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Lithium YouTuber Ella Snyder on being a college student and fashion influencer

Sep. 4, 2018
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Ella Snyder is no stranger to hard work. Aside from managing a YouTube channel nearing 100,000 subscribers, the nineteen-year-old Boston-born creative works at Brandy Melville, models professionally, and is a full-time student at Parsons The New School. I caught up with Ella to gain some insight into her life in New York City.

Lithium Magazine: What was the inspiration behind your YouTube channel?

Ella Snyder: To be quite honest, I started my YouTube channel when I was a bored eighth grader. I would come home from school and watch beauty vloggers like Bethany Mota and Meredith Foster and I wanted to be just like them. I guess you could say they were the original inspiration I had to begin posting on YouTube. However, as I have grown up and changed, so [have] my channel and the people I look up to on YouTube. Right now I am really inspired all of the up-and-coming fashion and lifestyle YouTubers I keep seeing pop up in my recommended videos.

Lithium: In addition to being a YouTuber, you’re also a student at Parsons. How do you stay motivated to constantly create?

Ella: My first year of school at Parsons, I had to take a break from a lot of the hobbies that  I loved so that I could focus on doing well academically. Now that I am going into my second year at the school, I have learned to bring school into my videos, making things a bit easier. A lot of my viewers love seeing what I’m up to in classes and how Parsons is going, and the positive feedback I have received has been a great source of motivation for me.

Lithium: What was the transition from high school to college like for you?

Ella: I went to a public arts high school in Boston, so for me it only felt natural to go to an arts college. The transition from Boston to New York and from high school to college was like one big life upgrade. Sure, I had to adapt to the hectic lifestyle of a New York City college student, and learn to handle a larger workload, but suddenly I was in a bigger city with many more opportunities and so much more to do. It was the most exciting change I have ever made for myself.

Lithium: How do you juggle school, work, YouTube, and other freelance projects?

Ella: Juggling everything on my plate (and there is a lot!) has been really hard for me. I work in product research for a very popular clothing company, I model, I make videos, and I am a full-time student. And even though it can be hard to do it all, it’s not impossible. Every day, I look at my schedule and see what I can do. If I work a 9-5 shift, I ask myself, “Can I vlog this and make it seem interesting?” Same thing goes for classes and photo shoots. In high school I would come home from classes and lay in bed and watch YouTube videos for hours on end. I don’t do that anymore. I record my everyday life as I tackle what’s on my schedule for that day. When I have free time, I edit. If I simply have too much, or if my day looks like it’s going to be a bore, I don’t vlog that day.  

Lithium: Now that you’re off from school, what does a typical day look like for you?

Ella: Now that it’s summer, every day in my life looks completely different, which I love. It keeps me from going insane! One day I could wake up to ten messages from my agent saying I have to be in Midtown for castings all day. Another day I might be working in the store, helping customers, scoping out outfits we can use for inspiration for new pieces, and rearranging the store’s layout. If by chance I have the day off, I love spending the whole day with my friends. We love hanging out in Tompkins Sq. Park, thrift shopping in Brooklyn, and wandering around SoHo. 

Lithium: Your Youtube channel and Instagram (@ellasnyder) are pretty fashion-focused. How would you describe your style?

Ella: I get asked to describe my style all the time and it never gets easier to answer! I think that’s because my style is always evolving. I love wearing vintage pieces I’ve never seen anyone else in before, and I love pairing really dainty pieces with heavier and edgier things. Somedays I want to dress like a cowboy, other days I want to look like I just raided my grandma’s closet. I don’t have a word I could use to fit my style into any single category. I really like Reese Blutstein’s (@double3xposure) style and if I could, I would totally snag Devon Carlson’s wardrobe (@devonleecarlson). I just want to play dress-up.

Lithium: Would you say that your style has evolved since moving from Boston to New York?

Ella: FOR SURE. Going to such a fashion-oriented school has been super inspiring when it comes to getting dressed every morning. I showed up to my first day of classes freshman year and saw students walking through the halls in everything from head-to-toe designer to hype streetwear to really wild thrifted looks you’d never be able to find elsewhere. I wanted to burn my wardrobe immediately and start from scratch. I didn’t do that, but New York has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone...and style what I already own in ways I never thought to before.

Lithium: Do you have any upcoming projects you can clue us in on?

Ella: Right now [I’m] super busy with Fashion Week castings. This could be the season I walk my first show. I also was recently interviewed by The Today Show about social media and the beauty industry, and am currently waiting for that to air. Other than that, I have a bunch of new content going up on YouTube in the upcoming weeks. There’s a lot to look forward to!

Lithium: Today’s digital media platforms are somewhat cluttered with ads, sponsorships, and clickbait. How do you balance the need to generate income with creating authentic content?

Ella: I’ve always had this rule for myself to only work with companies I believe in and truly love. I may get an email about a sponsorship that will pay my rent for that month, but if it’s a product I don’t like or I don’t think will translate well for my image or viewers, I am obviously not going to do it. My YouTube channel daily life as a girl trying to make it in New York City. I’d never want to do anything, or put anything online that didn’t real true to who I am.

Lithium: The word ‘influencer’ has been thrown around a lot lately—both in good and bad contexts. What does being a social media influencer mean to you?

Ella: To me, being a social media influencer means letting the rest of the world in on [my] personal world. I’ve always thought of my YouTube channel like one big diary that the entire world has access to, and for some reason it’s just kind of stuck and built up this really wild following! It’s cool to know that so many people think what I’m up to is worth subscribing to, and I guess that’s what being an influencer is.