I can't imagine that being a teenager in 2017 is easy, never mind a teenager with millions of eyeballs on you daily. No pressure, right? Having the responsibly of fame in the social media era is probably awesome, but also a huge challenge. Stars Brent Rivera (19) and Marcus Scribner (17) handle it beautifully. They don't shy away from their followings or the fact that deep down, they're total dorks. Their new YouTube Red comedy Alexander IRL, which is released January 11th, revisits the classic tale of youngsters navigating high school while wanting popularity, and of course, the girls. When speaking with the two on the phone prior to the film's release, I realize how much they can relate to their characters (your average teen), and how that authenticity will continue paving the way for their success.
Rivera, who continues rising to YouTube fame with hilarious, relatable videos about daily life, has over 2.5 million followers. Scribner, who stars on the hit show Black-ish has nearly 100,000 Instagram followers alone. None of this makes either feel the need to change who they are, though. Scribner tells me he embraces his love of video games and Star Wars with his fans. "The real me will always be there. I try to make sure social media reflect who I really am and things I really enjoy," he says. Rivera is on the same page.
"With YouTube videos, they’re so homemade, and I involve everyone who’s already a part of my normal life. It just all comes together, so it’s natural and organic," says Rivera. Their endearing and relatable nature is why fans can't get enough, even if they are awkward "nerds" trying to figure themselves out like their characters.
"When I read the script, I related to it. I connected myself to Alexander in a way because I’m a nerd, I like to get good grades in school," says Rivera. "I definitely come off as a corky type of guy... I try to really show that in my videos, and I am that type of person — at my school, in the classroom, with my teachers."
Although Scribner works alongside vets like Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross on his wildly successful show, he's still coming out of his shell. "I’ve always been that introverted kid who doesn’t really talk a lot... Usually I’m very quiet and shy, especially at school," he says.
YouTube star, actor, or usual high school teen, everyone faces the same challenges when they're coming into their own. "Everyone’s trying to fit in, a lot of teens can relate to that," Rivera says. "That’s why it’s special." His real-life buddy Scribner agrees, revealing he's had his own self-realizations lately. "I’ve definitely looked in the mirror, like, ‘Who am I?,'" he says. But just before hanging up, he offers one piece of advice to anyone trying to find themselves: "Just have fun while you still can."
If these two keep up their self-aware, take-me-as-I-am attitude, I have no doubt fans will be seeing a lot more of them.