Creating content on YouTube is Ava Gordy’s second passion, after her love for dance. But she put her first passion on pause after dancing with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for a year when she needed surgery. That’s when she started honing in on her YouTube channel. Now, she built her career off the platform creating comedy, news, and entertainment videos.
We talked to Gordy about her involvement on YouTube, navigating pressure online, and her career aspirations.
On her start on YouTube
I started posting singing videos in my first year of high school, over 10 years ago. I don’t think I ever knew that there was this whole other industry out there. Anyway, someone from my school found my channel and they made fun of me so I deleted everything. It didn’t take until 2010 when I graduated high school that I really started making videos which is how I leaned into the comedy thing that I do now.
Right after high school I was actually a ballerina. After getting a necessary surgery on my ankle, I wasn’t able to walk and that’s why I started making videos regularly. Pure boredom. My channel was called “HasItBroke01” (I thought the name was #poetry and super deep but of course it wasn’t.) My videos were horrible. I lip synced Katy Perry songs. It was rough. But I did that until I eventually decided I wanted to go back to college. I only lasted two years before I dropped out. I knew college wasn’t for me, but there’s always time.
On moving to LA
I think there was this aura of LA being where its at. I felt like I needed to be there if I really wanted to pursue YouTube as a career. A lot of my friends at the time were moving there so it was this big wave and I remember Chicago being dead when it came to creators. I wasn’t really doing anything with my time after I dropped out of school and I had stopped dancing so I just decided let’s do this! Now it’s been four years and as you can guess I’m a little over it. It’s shifted my YouTube career a lot. I’m doing things that I probably would never have been able to do if I didn’t move here.
On working at ClevverNews
It was really difficult for me to create my own schedule. Even when I tried to set an upload schedule for myself, it never happened because I didn’t have the discipline to get it done. I really like being able to go somewhere, do my job and then go home and not think about my job anymore. That’s what I prefer.
I enjoy the structure of being able to write and produce and they’re still my ideas but it’s not my baby. I’m constantly creating, writing, and using what I love about YouTube just in a different medium and it’s no pressure on my personal channel anymore. It allows me to have more fun with my own content that IS my baby.
On navigating pressure online
I feel like I’ve let go a lot about the things that used to bring me a lot of strife. I would worry constantly about views, likes and comments and how it was being received. Of course I want people to enjoy what I make, but I’ve really learned to just make something that I like, post it, and then it’s on it’s own. I was so obsessed with how many subscribers I was getting everyday and I’m very glad that I’ve been able to transition into a career that’s still YouTube based but is not as negatively impactful on my mental health and how I feel of myself as a person. I was literally putting all my worth into the views I was getting. Now I’m just pleasantly surprised that I get views at all. I’m much more grateful now.
On the negativity on YouTube
The current state of YouTube is very wild right now. When you realize negative content exists on the platform, you want to push it as far away from you as possible. I’ve realized though that in any job in any field, there are going to be people doing it wrong. The unfortunate thing is YouTube is still so new in a weird way. It’s hard to get away from that gross aspect of it when it comes to public perception.
On her premiere at Buffer Festival
It’s a story that’s based on me and my journey with gender identity growing up as a ballerina. Ballet is an extremely gendered art form with women being the damsel in distress and men being their savior. It’s very unbalanced and unwelcoming for anyone who doesn’t fit the gender binary. I wanted to create a classical pas de deux that blurred the lines of gender. A true ballet partnership where both parties lift, turn, and show off for each other. It was a challenging experience, but I’m looking forward to sharing this personal journey with an audience.
On her career aspirations
Right now, I’m very thankful for my YouTube career because I’m a dancer as well. When I made dance my only career, it was very stressful and very hard on me to constantly find the next gig. It’s very nice to have this job that is stable and that I enjoy and that keeps me creative. At the same time I don’t believe it will be my future. I’m still going to make content on my own channel and explore my creativity and voice on YouTube, but as a full-time thing I don’t see it for me.
On her love for dance
I think I just want to dance if I’m being honest. It’s what I like the most. I started when I was three with ballet and now I’m working on very exciting things with dance and I’m traveling with different companies. It’s what really makes my life worth living.
Featured photo by JD Renes
Janine Maral is culture writer and content strategist. She enjoys podcasts, Notion, and internet communities.