A lively session in early September saw a panel of social media break-out stars discuss their careers and the lure of TV.
Big Narstie, host of his own successful Channel 4 show, was in particularly voluble form, joining the RTS Futures Zoom event from a car wash. Pinpointing the reasons for his success, he said: “I was in the right place at the right time”, adding that his “personality is just me”, and the same on- or off-screen.
Big Narstie argued that he and his fellow panellists were “freaks of nature”, unconventional talents that TV didn’t usually embrace.
The reason for his success, first in music and then on TV, he continued, was “because it was an escape from the life I was living. I didn’t need the financial rewards... it was keeping me sane, giving me some cleanness in my soul, where everything else was so contaminated.”
Comedian Man Like Haks, who has appeared on The Big Narstie Show, was working as a carpenter and plumber when he began posting short videos on Instagram from his van. “I enjoyed the job but didn’t enjoy having no freedom and being told what to do,” he recalled. His social media audience grew, enabling him to leave his day job. “People started showing love and sharing my stuff,” he added.
Stevo the Madman, another Big Narstie Show guest, said that being “the class clown” had been a “hindrance” until he discovered Snapchat, which gave him an outlet for his comedy: “I found a niche, which was myself, really. I lived a funny life, whether it be my kids, friends or the people surrounding me.
It was about producing relatable moments throughout the day.”
Remel London, who presents shows on Sky Arts and Capital Xtra, said she felt “underrated”, adding: “There does seem to be a fear to put dark-skinned women on the TV screen. It is a hard road. You have to be yourself, you have to believe in yourself and you have to love this, otherwise, trust me, you wouldn’t still be here.”
Despite her degree in broadcast journalism, London said it was her social media presence that had advanced her career: “My YouTube shows, Twitter and Instagram got me in front of most of the broadcasters, commissioners and producers.”
E4 digital executive Navi Lamba asked the questions at the RTS Futures event.