In all of the instant fame surrounding Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas, Shawn Mendes and Jack and Jack we might have forgotten one boy from Magcon who actually has the brains to go far.
At seventeen, Matthew Espinosa looks like a cross between a Sprouse twin and many other teenage boys vying for success with social media. He has floppy blonde hair, perfect skin and is arguably pretty funny. But there are three key difference that separates Matt from (sadly) most boys on social media: he is smart. He is not problematic. And he is very, very aware of growing influence on younger fans. This is why, if you’ve been following Matt on Twitter, you might have noticed Matt’s Tweets have suddenly become a bit more thoughtful. Maybe even philosophical. Unlike some social media stars who encourage young girls to engage in flirtatious conversations, Matt is encouraging his followers to read thought-provoking books and think for themselves.
This really shouldn’t be an accomplishment, and in a way it’s sad that it is. But when most of the stars of Vine or YouTube have become vapid machines that spit out self-promotion or homophobic, sexist and racist remarks it’s actually quite nice to find a teenager who is encouraging his followers to dig a little deeper.
Today Matt dropped a video titled “Teaser Trailer” that sets viewers up for what is to come on December 13th when he releases his first official video of a new era. Previous videos have featured Matt doing what many YouTubers do: talking to the camera about things he dislikes or doing odd challenges with other YouTubers. Sure, it’s a quick way to earn a hefty million views and these videos are easy to make. But, as Matt is asking, where’s the creativity in that? This week Matt commented on this by stating, “I’ve been doing more than working on YouTube for the past 6 months. I’m actually getting together a career. Like structuring together a business too. There’s always been way, way more to a career than YouTube videos. And that’s what I’ve been doing: constant meetings to figure out everything I need to know in a business matter.”
The “Teaser Trailer” video is actually a very tongue in cheek look at the thoughts in Matt’s head as he forges ahead into making original, creative content. “I don’t want to be one of those dudes always ranting into a camera. So I finally decided to take a stand,” he says as the scene changes and he steps away from the green screen. “Don’t give me that look, it’s not like I’m selling out or anything,” he adds while hovering over a board that has Instagram, YouTube and Twitter links with the words “Subscribe” and “Follow me” written all over it.
The next two minutes are Matt guiding you through his metaphorical brain, where the ideas are coming from. It’s funny and it’s surprisingly bold from a person who’s peers are living off of their name. Is there anything wrong with that? It’s 2014, after all, celebrity has an entirely new meaning now. But, perhaps, we should want content with a little more edge. A little more thought put into it.
It’s why when I saw Nash Grier’s Ouija parody I had to roll my eyes that a) none of this was written or thought up by him and b) it relied on the same sexist, boring jokes that made him famous in the first place. If nothing else we should give Matt Espinosa some major credit for trying to grow. For encouraging his followers to look past him and onto more important things.
Like many of today’s celebrities, Matt got to where he is because of his following on social media. A year ago he was apart of one of the swiftest ending tours of 2014: Magcon. The tour was a strange event that brought nine teenage boys together for two days of meet and greets, performances and odd stage activities like jumping on trampolines while girls stood on the sidelines shrieking and taking pictures with their iPhones. Without Magcon, we would not have Cameron Dallas, Nash Grier, Matt, Shawn Mendes, Taylor Caniff or Jack and Jack. (This could be a very good or bad thing depending on your stance) When it ended there was an overwhelming sense that it was too premature; no one on the tour seemed talented enough to last apart from each other. And then a funny thing happened, each star became a little bigger than the last one. As it stands between the nine of them, the boys have around 20 million fans. Their tweets regularly receive 20k favorites or reTweets. And they are constantly selling out venues where meet and greets are held. (Or if you are Shawn Mendes, you’re now selling out concert halls)
I predict Matt having his own kind of success though. While many of the social media stars will burn out overtime like most teenage heartthrobs do, Matt is being smart about his fame. Instead of capitalizing on it instantly, he’s been quietly, slowly and steadily working on his brand. He recently stated that he wants to try acting, producing and directing.
I don’t see why any of this can’t happen.
God willing Matt won’t fall into a Nickelodeon original movie or become the star of a Disney channel show. If anything, hopefully, he can become the creator of unique and exciting work that sets him apart from his peers. Some words of advice to the underdog of Magcon: follow your instincts. You’re doing everything right and you don’t need Nash Grier to succeed. Matt’s young, so young that he has all of the time in the world to become the creator he wants to be. It’s exciting that he’s discovering this curiosity so young, and I feel in a year’s time he’ll be his own household name.
An underdog no more.