From Cameras to College: Youtube stars Brooklyn and Bailey talk business, being in the public eye

Story by Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer, Video by Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

This spring, teen YouTube sensations Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight announced that they would be attending Baylor in a video that hit over 2 million views.

The twins, best known under their channel name “Brooklyn and Bailey,” are identical twins and have over 5.5 million YouTube subscribers with almost 4 million followers on Instagram. Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight post videos related to lifestyle, makeup, clothing and other similar topics.

The Dallas freshmen at Baylor. The girls frequently film vlogs on campus and have gotten used to being approached by students and fans of their channel.

“There are definitely people who say hello and ask us for pictures,” Bailey McKnight said. “Our school in the past was really used to us having cameras and filming, but at Baylor we haven’t gotten too many weird looks — most people know who we are and know we’re filming videos. Occasionally people will ask to be in a video or we get weird stares, but it’s been good here and no one’s really questioned us,” they said.

The girls typically interact with students who recognize them or watch them on YouTube, but Brooklyn McKnight noted some particularly interesting interactions she’s had with people on campus.

“I got a calendar invite on Google for a Brooklyn and Bailey viewing party club — apparently they watch our videos every Wednesday, and it seemed like a legit thing,” Brooklyn McKnight said. “I’ve had guys and girls come up and ask me to come. Originally we thought it might be a joke or making fun of us, but then we met people in the group and they’re really nice — they just want to support what we do, which is really refreshing.”

Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight have always attended public school in the past, as opposed to taking a homeschooling route, and despite some initial hesitations, have found students and classmates throughout the years to be supportive of what they do.

“There was an element of being concerned that we would be treated differently since we’re in the public eye and can be easy targets,” Brooklyn McKnight said. “We wondered if people would be jealous or make assumptions about who we are as people, so coming in was a little nerve-racking. Overall, though, we’ve had pretty positive reactions and have received support.”

Along with posting frequent videos on YouTube, Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight have their own lines of mascaras and scrunchies, as well as a partnership with companies like Arizona Jean Co. through JCPenney. As entrepreneurship majors at Baylor, the girls hope to continue expanding their brands.

“We both already have careers in what we’re doing, but our goal right now is to build an empire around our brand,” Brooklyn McKnight said. “Social media is unpredictable, so we hope to build brands that can exist outside of that on their own.”

The twins hope to continue growing their businesses and pursuing projects that will be meaningful for their fan base.

“Our way to do this was by selling mascara and scrunchies to test our audience and see how they would react,” Bailey McKnight said. “The products ended up doing so well that we’re continuing to put them out. We have equity in a couple companies and might be delving more into the makeup and accessory industries. When we leave college, we want businesses we can go into.”

Attending a traditional college is something that makes Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight unique from similar YouTubers of their age. They love that being in a “normal” school environment allows them to be social and stay grounded.

“From day one, we’ve tried our best to stay down-to-earth no matter what happens,” Bailey McKnight said. “We were raised as Christians and normal kids — we never considered taking a step back from the real world and entering the Hollywood mindset. We’re both really social and love people, so we wanted to have a touch of normalcy in our school life.”

Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight also noted that their YouTube channel is targeted toward an audience of young girls, so they seek to set a good example by staying grounded and receiving a college education.

“College education is really important, and our channel is based around girls growing up with us,” Bailey McKnight said. “We wanted to set a good example by pursuing an education — we hope to be female role models. Also, the ‘everyday girl’ is what our channel is based off of, so not going to college would be a poor business decision.”

Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight said they chose Baylor because they saw the school as a great option close to home and were impressed by the university’s interest in their career goals and willingness to work with their schedules and partner on projects.

“We applied to six different colleges, and Baylor was the quickest to catch onto our work and see us as different and unique,” Brooklyn McKnight said. “Baylor also has a great entrepreneurship program and is a Christian university which is a big deal for us. We have a really good relationship with Baylor and the staff here. They’re willing to work with our schedules and understand what we’re doing. It’s a great partnership.”

Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight had considered attending separate colleges, but ultimately realized that their strength comes from working and spending time together.

“We’ve been apart for like two days total our whole lives, so it’s hard to picture separating,” Brooklyn McKnight said. “We’re roommates, best friends and business partners.”

It might seem tough to have to balance running businesses and a successful YouTube channel while being full-time students, but Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight said the transition hasn’t been as tough as they expected and is surprisingly less busy than their high school schedule.

“It’s been surprisingly easy — high school was so much stuff all the time, so the fact that we made it through high school was almost training us for college,” BaileyMcKnight said. “High school helped us with time management and building a support team back home has made things easy and straightforward.”

Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight said they look forward to attending their first football game and running the line since they’ve been out of town during the games thus far, as well as participating in traditions like Dr Pepper Hour and Diadeloso. They hope to continue getting involved and attending on-campus events.

“We’re looking into some clubs right now to pursue in our free time,” Brooklyn McKnight said. “We had never thought about Greek life before, but we’re looking into rushing, and we’ll see what happens.”

The young women plan to continue promoting and providing exposure for their brand and products and said they will consider pursuing a business outside of their brand or looking further into the makeup industry in the future. They encourage students interested in pursuing YouTube or an online career to realize that it’s a big time commitment, but it can be a great avenue to express your passion to others.

“Make sure you know what you’re getting into and don’t go into it with the intention of just making money — you should do it for the right reasons,” Bailey McKnight said. “It took us five years to establish and grow a channel, so it’s a slow-growing process. If you’re true to yourself and pursue what you’re passionate about, people will see that. Grow your presence genuinely and be dedicated to what you do.”