All it took was six seconds for comedic actress Arielle Vandenberg to launch her career. It was 2013, and after accidentally posting a home video of herself on a brand new platform called Vine, she unknowingly plunged herself into the world of Vine stardom. Now, she makes funny, daily videos that now can garner up to 2,000 comments in hours.
To an outsider, it might seem like the insane popularity of Vine celebrities can be attributed to luck, or at least an increasingly ADD audience. But, in fact, creating a successful Vine account can take a huge amount of skill, and answers a rather complicated question: how do you tell a complete, compelling story in the shortest possible amount of time?
The success of Vine celebrities has not been trivial. Early Vine star Jerome Jarre went from being homeless in New York City to landing a partnership with Gary Vaynerchuck through his popular six-second videos (for which he now has 8 million followers and swarms of swooning fans.) Other Vine celebrities have gone on to secure their own movie deals, record deals, and reality TV shows.
So what makes some Vine stars more successful than others? Judging from the vast variety of Vine content, there’s no formula for success: one guy gets hit in the face with various objects (4.3 million followers), one couple makes folk music (4 million followers) and another guy narrates the lives of random bystanders (4.5 million followers).
According to Arielle, who has racked up 1.1 million followers through her goofy and charming every day life videos, you can only succeed on Vine by staying as true to yourself as you possible can. It’s a platform that rewards you for being “you.”
IVY: How did you become a Vine celebrity?
To be honest, I didn’t really understand what Vine was initially! I thought it was a video editing app, and I accidentally posted something and thought: oh no, I think that just went on the internet. When I realized what Vine actually was, I realized that I could make this my own TV channel. I decided to do little skits and jokes that made me laugh. I don’t try to do things for other people. If it makes me laugh, that’s what I want to put up there.
I wasn’t trying to be a Vine celebrity. I did not know that it would turn into a thing. Now, I’ve met awesome people and friends through it. Amazing people watch my vines and I think to myself: you do? Why? It’s so flattering that a director or actor I admire will be watching my videos.
IVY: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
When you’re in this business, everyone tells you “no” all the time. Thankfully, I was prepared for people saying rude stuff to me from a young age. I started modeling at fourteen, which meant I was always judged on my appearance. I never let that get to me! I don’t care if someone else’s goal is for me to be five pounds lighter. This is the way I’m built. That experience works in my favor today, because people can be very mean in the comments they post, and I have to learn not to care. I’ve had people tell me to my face that my hair looks terrible, and to cut it all off. Someone once wrote: ”No offense, but you look like you do drugs.” Well, guess what, that’s offensive! I don’t do drugs. I call those people out all the time.
It’s interesting having anonymous people say mean things to you from the other end of the world. Those are comments people would never say to your face. And when you call those people out, they automatically say: “omg I love you so much, thanks for noticing me!” All they want is a rise out of you. It’s an attention thing. I’ve blocked people on Instagram and they’ve messaged me on Twitter to thank me for blocking them. All they wanted was to be noticed.
IVY: What’s the toughest thing about the industry?
Everyone always feels like they’re in competition out here. I try never to be in competition with anyone, partly because there’s so much more that goes into booking a job then whether you’re a good actor or not. If you look the part, you’ve got it. I’ve left auditions thinking that I was never going to work in this town again. Then I get a call back, even though I thought I had ruined my life.
You almost feel like you have to weasel your way into relationships in this industry, and I’m not very good at networking like that. I want to make genuine connections with people. If I don’t have those, I don’t want to be in that conversation.
IVY: What do few people know about you?
I know sign language. When I’m watching someone do sign language, I know what they’re saying. I can eavesdrop pretty easily!
Also, I grew up doing ballet for fifteen years. When you’re on stage, you’re all in it together and you have to work hard as a team to make it look visually perfect. A huge part of my life was built on teamwork. I love good, solid teams. They can get you so far.
IVY: What do you do in your free time?
I started doing stand up comedy last year. I’ve only done it seven times so far, and it’s so hard and scary, but it’s my happy place. In improv, the trick is to just go for it. You can’t break character otherwise it takes you out of the moment.
My tip for improv is to be either way over the top, or way under energetic. The middle ground is where you fall into every other standup routine. Big physical comedy is very funny to watch. But then there’s something great about serious understatement. You need the extremes. The middle ground doesn’t work as well in comedy.
IVY: How do you block out the audience?
Oh it’s so hard! The first time I had a bad stand-up routine, I just made fun of myself in public. That’s a normal stand up thing to do. You just say: “Well, that joke didn’t land…. “ It gets everyone back into laughing.
The first stand up show I ever did had two hundred people in the audience. The next one I did had fourteen people. You would think that the fewer people there are, the more comfortable you are. No! When there are more people, everyone makes each other laugh, and the energy is higher. People are out with friends, having some drinks, and trying to escape work. It’s always better with more people.
IVY: How can the IVY Community help support you?
If anyone is looking for a funny lady, give me a ring! As an actress, I’m up against big names all the time, and when there’s a choice between me and someone who already has a huge name, directors are going to go with the huge name. I’m still looking for that one chance to prove myself. What I do best is comedy! If someone is making something and wants to give me a chance, reach out. A lot of people see me as a dramatic actress, but I want to be seen for what I want to do. If you’re a pediatrician, you don’t want to be doing brain surgery!