At the bright young age of 12, I was very focused on my squad goals. Not in the sense of celebrity #SQUADGOALS, but as in my literal cheerleading squad. After moving from Canada to Germany, I longed for the friendships and community I'd had with my team back home. Worried that I’d fall behind in my sport, I set out to create a YouTube channel to chronicle my routines and connect with other cheerleaders — and MayBaby Tumbler was born.
Little did I know, I would eventually have a "squad" comprised of nearly 5 million subscribers that reached far beyond the cheerleading community. Cheerleading led me to YouTube, but only once I decided to leave the sport and move to Los Angeles did I realize my true dream of becoming a YouTube personality and actress.
Everyone says you learn a lot about yourself when you move away from home. After cheering competitively throughout high school, making it onto a college squad was my be-all and end-all goal. My time with the awesome FTG Bullets in Germany had prepared me really well, and in the summer of 2013, I was honored to be selected to the University of Central Florida cheerleading team.
During the summer semester, though, I began to have doubts about seeing myself there for the next four years. Before the fall semester started, I decided to take a quick trip out to L.A. to visit my friend Alexa, whom I had met at YouTube conference.
L.A. was just as I had pictured it from her Instagram photos: full of sparkling lights, beaches, palm trees, and endless highways. There was also an aura of mystery to the place. As a city known for creating stars, there’s a sense of hope in the beauty of the landscape and the people you meet; everyone is full of optimism because, in the City of Dreams, the possibilities seem endless.
When I returned to school, I kept thinking about that trip and how different my life could be if I lived there. Sitting in my dorm room, I stared at the hard-won black-and-gold cheer uniform hanging in my closet, and in those moments between daydreaming and doubting my decision to be in college, my true goals became clear. I needed to move to L.A.
The hardest part of making the decision to leave school was the feeling that I was letting my coach and squad down. I had made a commitment to the team, but I also knew that the greater commitment I had was to myself and pursuing what was right for me. Even though I made the decision to move on my own, having the encouragement of my family gave me strength, knowing that I wasn’t alone in believing in my dream. I was super fortunate to be able to support myself financially with my YouTube channel revenue, but having my family for emotional support was really important to me, because I know that a lot of people struggle with loved ones who doubt their dreams as a way to protect them from failure.
Once I was settled in L.A., I took to creating content for my channel with the same sense of determination and concentration that I would have applied to my schooling at UCF. My home had gone from a dorm room to an apartment I shared with two guys in Park La Brea, but it was exactly the environment I needed to be creative and develop my personality online. My videos took on a more personal tone as I explored things I was passionate about, such as DIY, lifestyle topics, and even singing! I never gave myself a timeline to succeed, because once you decide that something is your career, you can’t give up on it. The passion for your work moves you forward through sacrifices and on to success.
I take L.A. day by day. I live in the moment and embrace the experiences I have because I know they will make me into the person I want to become. If I hadn’t gone to L.A., I would probably be halfway through my degree in marketing at UCF by now, but I would still have the “what if” thought in the back of my mind about my decision to stay, wondering how life would have been if I'd made the move to L.A. Thankfully, trusting myself allowed me to prevent that scenario from happening, which opened up all the amazing opportunities I have today.
A lot of the time, we feel stuck on the path we’ve started out on. Being a college cheerleader and getting a university education are incredible opportunities, but they just weren’t right for me at the time. I’ve learned that it’s always possible to change your direction. If you trust in yourself and you’re dedicated, it’s never too late to pursue your dream.
Want to be an MTV Founders contributor? Send your full name, age, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org