LaToya Forever is a bundle of energy. Born and raised in Scarborough, Ont., she entered the YouTube scene in early 2010. She has two channels, LaToya Forever and LaToya’s Life, and over 1.2 million subscribers from both channels combined. As she is one of the featured YouTube artists this year at Buffer Festival, we sat down with LaToya for an exclusive interview.
Where do you get your inspirations for your comedic videos?
OK, so when I started vlogging last year while pregnant with [daughter] Samia, I just got inspired with wanting to share my entire life with the world. You know, document the ups and downs of pregnancy. I also wanted to just, you know, get advice from other people who are in similar situations. I’m a first-time mom, first time being pregnant. And I just want to know that my symptoms are normal, that I wasn’t dying. Yeah, I get my inspirations from…living life! *laughs*
So you do life vlogs, and you share a lot of your life. Do you ever feel like you’ve overshared at times?
Honestly, sometimes I do feel like I overshare my life, but that’s just a part of life. You go through ups and downs, you go through good times and bad times, and I just want to be free and express myself. To not be afraid to just be me and put myself out there because there are a lot of people out there who can relate. That’s what I enjoy doing, just being open and honest with myself, you know?
How do you handle the hate comments?
Oh my god! So when I first started, you know people have their opinions and you know they’re haters and when I wake up and get in front of the camera without any make-up, they’re like ‘Ah, who’s this? You’re completely different.’ But as time goes on, you just have to focus on the positive people, you know, who support you rather than the negativity. If you focus on the negativity, it’ll bring you down, so that’s why I try to stay positive, and keep positive people around me.
The YouTube community is growing and it’s very competitive, so how do you stay relevant?
OK, so how I stay relevant. I feel like in the vlogging world, you can’t really compare families because everyone comes from a different background. And I just make sure that I edit fun things in my videos, like I catch my grandma doing a dance or cursing me out for not washing a dish. Or my husband, I don’t know, having a wedgy or something up his butt. I just try to keep it fun and entertaining for my viewers. I come from a crazy Caribbean background, and so there’s so much entertainment and fun in that.
Do you ever want to break out of YouTube and into other forms of entertainment?
I’m definitely open to the idea, but right now YouTube is really working out for me. I really enjoy having creative control over my content. So I have been in meetings with TV networks, but I just really enjoy YouTube. And I just want to grow and expand my following, and connect and reach out to more people online because that’s the new world.
Do you have any projects in the works?
Right now, we’re just looking to travel and have meet-and-greets. I was just in Dubai at the beginning of the year, and then I hit up St. Martin and Barbados. I just want to continue meeting all of my supporters, all my viewers, and show them that I appreciate them, you know, for supporting my dreams and allowing me to live my passion.
You did mention about some TV networks. What’s happening with that? Which networks have contacted you?
One of the TV networks is in the U.S. They reached out to me wanting to produce a reality TV show, documenting my crazy life. But I really enjoy being online. I enjoy being an online personality for now, but I’m definitely open to taking on more meetings, and hopefully, maybe, I could explore that world eventually.
So, what was your first meet-and-greet like? How did you feel?
Wow. *laughs* I had about 50 people there. It was in Yonge and Dundas Square, here in Toronto. And I just couldn’t believe how many people came out to see little ole me. I was just this girl putting my life out there, and people say that I’m inspiration, that they look up to me as a role model. Back then, I didn’t look at myself like that, but it just opened my eyes up to, you know, people looking up to me and looking at me as this girl who basically changes lives, you know?
Is there, or has there, been an impact on your personal life since your debut on YouTube?
Is there an impact? I just feel like the stage I’m at right now, so many people on the streets notice me. They make me feel like I’m Beyoncé, *laughs* and that’s so crazy because my grandparents and my parents are like ‘What the heck is going on?’ People are coming up to us while we’re eating and [my family] is like ‘What is this? Like YouTube? Really?’ *laughs*
You never would’ve expected, you know, for someone to be so popular on the internet. So I’m just taking it one step at a time, living in the moment, and not really taking anything for granted.
And where you ever concerned with publicizing your daughter in your videos?
I’ve never really had concerns about that. I was always excited about it. We just come from an open family where it just doesn’t really matter. That’s just the new world. We publicize our entire life – our pets, our family, our friends. You know, nothing’s private anymore. So no, not at all.
Would you ever put off the possibility that one day, your daughter Samia would do what you are doing now online?
Never. I’m starting a channel for her. She has one video called “Get Ready with Baby Samia” to show you guys when she wakes up, when she’s crying, bath time or when she eats in the morning. It’s so fun and she loves the camera. Whenever I turn it on, she starts talking.
You are here for Buffer Festival! So what are you screening this time?
OK, I’m screening my “Labour and Delivery” video, when I gave birth to Samia. I’m also screening a video where my friend found a profile of my husband on Tinder, and so I wanted to confront him about. But he broke out into an allergic reaction. I don’t want to tell you about the entire video, but it’s so crazy how everything unfolds. So stay tuned for that!
Last question. Between your main comedy channel and your vlogging channel, which one do you prefer more?
Honestly, I prefer vlogging, because I like putting my life out there. And just being free to me, not caring about how people think. Again, it’s living my life; that’s what it’s about. So I really enjoy it.
I can always express my comedy within my vlogs as well. I’ve been taking a little break on comedy, and I want to transition into lifestyle, you know, mommy and fashion stuff. As I’m growing, I just want to, you know, be a mom to my kids and be a wife. And I want to cook! *laughs*
Note: This Q&A was a joint collaboration between me and Michelle Song, the current editor-in-chief of CanCulture.