YouTube Stars Who Went Mainstream in 2014

by Stacy Lambe 7:15 AM PST, December 16, 2014
Photo: YouTube

There is no question that YouTube celebrities have become legitimate entertainers in 2014. This year, more than any in the past, these personalities penetrated the mainstream of the pop culture landscape. From films to award shows and everything in between, these Internet stars were practically everywhere proving that the millions of subscribers they have online want to see them on more than just their cellphones.

As we say goodbye to 2014, we want to toast some of the biggest YouTubers who went mainstream.

1. Todrick Hall: When it comes to parodies, Hall is person to watch. He skewered everything from Mean Girls (“Mean Gurlz”) to Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” (“Cell Block Django” starring Mariah Carey and Beyonce lookalikes). In 2014, Hall took things further thanks to his new manager, Scooter Braun, who happens to be the guy behind Justin Bieber’s success. In addition to dancing in an elaborate opening number for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards that he choreographed, he landed a reality show on MTV, Todrick, which is hitting the airways in 2015.

2. 5 Seconds of Summer: Most fans of the boy band might not realize their humble beginnings involve coming together on YouTube covering pop tunes. However, all that changed once One Direction brought them on tour last year. Now, they are one of this year’s biggest breakout artists, racing up the charts with “She Looks So Perfect” and their self-titled debut album hitting no. 1 in 11 countries. One Direction better watch out because they may have created their biggest competition.

3. Ingrid Nilsen: If you’re not familiar with Nilsen it may be because you know her by her Internet moniker, Missglamorazzi. On YouTube she regularly dispenses advice and DIY tips for beauty, fashion, and health for 3 million plus subscribers. She most recently parlayed her Internet success into a judging gig for the debut season of Project Runway: Threads, the Lifetime spin-off featuring teenage aspiring fashion designers going head-to-head each week.

4. Tyler Oakley: When it comes to Internet fame, it probably doesn’t get any bigger than Oakley, the openly gay personality, who regularly mixes queer politics, pop culture, and humor on a consistent basis. He’s been featured on the covers of Advocate and Tiger Beat, and photographed for Out magazine’s Out 100 and Seventeen. In addition to all his print coverage, Oakley hosted not one but two award shows: MTVU’s Fandom Awards and New Now Next Awards.

5. Leah Ashley: If there’s one thing you need to know about Ashley, it’s this: She is fab! With her fabulously dressed BFF, Mary Darling, the two have launched an online style empire. At, the duo has created a go-to lifestyle guide for the ultimate glam girl. Next year, she’s taking her budding empire to the airwaves with a new talk show, The F.A.B., co-hosted and produced by Tyra Banks.

6. Troye Sivan: The South African may have played the young version of James Howlett in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it’s on YouTube where he’s a real star. His channel offers everything from beautiful covers of pop tunes to honest conversations about sexuality and even some beer pong with his pal Oakley. Earlier this year, his popularity landed him a record deal with Universal Music, and by August, he released his debut EP, TRXYE, which debuted at no. 1 on iTunes in over 55 countries and at no. 5 on the Billboard 200.

7. Bethany Mota: Mota’s path is an interesting one. She rose to fame thanks to her popular haul videos, which showcased her fashion purchases. Those videos eventually expanded into fashion how-tos and then a career outside the Internet. Last year, in addition to partnering with JC Penny and Forever 21, she launched a clothing and accessories line at Aeropostale. In September, she joined the ranks of celebrities competing on Dancing With the Stars. Consistently awarded with top scores, Mota made it all the way to the finals before eventually losing to the unstoppable Alfonso Ribeiro.

8. Hannah Hart: Meet the genius behind My Drunk Kitchen, a YouTube channel on which she cooks while—and you probably guessed it—drunk. The series has become so popular that celebrity guests, including Jamie Oliver, Mary-Louise Parker, and The Fault In Our Stars author John Green, have stopped by her kitchen. Last year, she went on a crowd-funded vlog and cooking tour around the world. This year, she released a parody self-help book and even added film producer to her growing list of skills by producing and starring in the indie comedy, Camp Takota.

9. Grace Helbig: Best known for creating the My Damn Channel webseries, DailyGrace, Helbig has become one of the hardest working crossover stars of the Internet. She quickly landed a correspondent gig on G4’s Attack of the Show! before appearing in Lowes commercials in addition to becoming late-night talk show’s go-to comedy guest. This year she co-produced and also starred in Camp Takota with Hart in addition to launching her own podcast, Not Too Deep With Grace Helbig, and authoring Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown-Up.

Of course this list doesn't represent all the YouTube stars that made a splash this year. Check out YouTube's official rewind of 2014 and remember all the great moments of the past year.