Rachel Maksy was Wonder Woman, Princess Leia and several Jane Austen characters for a week. She goes to conventions to meet other cosplayers wearing costumes she created. But mostly her handmade outfits are seen and viewed by her almost 1.5 million followers on YouTube and Instagram.
“Just like a kid dressing up as their favorite superhero for Halloween, there is something special about making this costume and having your makeup and hair done like them. You just feel empowered,” said the 30-year-old content creator.
Rachel loves Halloween so much that she starts planning her looks for what she calls “13 Days of Maks-o-ween” in January. This month her costumes include a raven dressed as a Victorian woman and a pinup wolfman. (If you still need Halloween costume ideas, check out her Instagram.)
Lately she’s been exploring 19th and 20th century styles outside of Halloween.
“Even though the fashion I choose has changed over the years, my theme has always been that I’ve always wanted to express myself,” Rachel said. “It’s a lot more fun putting outfits together when you have a choice. The way I dress now kind of makes me my own main character.”
Read more from Rachel about working as a content creator:
On YouTube as a career
Rachel: In high school, there were these few YouTubers that I watched all the time and thought, “How cool would it be to just be able to do that?” I don’t think I even thought of making it a job to do because I was 14 or 15. So I started making really embarrassing little YouTube videos.
To [attending] Film school, I ventured into film jobs in Boston. I was also researching vintage fashion and decided to start a YouTube channel mostly doing vintage hair and makeup tutorials. There was this makeup contest that I ended up winning. I decided to use the prize money I won as a cushion to make the jump to YouTube full-time, which was absolutely terrifying. I remember handing my two weeks over to my boss and he was very confused.
To viewers who are comforted by their channel
Rachel: So the pandemic was sort of a 50-50 split for me. I had my personal life, which was scary and unpredictable. I think everyone was really scared and didn’t know what was going to happen. But then, being at home all the time allowed the work part of me to really delve into projects. People longed for this healthy corner of the internet. Hopefully I was able to submit that later. Everything else in the world really just sucked and it was chaos. So for me, being able to provide calming, soothing videos of something stupid was a way to combat anxiety about real life. I took refuge in my own projects and allowed other people to escape as well.
Upon reaching 1 million YouTube subscribers
Rachel: I think I hit 1 million subscribers in August. It’s wild because it was kind of a mythical number that I just had in my head when I started my channel. I thought if I ever broke a million that would be crazy. It’s strange to think that many people actually care about what I put out into the world.
About mental health
Rachel: A big part of being an online content creator is the mental play that comes with it. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing your content to other people’s. Or compare your own content to months before. Maybe something went well the first time and not so well the second time.
There’s always that potential disappointment when you think something’s going to go really well and it doesn’t. So I’ve transitioned to just making videos that really, really excite me and learning new crafts because even when things aren’t going well in my brain by my own false standards, I’ve had a lot of fun making them.
Rachel: There are definitely times when people can be hurtful. But I’m honestly a bit struck by how often, as I’ve learned, they just say things to vent, or they’re going through things in their own lives that they feel they need to project onto other people . I’ve gotten a lot better for not letting it affect me because then for every negative comment you have there are 10 amazing people who genuinely feel your content is life changing and giving them a healthy space online .
On the Internet
Rachel: My job wouldn’t exist without the internet, but not only that, this is where I get my inspiration from. This is where I research and learn new crafts by watching videos. It’s played a big part in my life, whether it’s sharing things I love or connecting with a community of people who are passionate about the same things I am. It makes me even more excited to make cool stuff, because the more people I can turn into my weird little community, the better.
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