Bethany Mota has achieved more by age 19 than most people achieve in a lifetime.
When she was 13, she began posting videos of herself on YouTube. Now she has nearly 8 million subscribers and she gets between 2o and 30 million views per week there.
Mota also has about 4 million followers on Instagram, where her average photo gets 500,000 likes. Additionally, Mota runs a clothing line with Aeropostale, which will generate more than $US50 million in sales in 2014.
But 13 is young to start posting videos on YouTube. Mota spoke at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference on Tuesday, and her father Tony (who is also her manager) was there to support her.
We asked him: “It must be tough to watch your teenage daughter post videos online. How did you cope with that?”
At first, it was difficult, Mota’s father explained. But he quickly realised the videos were actually good for his daughter’s health and self-esteem.
When Mota was 13, she was depressed. Her parents didn’t realise it at the time, but she was being cyber bullied. Her father says she was losing a pound a day and was often curled up in bed.
“I was kind of going through a rough time in my life,” Mota explained when she was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. “I was being bullied and I didn’t have a lot of confidence and I always wanted to make videos.”
On June 12, 2009, she posted her first video with encouragement from her friend Alison. Mota was shy and soft-spoken, not the vibrant, smiling trendsetter viewers watch now.
While it was tough for Tony to see his 13-year-old buy and wear makeup, he loved seeing his daughter flourish and build confidence. He realised the videos were therapeutic for Mota.
Now, Tony likens his support of Bethany’s videos to a parent who attends a child’s baseball or football games and cheers. He couldn’t be prouder.
Here’s Bethany’s first-ever video below, when she was coming out of her depression.
And here’s Bethany now.