Franchesca Leigh Ramsey: Designer. Blogger. Comedian. But not necessarily in that order. Straight from her site and totally legit, Franchesca is a hardcore multi-tasker of awesome, a doer-of-things that range from making simple how-to hair style videos, to creating hilarious parodies, to being People.com and YouTube’s Red Carpet Reporter winner. She’s got a lot under her belt and certainly more to come (and if you doubt it, just check out her neverending credentials and work). Her two YouTube channels (Chescalocs and Chescaleigh) receive massive amounts of traffic, backed by the fact that she recently won 35G’s on YouTube’s NextUp contest. Persephone Magazine, please welcome the talented, hilarious, and amazing Franchesca Ramsey.
Vlogger, blogger, hairstyle guru, comedian, and graphic designer. Damn. You have a lot going on. How do you manage your time so that you are able to do all of these things? Does one take precedence over another?
Well to be honest, for the past few years I’ve been in a perpetual state of self-induced stress trying to get everything done. I’ve been known to pull crazy hours between making videos, working full time, juggling my boyfriend (now fiancÃ©) and our 2 dogs, working out, managing clients, and trying to have a social life. The best way that I’ve found to handle it all is to make a really tight schedule for myself so that every day I have a specific task to complete. For example, Monday and Wednesday, I go to the gym after work, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I run in the a.m. and then film, edit, and/or do freelance after work. Friday evenings are set aside for hanging out or meeting with clients. Saturdays, I film and edit, and Sundays, I grocery shop and do housework. It’s kind of crazy and my friends make fun of me when I say things like, “I’m only available on Thursdays or Fridays after 5 and no later than 10,” but in reality, scheduling each day of my week is the only way I can get things done without feeling overwhelmed.
What are the best parts about being this public figure out on the internet? What are some of the drawbacks?
The friendships are by far the biggest perk. I’ve met so many amazing people around the country and around the world who have now become members of my extended family. It’s really incredible. On the adverse side of that, sharing so much of yourself on the Internet opens you up to a lot of unfair judgement. I try to be careful about what and how much I share online, but there are always people who make wild assumptions about my personal life and say hurtful things as a result. Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing with it, but on a bad day, getting hate mail from a stranger about something they think I did, didn’t do, or shouldn’t do can kinda sting.
Where do you gather material from? Is there one particular subject that you enjoy the most?
I find inspiration EVERYWHERE. I might spot a creative hairstyle on the bus, hear an interesting news story on NPR, or see a music video that keeps me up all night and inspires my next video. I’m constantly developing ideas based on the people I encounter, media I consume, and my daily life experiences. I really love fashion and beauty and entertainment and comedy equally, so I do my best to merge those subjects into whatever I’m creating or sharing. I try to rock a cute hairstyle or outfit in my comedy videos, but also make jokes during my hairstyle videos to make them both informative and entertaining.
You recently won $35K on YouTube’s NextUp contest, which also includes classes on editing and promotion. Congrats! How has the program been so far? What are you going to be working on now that you have this awesome support under your belt?
Thanks! It’s been really awesome. The money was great (of course), but it’s also been really nice to have a direct contact at YouTube with whom I can bounce off ideas and get feedback. I’ve also been able to participate in some pilot advertising programs, have my videos featured on the YouTube homepage, and get press in huge publications like the New York Times and the BBC. YouTube has done a really great job of supporting the NextUP winners and it’s really flattering to see just how much they believe in all of us and want us to succeed. During the Creator Camp, I also got to work with some incredibly talented partners and professional online video creators from around the country who I’m now honored to call part of my extended YouTube family.
I love your most recent video that parodies Beyonce’s Countdown as the “Student Loan Countdown.” You have spoken out on your own debt from school and, personally, as someone also with $100K worth of student loan debt, it’s nothing short of terrifying. How do you deal with it? Did making this video help you in any way?
In the short term, I decline a ton of phone calls. In the long term, I make payments when I can for as much as I can. I did put some of the money from NextUP towards my monthly payments, which gave me a nice little break, but I put a majority of that money aside for my taxes and emergencies. Surprisingly, the “Student Loan Countdown” video did help me deal with it in its own way. Because it was more successful than I had anticipated, last month I had a nice little bonus check from YouTube which I promptly sent to Sallie Mae. It’s scary to think that there’s no end in sight to my loan debt, but I try not to dwell on it. At the end of the day, my education has kept me steadily employed post graduation so I can at least put SOMETHING towards my loans every month. I might not be making as much money as I’d like, but despite my debt, I have a job, a roof over my head, and food in my stomach, so I don’t really have much to complain about.
What amazing work can we look forward from you in the future?
Honestly? I never know what’s next! I just want to keep making people laugh and encouraging women to be creative with their personal style through online video. If the opportunity to do something bigger presents itself, I’m all for it. If not, I’m very happy where I’m at in my career and plan to continue making videos and online content for years to come :)