Colleen Ballinger: How to Be Your Own Biggest Fan

May 17 - Sarah Ashlock


I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we ladies don’t get as much support as we need. I played the caregiver role to a couple people last week: You need fluids. Let me take your temperature. Could you keep down some crackers? How do you feel? It’s a role many women end up in at some point. But who takes care of you?

If you’re feeling unsupported at work or at home, write down what you need to feel supported. Then, read what you wrote. Is it based wholly on another person’s actions? Then you need to tell that person what you need. You also need to add ideas of how you can support yourself. That’s something you can act on, like, right this minute.


A collaborative process ends up producing some seriously stellar results. There’s something to be said, though, for going out on your own. Take the former band Destiny’s Child. It served its bootylicious purpose until Beyoncé was ready to put on her halo (halo) halo. YouTube has been a resource for talented folks since its inception, and it can now be turned into a full-blown career. Bet you didn’t know that when a YouTuber makes revenue, YouTube takes a 45 percent cut.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Colleen Ballinger (AKA Miranda Sings), YouTube Sensation

YouTube megastar “Miranda Sings” is actually a character played by Colleen Ballinger. Colleen has been one of the early-day pioneers on YouTube, creating videos since 2008. She came of age at the perfect time. She’s always had a penchant for the spotlight, from those days in school plays to now, in front of millions of subscribers.

Colleen was a vocal performance major in college. It was there that she found inspiration for her alter ego, Miranda Sings. She was surrounded by talented people - that’s for sure - but Colleen also had to deal with her fair share of narcissists that lacked talent but sure didn’t know it. So, Colleen created the character Miranda as sort of an inside joke to her friends. In one day, Colleen’s first video grew to 100,000 views.

Miranda’s known for her overdrawn lipstick and tilted head. What’s appealing about Miranda, aside from her slightly out-of-tune covers, is her confidence. Not only do vocalists and music industry folks appreciate her parody; girls and women everywhere are shown just how cool it is to be goofy and proud.

Miranda elicited plenty of fan mail and plenty of hate mail, too, in the form of comments. Viewers didn’t get the joke and critiqued every aspect, from her hacky look to questionable vocal range. The joke’s on them, as Colleen has read some of the comments on stage in front of an audience. She’s since been credited as a leader in the anti-bullying movement.

As Colleen’s success has mounted, so, too, have questions about whether she’ll be stuck as Miranda forever. In a lesson of humility, Colleen says she is grateful to be able to play Miranda. She’s grateful to be a character of her own making and design a career of her own, too.


Let’s close with a quote by our Woman to Watch, Colleen Ballinger:

"I've received thousands of letters from kids who are a little different and a little weird, and they thank me for teaching them to be confident in who they are. That's a great lesson Miranda teaches everyone."

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