings inspirational messages to her more than 300,000 subscribers.

“My favorite thing about being a YouTuber is having a whole other community of people that you can get along with,” Milburn says. “They give me inspiration. People don’t get that you can make real friendships and connections through the internet.”

While Milburn typically films her lifestyle videos by herself today, she deviated from her normal routine in order to partner with the Sparkle Bar.

“I never knew the importance of partnering with people until my channel grew and then I started to really like marketing,” Milburn says. “I realized how important it is not just to meet a brand and work with them once, but to create a genuine relationship with people in that brand so that it carries on whichever direction you go.”

Milburn filmed her first video in 2012 with a GoPro attached to a picture frame. After receiving multiple comments on her Instagram encouraging her, the Texas native created a channel full of make-up tutorials, outfit look-books, and personal travel stories. 

Success didn’t come easy. During her first year Milburn faced her fair share of bullies.

“When I first started making videos my freshman year I was very uncomfortable in front of the camera,” Milburn says. “I was picked on a lot for making YouTube videos — no one really did it at the time. I got comments like ‘She’s really weird. I can’t believe she does that.’ It got to me, so I stopped making videos.”

Milburn has since left the haters behind. After taking a yearlong break she started consistently uploading her lifestyle videos. At approximately 2.7 million views, her most popular video showcases her winter morning routine

“When I started back my sophomore year I was a lot more comfortable with myself,” Milburn says. “I didn’t really care what anyone had to say, I liked my videos. For me, I know why I’m doing it. I’ll sacrifice someone going ‘She’s weird’ if I get to upload a video.”

Milburn’s positive outlook on life has influenced many in the YouTube community, such as Sarah Dunk, 22, a lifestyle vlogger from Toronto, Canada.

“Keaton should be proud of how far she’s come,” Dunk says. "I love her videos, and you can really tell that she genuinely loves doing them, I hope I can be like that too.”

Now Milburn’s videos showcase the new life she has built in Arizona. Her channel displays everything from her rushing process, to her dorm tour at Taylor Place, and even the clothing selections she made for the new school year. Her passion for Arizona State University is apparent.  

“I chose ASU because of the Walter Cronkite School. My sister went to ASU so I might be a little biased,” Milburn laughs. “I love filming and editing. I fell in love with the broadcasting aspect.”

Leaning toward sports journalism, Milburn is excited to continue growing her already successful editing skills. She is driven to get her degree, even as many YouTubers her age are forgoing college.

“I really want my education, and broadcast journalism is what I really want to do,” Milburn says. “As much as I love YouTube and my fans, my education is super important to me.”

Her work ethic is apparent as she balances her YouTube channel, classes and her sorority, Alpha Phi.  

“Keaton inspires me every day because she is not only a light in my life, but everyone else’s that she comes in contact with,” says Natalie Braun, another member of Alpha Phi. “She takes initiative and looking at how successful she is at such a young age is so inspiring."

Fans of Milburn admire her genuine nature and love of life. 

I really love watching Keaton's videos because she is genuine and relatable, which can be difficult to find in a YouTuber,” says Ashley Meadows, 16. “Over the years, I feel like YouTube has grown to be sort of an intimidating platform to broadcast yourself on, but Keaton brings back the natural feel of the website. I also have a channel, and sometimes when I feel unmotivated to film, I watch her videos as a source of inspiration!”

Her sunny personality is coupled with the wisdom from her experiences as an early YouTuber.

“Negativity will never stop — I get negative comments all the time. There will always be people saying negative things wherever you go,” Milburn says. “I make videos because I want to put content out for people to watch. I want to make people happy.”

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