Oct. 23 2015 11:40 AM

Popular Youtube star visits his old stomping grounds

Courtesy photo

FRIDAY, Oct. 23 — Youtube star and LGBT advocate Tyler Oakley has added another job title to his impressive resume: published author. His first book, “Binge,” hit bookstore shelves Tuesday.

Oakley began his popular Youtube video blog in 2007 while he was a student at MSU. Since then, his Youtube channel has become on of the most popular on Youtube and have racked up millions of views.

He comes to Lansing tomorrow for a sold out appearance at Schuler Books. City Pulse caught up with Oakley between stops on his book tour.

You grew up in Michigan and attended MSU. What’s most exciting for you about coming back to Michigan? Are there any “must stop” places you plan to visit?

One of my favorite spots to go with the family is to Asian Buffet in Okemos. We've been going for years and now they even have my picture hanging on the wall which is pretty surreal. I always love coming back in the fall for tailgating and to watch a Spartan football game. I went back for homecoming this year and attended the game with my sister who's a sophomore at MSU this year.

When you started making YouTube videos, what was your goal? How many people did you think would actually watch them?

When I first started making YouTube videos, it was simply a way to get in touch with my friends and family when I went away to college. I definitely didn’t have any goals or expectations and didn’t think I would have a whole audience/fan-base like I do now! It is still so surreal!

It seems like a lot of the YouTube personalities are pretty tight. Who are some of your favorite YouTubers right now?

I love so many different YouTubers for so many reasons. They are absolutely some of my closest friends. I love Mamrie Hart, Grace Helbig, and Hannah Hart - we all just had dinner together to celebrate my book launch. They are each hilarious in their own way and down-to-earth and just genuinely good people.

You’ve gotten to meet a lot of famous people. Who were you most excited or nervous about meeting?

Oh goodness! If I had to choose, maybe Ellen (DeGeneres)?? She's always been someone I've looked up to and whose career I admire. When I finally got to meet her, she was so kind, present, fun, and warm. And my mom was in the audience. Dream come true!

How difficult was it to switch gears from making videos to sitting down and writing a book?

I think the process of writing a book is harder than it looks, but actually jotting down your thoughts/memories, not difficult at all. I think at the end of the day, we (YouTubers), are all storytellers. This just happens to be a different medium. I've always enjoyed writing. Regardless of the challenge, it felt right to finally get out so many stories I've kept inside for so long.

Many of your fans feel like they know you well from watching your videos. What will they learn about you in this book that may surprise them?

The fact that the entire book are a collection of stories I have never revealed in my videos or my podcast says it all! I hope they read my book and take away the following message: that life is about testing your boundaries, indulging on everything life has to offer, and learning as you go. I messed up plenty of times, and they can too, as long as we learn & grow in the process. To binge isn't always a bad thing.

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