Sixteen-year-old Alana Lintao knows a thing or two about YouTubers. She started on the platform at five years old, jumping to Musical.ly (now TikTok) back in 2016. It’s her roots that inspired the “quirky teen YouTuber,” a character she invented in April that went viral and kicked off a whole TikTok trend. 

“Is this on?” she asks in the first video, which she captioned as “every teen girl YouTuber.” “I’m such a bad YouTuber!” 

These self-deprecating quips are punctuated by groovy, VSCO-inspired title screens that could have come straight out of Emma Chamberlain, Jazzy Anne, or Olivia Somersille’s videos.

@alanalintao

IS THIS ACCURATE OR WHAT the vsco font gets me EVERYTIME #fyp #foryou #viral #petlife #bestfandom OpenForDelivery

♬ original sound - alanalintao

It’s not necessarily what Lintao says in the video, which received over six million views and two million likes, but how she says it. She claps her hands over her mouth, has a general disgruntled air, and looks at the camera like the device itself is lame. Gen Z creators are too cool for sincerity, which plagues the high-concept, thoughtful, often apology-laden videos of their millennial predecessors. Instead, today’s teen creators make content that is purposefully unpolished, so viewers don’t get the impression that they did something as embarrassing as put effort into their work. It is this elaborate act of not caring that Lintao parodies, and she has earned over 190,000 TikTok followers for doing it. 

As this next class of influencers defines themselves through Hollywood Fix paparazzi videos and Famous Birthdays interviews, Lintao is growing a following right alongside them, parodying it all. 

When and why did you start poking fun at teen YouTubers? 

This all happened in April. I was under a strict quarantine at the time so I was SUPER bored in my house. I had thought about starting a [new] YouTube channel that same day, so I was binge watching YouTubers to gain some inspiration for what could've been my own quirky YouTube channel. As I was watching videos I was like, wait…, they're all talking the same, they all have similar intros, and they're all editing the exact same way. Then I did what any kid my age does when they have an idea—make a TikTok! 

What are the hallmarks of a "quirky teen YouTuber"?

"Quirky YouTubers" absolutely LOVE iced coffee and making fun of themselves. Another hallmark of a "quirky YouTuber" is going ham on the editing: Zoom ins, crazy filters, extreme sound effects, etc. They also tend to be super ditzy and clumsy.

Which YouTubers do you follow?

I've always been a huge fan of Emma Chamberlain, Larray, Jazzy Anne, and Olivia Somersille! I've definitely gained some inspiration for my videos from watching some of their videos. I also find it crazy that because of my YouTube parodies, I've been able to collaborate with the YouTubers that I've looked up to, like Jazzy and Olivia!

What has been your most popular video?

[My first “quirky Youtuber” video, which] actually started a TikTok trend when one of my new TikTok friends, @duncanyounot, created a video inspired by mine and it blew up with over 14M+ views!

@duncanyounot

no one: 12 year old girls on youtube:

♬ original sound - duncanyounot

Which led to even more videos:

@piffpeterson

i wanna make more of these lol

♬ original sound - piffpeterson
@callinallgamers

13 year old youtuber breaks into the hype house (ib: @duncanyounot )

♬ original sound - callinallgamers
@jordan7jc

relatable youtuber check 😌 ib: @duncanyounot

♬ original sound - jordan7jc

What do people say in the comments?

For the most part, my comments are all positive! My goal has always been to make people laugh, so it makes me super happy when I see comments like "This part of the video made me laugh!" or "When's your next video?" Another comment I always seem to get on my videos is "This reminds me of @____!" which is actually what led to my collab with Jazzy Anne. All of her followers were tagging her in my videos asking for a collab, so we ended up making a collaborative video together! 

Then of course there are the hate comments, which I think are inevitable and come with being a creator on TikTok. I just try my best to ignore hate comments by focusing on all of the positive comments, because for every hate comment, there are hundreds of positive ones.

I notice you sometimes bring your friends into your videos—do all of you watch YouTube/TikTok?

Yes! I love bringing my friends into my videos. Because I film so much, the quirky character almost comes natural to me now, which is funny. But when I have my friends in videos, they aren't used to filming so we usually binge watch YouTube videos similar to the video we're about to film beforehand to try and get into character!

How do you come up with video ideas?

A majority of my videos are just improv! I'll have one common YouTuber phrase that I want to be the focal point of the video and then work around it and come up with a title for the video later. I'll have video ideas pop into my head at the most random times of the day! Whenever I think of an idea I write it in my Notes [app] so I don't forget about it. My Notes app is literally just a rough draft of all my videos I've posted. 

Would you ever do something more with your quirky YouTuber character, or is it just for fun?

I'm honestly not sure. Recently "characters" on TikTok have been becoming more and more popular. TikTokers these days are getting signed with huge agencies, joining collab houses, and making money moves. I would love to turn this into something more if I can, but as of right now, TikTok is my side hustle!