YouTube has cemented itself as one of the top platforms for influencers and creators over the past decade, with over 2 billion monthly active users globally. This immense audience and creative outlet has given rise to YouTube stars turning their passions into lucrative careers. For those in the Chicago area aspiring to become influencers themselves or fans wanting to follow exciting local talent, there is no shortage of addictively watchable channels to explore.
In this comprehensive guide, we reveal the top 10 must-follow Chicago YouTubers that should be on your radar for 2023 and beyond. From viral sensations boasting millions of subscribers to rising talent making their mark, these Windy City natives are creating buzzworthy content spanning comedy, music, family, beauty/lifestyle, and more. Let‘s dive in!
The Chicago YouTube Landscape
While the platform‘s epicenter lies in creator hubs like Los Angeles and New York City, Chicago has emerged as a hotbed for fresh talent. In fact, Illinois ranks #6 in the United States for total YouTubers according to influencer marketing agency Mediakix. The diversity in genres remains strong with comedy, hip hop, and family channels gaining notable traction.
So what explains this Windy City momentum? Chicago offers a vibrant yet affordable alternative to coastal cities where competition intensifies. This allows creators space to hone their crafts. As channels thrive and collaborations unfold, a supportive community forms.
Once channels hit critical mass, Chicago‘s central geographic location makes coordinating brand deals and touring manageable without uprooting entirely. It‘s the best of both worlds!
Now let‘s explore the top channels and talent putting Chicagoland on the map.
1. Jibrizy – 3.59 Million Subscribers
Kicking off our list is magician and entertainer Jibrizy Taylor, who has amassed an incredible 3.59 million subscribers since joining YouTube in 2021. While his illusion skills and controversial "mind reading" acts generate skepticism at times, Jibrizy knows how to work a crowd and compel millions to watch his antics.
Beyond magic shows and pranks, Jibrizy engages fans with lighthearted vlogs, captivating music reactions, Sprite commercial parodies, and even displaying his drumming chops. One particularly viral video where he "reads minds" of random people has gained over 46 million views!
Jibrizy provides a blueprint for leaning into outlandish concepts while balancing authenticity. This formula continues fueling massive growth as he aims to hit 5 million subscribers in 2023.
2. Cristina Villegas – 1.76 Million Subscribers
Beauty/style influencer Cristina Villegas boasts an impressive 1.76 million subscribers on her YouTube channel spanning nearly a decade. While launching her career in the beauty space, Cristina expanded her empire to become an entrepreneur and real estate investor as well. She gives fans a genuine window into these ventures along with her personal life as a mom.
Beyond being a business boss babe, Cristina shares makeup tutorials, fashion hauls, honest handbag reviews, vacation vlogging, and even documents her various cosmetic procedures and surgeries. Her down-to-earth vibe and fierce sense of style make her videos binge-worthy. Several debt payoff updates and videos with millions of views cement her as a longtime OG in the Chicago influencer space!
3. Hailey Lainee – 609K Subscribers
As a model turned mommy blogger, Hailey Lainee brings her passion for style combined with completely unfiltered realities of motherhood. Her channel The Laine Family invites viewers along for a heartwarming ride – gaining over 609K subscribers since branching into vlogging.
Previously pursuing modeling full-time with Chicago-based agencies, Hailey provides lifestyle inspiration rooted in the joys of fashion and makeup glam. However since welcoming her new baby, she shifts focus toward documenting the new mom experience – stretch marks, sleepless nights and all! Get candid pregnancy updates, mom hacks, relationship advice, and more. At just 25-years-old herself, Hailey tackles challenges head-on with admirable grace.
4. Mackenzie Davies – 515K Subscribers
Speaking of grace, for those with a love of dance, check out Chicago-based ballerina Mackenzie Davies and her channel dancingwithmackenzie. Boasting over 515K subscribers, she invites fans along on her aspirations to dance professionally while giving a peak behind-the-scenes of competition life.
Amidst impressive routines showcasing her talents, Mackenzie displays refreshing vulnerability discussing body image, toxicdiet culture, and other pressures young dancers face today. She also documents lighter fare like testing viral TikTok beauty hacks, sharing details on her personal life, and revealing favorite makeup products and skincare staples as well. Mackenzie‘s positivity and drive at just 20-years-old is infectious!
5. She Hawaiin – RAYSOWAVYY – 496K Subscribers
RAYSOWAVYY aka She Hawaiin brings her vivacious spirit and bold sense of style to YouTube. With nearly 500K subscribers, she engages fans with fun challenge videos, travel vlogs showing off island adventures back home, tasty mukbangs, and getting glam for nights out on the town. Her vibrant energy jumps off the screen!
RAYSOWAVYY shares the ebbs and flows of building her influencer career, tackling video ideas that flop, dealing with trolls, but always bouncing back wiser. This transparency and willingness to show vulnerabilities build a strong connection with her audience. She also proudly reps her Chicago roots with brand collaborations spotlighting local minority-owned businesses.
6. Shaun Rodriguez – 250K Subscribers
No stranger to controversy, Chicago-born vlogger Shaun Rodriguez gives raw, unfiltered looks into his life experiences growing up in the city and overcoming a troubled past. Documenting his journey battling addiction and run-ins with the law while finding positive passions in music and skateboarding, Shaun tackles hard topics. His videos illustrate firsthand complications facing disadvantaged youths.
While nearing 250K subscribers on his YouTube channel, Shaun also interacts directly with fans on Instagram Live and other platforms. This cultivates a devoted community supporting his success story as he turns life lessons into inspiration for others.
7. Robert Loyale – 63K Subscribers
Transitioning gears, business consultant and apparel expert Robert Loyale caters to aspiring clothing designers and custom merch sellers. His steadily growing channel explains the ins and outs of navigating the hypercompetitive apparel space. With almost 65K subscribers, Robert provides immense value.
From heat transfer vinyl basics to licensing and legal hurdles, Robert equips his audience with actionable steps to elevate product quality, enhance branding, choose the right print providers, and boost sales. He also interviews other experts across manufacturing, social media marketing, and more. If building a t-shirt empire sparks your entrepreneurial spirit, subscribe now!
8. VibeBrit – 6K Subscribers
A relative newcomer on the scene, bubbly lifestyle blogger VibeBrit invites fans into her fabulous world while highlighting local Chicago minority-owned businesses. While uploads are currently infrequent as she balances school and influencer hustles, VibeBrit made an impressive debut. Her inaugural videos introduce brands she proudly reps that reflect underrepresented communities often overlooked.
With just under 6K subscribers currently, VibeBrit possesses untapped potential thanks to her infectious energy, fearless authenticity, and creative vision. If she continues consistently uploading, 2023 could witness her star rise even further!
9. Abbey Strohmeyer – 6K Subscribers
For makeup addicts and cosmetic lovers, artistic influencer Abbey Strohmeyer shares beauty content spanning reviews, new releases, tutorials, testing viral hacks and more. Documenting honest impressions for nearly 6K subscribers, Abbey tries the latest products hitting the market so viewers can obsess along with her.
From prestige splurges to drugstore dupes, Abbey provides swatches galore and critiques everything from complexion to lips. While a smaller channel still building her audience, Abbey brings passion to testing every rainbow eyeshadow palette, glittery launch, and over-the-top highlighter in existence. Her excitement beams through the camera making even product fails entertaining. Glam fam unite!
10. Nakita C – 2.7K Subscribers
Last but certainly not least, inspirational creator Nakita Collins stands poised to make major moves in 2023. While extremely new to YouTube with just over 2.5K subscribers, this promising up-and-comer founder her passion. Nakita brings motivation to educating and uplifting others through candid conversations on self-improvement, toxic relationships, and overcoming life‘s difficult lessons.
Her fearless authenticity in discussing sensitive topics combined with a natural on-camera presence shine through. And early fans are taking notice! With better equipment and more consistency, Nakita can quickly scale her positive message. We‘ll be rooting for this star-in-the-making.
Beyond these top 10 breakout creators, Chicago enjoys an vibrant YouTube ecosystem across every genre imaginable. Comedy commentary, music reactions, family vlogging channels and more ultra-niche passions thrive as well. The opportunities for growth remain exponential.
Tips for Aspiring Chicago YouTubers
For those in the early stages, take notes from these creators finding immense audiences. While every channel must ultimately channel their unique voice, here are proven building blocks:
Pick a Distinct Niche: With over 37 million channels on YouTube, focusing your content thematically helps videos get discovered.
Commit to Consistency: Algorithm favor channels that upload regularly. Set a release cadence for maximum momentum.
Optimize Video SEO: Research target keywords, incorporate them appropriately in titles/descriptions, leverage end cards for higher watch time.
Engage Viewers: Respond to comments, ask questions, and build authentic connections beyond just filming videos.
Collaborate Locally: Chicago creators often exchange shoutouts and make cameo appearances in each others‘ videos to merge audiences.
As these tips demonstrate, YouTube mastery integrates understanding both production and marketing intricacies. But by laying the right foundations and leveraging the built-in audience of YouTube fans seeking entertainment every day, Chicago-based talent can thrive with persistence.
So there you have it – the top 10 must-subscribe Chicago YouTubers to follow entering 2023! From viral sensations to hidden gems waiting to be discovered across genres like comedy, commentary, family, beauty and beyond, the Windy City boasts star power aplenty.
Which creator‘s journey resonates most? Who would you collab with? And when will we see your channel rise up the ranks?
With YouTube‘s global stage continuing expanding and the Chicago community rallying around breakout stars, plenty of room exists for fresh talent. Just don‘t forget to like and subscribe!