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YouTube star Grace Helbig on style, fashion, and faking it

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By Kate Tuttle

Globe Correspondent

As a college senior, Grace Helbig said, “I had no idea what YouTube was.” She first encountered the online video space as part of a class project. Soon after graduating in 2007, though, she and her roommate began making their own YouTube videos.

At first it was "a hobby," she said. After a long day at work, "we would hang out with a glass of wine and film ourselves and talk about our lives." Viewers loved her; today Helbig's YouTube channel, to which she posts new videos three times a week, has more than 2.8 million subscribers, drawn to her silly, self-deprecating blend of real and absurd lifestyle advice.

In her second book, "Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It," Helbig takes on fashion and beauty in what she calls "a sort of hodge-podge variety show in a book, a slightly skewed vision board for myself."


Growing up glued to the Style Network, the daughter of an Avon lady, Helbig has great affection for the industry. "As much as I think beauty is ridiculous," she said, "I also really love it and think it can be wonderful in your life to use as art and artistic expression for yourself. That's the fun balance of it all."

Currently on book tour, Helbig said she's not done with YouTube. "It's the coolest thing to be a part of," she said, adding, "I consume as much YouTube as I create." She acknowledged that online fame can be tough on women. "The Internet is an interesting place," she said. "You could be Mother Theresa, and someone will hate on you. I try to balance putting myself out there and keeping part of my life private and offline. That keeps me sane."

Helbig will sign her book Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Brookline Booksmith. On Thursday at 7 p.m. she will be featured in Writers on a New England Stage, 28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, N.H.

Kate Tuttle, a writer and editor, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.