Meet Markian, the USC YouTuber who snuck into the Row’s most exclusive frat parties by dressing up as a woman and a celebrity
“Dressing Up as a Girl to Frat Party” has over 600k views
USC is home to quite a few big collegiate YouTubers like Katherout, Annemariechase and Fiercelytasha. The latest addition to this group is the Class of 2020’s international content-creator-slash-business major Markian Benhamou, who instantly grew traction first semester with his video “Dressing Up as a Girl to Frat Party”.
With over 40,000 subscribers on Youtube and nearly 600,000 likes on his Facebook page, Markian definitely wields internet power, which he chooses to use for good. On his channel he describes himself as “the nice guy who makes people smile.” Most of his videos are centered around performing random acts of kindness like handing out roses or surprising people with Acappella singers.
After the success of his second frat-party-crashing video in which he disguised himself as celebrity dancer Ian Eastwood to get into Lambda’s Olympus, Markian agreed to discuss life as a YouTuber, the story behind his videos, and his perspective on Greek life with the Tab USC.
How and when did you get into Youtube?
I started making videos two years ago when I created a monetization platform for YouTubers, called Subscriber Club. Since the website evolved around online influencers, it made sense for me to create my own channel to understand how YouTubers work and to be able to reach out to them. My channel’s growth on YouTube has been fairly steady, although my Facebook page blew up over summer (from 50k to 300k followers in less than a month) because of a viral video ‘What It’s Like to Have a Sister’. It was the 55th most viewed Facebook video in 2016 with over 100M views.
What’s it like being a Youtuber in college?
It’s awesome!! Students recognize me from my videos and will come up to me. People really started finding out about my channel after I filmed myself dressing up as a girl to sneak into a frat party. It spread around colleges, especially the USC 2016 Admits Facebook group. But besides that people treat me indifferently, which I like. The goal right now is to increase my presence at USC and in LA.
Has anything in your life changed as your number of subscribers has increased?
A couple things changed. First of all, my personality changed throughout my YouTube ‘career’. Because of the number of times I’ve had to leave my comfort zone for videos, I became a lot more outgoing. Secondly, many opportunities arise from having a larger following– invitations to events, brand deals, creator benefits. It’s also a lot easier to reach out to people and friends to be in videos!
What it's Like To Have 500K Followers https://t.co/bJyVk7TkVo
— Markian (@markianbenhamou) February 21, 2017
How did you get the idea for your first disguise video?
Before coming to USC, I heard so much about Greek life and how crazy frat parties are so I was excited to experience it. Unfortunately, I never realized guys cannot get into parties but all girls can no matter what. So the first few weeks of school my friends and I would literally stand outside the houses on the row because we weren’t able to get in. It was sad. So, a crazy idea came to mind and I decided to dress up as a girl to get into a party. And it worked! With over 500K views on Youtube, it’s my most popular video. Since it was so successful, I decided to sneak in again this semester– but as a fake celebrity (because frats let famous people in of course). And it worked!
What kind of reactions have you gotten towards this series?
I had no idea how people would react but once the video was released all the feedback was extremely positive and people thought it was a legendary act. I usually make acts of kindness videos with a theme of ‘making people smile’ but these have been some of my craziest videos. I understand that there will be mixed feelings from people in Greek life, but I’ve accepted that.
Which disguise was more fun?
They were both incredible experiences, but being a celebrity was insane. I had a bodyguard, paparazzi and fans following me– it seemed so realistic. When in the party, I felt like I was the center of attention and people were waiting for my next move. I took pictures with people who thought I was actually Ian Eastwood! I was so impolite and expressionless (to act as a cocky celebrity) and people were still trying to be so nice to me. In both videos I was extremely nervous and scared that the security guards or brothers would catch me, but thankfully it didn’t happen.<
I dressed up as a girl to get into a frat party. https://t.co/ITfYFN8YYn
— Markian (@markianbenhamou) September 13, 2016
Do you have friends in Greek life?
I do have friends in Greek life. They’re all super cool, intelligent people. But generally speaking, my friend groups are not the ones that Greek life attracts– it’s just a different personality.
Could you see yourself rushing at any point?
I’m actually pledging a professional fraternity called Sigma Eta Pi (entrepreneurship), but it’s completely different than social fraternities. SEP is a great opportunity to be part of a brilliant network of entrepreneurs. I do not see myself rushing a social fraternity. I don’t have anything against Greek life; I see great value in brotherhood and strong connections. That environment is just not where I would like to be. But I still love having fun at parties!
In your videos you present a your perspective specifically on frat parties. Could you elaborate more on that?
Again, I have nothing against frats/Greek life/the Row. I’m not trying to revolutionize anything. I just want to bring light to the fact that frat parties at USC are unnecessarily exclusive and, essentially, sexist. I don’t think they need to be this way but that’s the way it is– and maybe my videos can make people think a little differently about frat parties.
— Markian (@markianbenhamou) February 13, 2017
How do you think they could go about making the parties more inclusive, while still keeping up the “safety” the exclusivity is supposed to create?
The purpose of exclusivity is not safety. And it’s exclusive to guys only, any girl can get in. I think frats should let any USC student into the parties regardless of gender until capacity is reached. If the concern is that there will be houses full of guys and no girls, the gender ratio will balance out among the other parties going on at the row that night. However, this probably won’t happen because frats use exclusivity for other reasons.