Meet YesReneau: The most Harvard girl on YouTube
‘It takes about four to six hours to script, one to two hours for hair and make-up, then another hour for setup’
Have you seen YesReneau‘s YouTube channel?
She’s a pioneer on the Harvard vlogging scene with hundreds of thousands of views and nearly 16,000 subscribers.
Senior Econ major Taylor Reneau, 21, attracts an enormous audience as people from all over come to her for advice and entertainment.
When The Tab sat down with Taylor, we found out she’s exactly the same as in her videos: the spunky and hilarious personality in her videos carries over into real life.
First question: did you start YesReneau before or after you got to Harvard?
The actual YesReneau vlog started halfway through my sophomore year, but my first video I made was way back when those lyric videos were popular, and it was of me lip syncing and dancing to that song Cooler Than Me.
So what do you think inspired you to make videos in the first place?
Well, when I was around 14 I used to which this British vlogger named “Charlieissocoollike”, whose real name is Charlie McDonnell, and I was in love with him and would watch his videos religiously, and it made me want to do something like whatever he was doing.
So what inspired you to make the How to get into Harvard video in particular?
That video came after my “Rejected from Stanford, accepted to Harvard” video, and I got hundreds of emails from kids all over the world saying “Hey I really want to go to Harvard but I have no idea how”, so I kinda just wanted to make a video to answer their questions without getting carpal tunnel from responding to each one of them.
Did you expect such a huge response?
I knew there was potential because I had seen “thatHarvardbitch” and her videos, and I just saw the Harvard name was super powerful. I also made sure my search engine optimization was on point, I had those words “Harvard”, “Stanford”, “rejected”, and “accepted”, and when I put a good video behind that I expected moderate success, but I did not expect it to take off like it did.
Do you get recognized on campus?
Only by freshmen, but I love it.
Do you ever get hate?
I would say it’s about 95 percent positive, but probably because I write back to people! Every now and then I’ll get the occasional troll, but I kinda like to out-troll the troll. Like this one kid told me “Ew, you have a pancake face!” and I was just kinda like “Thanks, that’s a whole level up from a butterface!” But nobody has said anything too crazy.
How easily do you come up with ideas?
I have a few in my head at any given time, but it takes me about four to six hours to write a script, then one to two hours for hair and make-up, then another hour for video setup, then another hour or hour and a half to actually film it, then another hour to edit.
Do you ever look at old videos, like the “Fruity Friends ft. how to open a banana”, and look at how much you’ve changed?
I love that video! Those first videos taught me how bad I was at make-up because of all the comments on how bad I was at it, which is why I went and learned how to do my make-up properly. But one thing I love about those old videos was how authentic they were.
How would you answer the question “How do I get into Harvard?”
Probably exactly like I do in my videos. First I would make sure they have the qualifications, like for example if they know the difference between “there”, “their”, and “they’re” and “your” and “you’re”. You’d be surprised! But then I’d focus in on the specifics, like I think in one of my videos I say to put a picture in the application, which is what I did in my supplement. I think that’s so important because then they stop viewing you as just a name on a piece of paper.
Since you’re a senior, what’s next for you?
YouTube is not going to stop for me, I’m just going to build it as high as I can until something else comes along and draws me out of it. People have also been telling me to try and get famous Harvard alumni on the show, and even though I’m not sure if I have those connections, I think it would be dumb for me not to try.
Taylor’s top five tips for starting your own channel
- Never aim for viral videos: aim for sustainability, which is something you work towards
- Look at what everyone else is doing and either do something different or do something better
- Look good on camera, because unfortunately we live in a world where that matters
- It’s cleverer to make jokes without swear words
- This one has to be the kicker! I wanna say never give up but I want to phrase it in a less cliché way. There are gonna be times when all this random, terrible stuff happens to you and you’re gonna feel like giving up but YouTube is one of those things that if you stick with it, you will make it
Asking for a friend here: favorite house to party in?
Favorite HUDS meal?
I’m not gonna be that girl who says salad. I’ll go with the Korean BBQ.
That weird Swai fish that they have.
Otto’s or Pinnochio’s?