YouTube Stars, The Merrell Twins Are Encouraging Young Women Into STEM
YouTube stars, Veronica and Vanessa Merrell have launched Project Upgrade a digital build series aimed at inspiring young to pursue a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Their YouTube channel, The Merrell Twins has over three million subscribers. Now Vanessa and Veronica want to use their platform to showcase how to tackle difficult STEM projects. In doing so, they hope to encourage other women to do the same.
“Our demographic is 83%female and 17% male so we are a voice for young women. Social media has lot of negative influencers. We want to inspire young women,” says Veronica.
In this interview, Vanessa and Veronica share the secrets to their online success and how every young woman can take on STEM.
Michelle King: What is it like to be YouTube megastars?
Vanessa Merrell: We set up our YouTube channel to do a variety of content. We started about five years ago. We made YouTube videos because it was fun. That turned into more than three million subscribers. Then into a business. We are now running a business.
Veronica Merrell: To be 21 and to have this business is quite insane. We are young but we have acquired the skills we need as business women. We now have an empire that we have built ourselves. We are in charge of everything on our channel. A lot of people do not realize that YouTube is a business. We bought our house because of it.
King: What are you hoping to achieve with Project Upgrade?
Veronica: Project Upgrade is a series on our channel that aims to empower young girls to pursue a career in STEM. In the world of STEM women take up less than 23 percent of all jobs. When the project was presented to us we totally jumped on board because we feel very passionate about this. We get to collaborate with other women to build a product over three days.
King: What is it like to have to build a complex product in just three days?
Veronica: Creating the project was absolutely insane! My sister and I do not have a background in STEM. It was kind of intimidating. And we are surrounded by women who are so smart. But it was really cool because we get to work together. These women made us feel so comfortable. When you get women to team up and create something it is a really incredible experience.
Vanessa: We have had multiple teachers tweet us and share the show with their class. They have started conversations with their students about women in STEM. All the students were really excited. Especially the girls in the class. So, the project is doing its purpose. We did not know how to code or build things. What really helped us was the collaboration.
King: Your YouTube channel is completely family friendly and it seems like this is who you really are. How important is it for young women to be themselves?
Vanessa: Our channel is family friendly. We are just naturally like this. We don’t curse. We don’t show off our bodies. We are not discouraging body positivity or wearing certain clothes. But that is just not who we are. Over the years we have had many people tell us to do more mature content. Or to wear less clothes. Or to curse. This is discouraging because we are not like that at all. So, we just ignored people. And because we have stayed true to who we are it has resonated with our audience.
King: Based on all your experience do you have any advice for young women?
Vanessa: We always share one quote with our audience. That is: rejecting is protecting. When something doesn’t work out it just means you are being protected and there is something better out there for you. So, don’t lose hope. Things work out the way they are supposed to.
Veronica: And always be yourself! True authenticity is so rare nowadays. You do have a voice. You have the power to influence people. So just be yourself and stay true to who you are.