‘I think when I have a baby, I’m going to livestream the birth.’ Rosie Spaughton is sitting in the Guardian canteen with her wife Rose Ellen Dix, talking about the future of their YouTube channels – and the prospect of parenthood. Known to their one million subscribers simply as Rose and Rosie, they slouch comfortably among a growing pantheon of online celebrities, pulling in vast audiences via the omnipresent video-sharing platform. Their videos have been viewed over 142m times.
What do they do to attract such a huge following? Well, they sit in their living room in Hertford and chat. They talk about their lives, play video games, make up terrible songs on Rose’s acoustic guitar. They are warm, hilarious and unguardedly honest, especially about sex and relationships. In one recent video, they discuss their most hurtful rejections. “Oh, there was that time you tried to have a threesome and they told you to get out,” says Rosie with undisguised glee. “That could only happen to you.”
YouTube superstardom is an emerging form of celebrity, one that’s much more intimate than TV, music or the movies. Rose and Rosie don’t really broadcast to an audience, they share with a community. “YouTubers are relatable, they’re accessible,” says Rosie. “On Twitter, George Clooney doesn’t follow you or tweet you back, but we follow our fans. We talk to them, we meet them, we even know their friends.”