Emma Chamberlain fans are asking if she's OK
What happens when being depressed in a city you don't like becomes your brand?
To mark Nick’s return from vacation and the end of Embedded (Kate’s Version), we are launching the Emma Chamberlain Move to TikTok Block Challenge. —Kate
I love Emma Chamberlain, but I can’t say I keep up with her videos anymore. The 20-year-old has been vlogging since 2017, and over the past year or so, she's settled into a new theme: “GOING ON A TRIP BY MYSELF *lonely*,” “HAVING FUN BY MYSELF,” and “ALONE IN NEW YORK.” In pretty much all of her recent videos, Chamberlain spends the day alone, mostly in her house. My only thought about this was that she had cracked the code of what her 10 million followers want and was simply following a format that wasn’t for me. But the comments on “HOW TO ENJOY BOREDOM,” posted May 30, suggest otherwise.
“emma honestly doesn’t look okay,” one reads. “in a lot of her last videos i’ve noticed how unmotivated and sad she seems. idk maybe it’s just me but i’m kinda getting worried.”
“Are you okay?” another asked. “This seems forced and we as the supporters see what happening. Hope you are doing okay babe <3”
“emma... i hope you’re doing ok. coming from someone who’s been an avid watcher and coming from someone who’s severely depressed; i see a lot of my traits in you. take care of yourself for us <3 we will all understand”
You get it.
I’m not interested in dissecting things like Chamberlain's mental or physical health, given that we have no information about other than what she provides in weekly 20-minute videos. We do know that Chamberlain has depression, because she’s spoken about it openly. She’s also said she doesn't like Los Angeles but stays there for the sake of her career.
The possibility that concerns me is that being depressed in Los Angeles has become her brand, and that trying to change her life could be seen as threatening her success. As someone who can barely get off Twitter despite the horrible things it’s doing to my brain, I can’t imagine being in her position.
But fans are attempting to imagine a better future for her.
“If you need to take a year-long break from social media to move to New York City and open up your own fashion brand while simultaneously running a thrift store, do it,” user @femiarchive says in a recent TikTok video addressed to the YouTuber. “From 20-year-old to 20-year-old you do not need to please the internet population anymore. Go do what you want. I promise we’ll be okay.”
It seems counterintuitive, but with creator burnout on the rise, the fan-creator relationship is shifting: for every comment praising Chamberlain for her relatable content, there’s another giving her permission to just stop. One day, it seems, she just might.