Interview: Megan Batoon

by Ceylan Kumbarji

When we discovered Megan Batoon, the dancer, podcaster and comedian that has risen to success on YouTube, we wanted to know more. Having progressed  as a professional dancer in her early career, she starred in the film Step Up 4 and although dancing has always been her passion, she decided against being behind the artists, and wanted to be the artist herself.

After realising that she wanted a career change, her YouTube channel was born and her followers continued to grow. Megan started the channel with dance videos, but now it has a bit of everything – comedy and personality videos included. The popularity of her channel has also led to the birth of her advice podcast. We love that Megan has combined so many different types of creativity into one – we chatted to her about just how she made this work, her journey to where she is now and who her biggest inspirations have been along the way…

“Go and do what you want to do and stop thinking about failing. If you don’t do it, that’s already failing – just go and do whatever you have your heart set on.” – Megan Batoon

Taylor Magazine: Tell us about you and what you do!

Megan Batoon: I’m a digital content creator – I do a lot of dance and comedy content. My main platform is YouTube, but I’ve also crossed over to Instagram and all of the others too! I’ve also just recently started an advice podcast, which is really exciting.

Taylor Magazine: That sounds cool! How did you get into that realm of work, and was it always something you wanted to get do?

Megan Batoon: I always wanted to do something within entertainment, but I didn’t know all of the possibilities!.I got into dance when I was younger. I was cheerleading and when I discovered dance I really came out of my shell. I had finally found something that I was really good at. I tried auditioning in Miami and I ended up spending around five months on a film called Step Up 4. That was the moment I realised that I could definitely make a living from professional dancing.

After we wrapped Step Up 4, I came out to LA and I did an audition, but I didn’t love it and I didn’t feel that going to all of these auditions was the right thing for me to do personally. Instead of dancing behind artists, I wanted to be the artist and realised that I could actually do that. I changed my career path and started making YouTube videos and I really felt that I could have more of a voice and impact people all over the world. I loved the transition and it all just happened on its own!

Taylor Magazine: At what point did you realise that this was something that you could do as a career?

Megan Batoon: I don’t really know to be honest – that’s an interesting question! I was working a restaurant job and I started making YouTube videos for a couple of months on the side – I just wanted to test and see if I could do it. I never thought of it solely being my career. I said to my manager, I’m taking four months off, and if I can’t make a living off of YouTube, then I’ll come back. I’m so stubborn, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t really work at the beginning, I definitely wasn’t making enough money to pay my rent or anything! I did know that I wanted to make it work though – I quit the job, never went back and put all of my effort into making YouTube videos. So I guess overall, I just made it work.

Taylor Magazine: What do you love most about what you do?

Megan Batoon: There are so many things I love! Two of the top things are being able to create something any day and every day, and whatever you feel like could help you. It’s almost like therapy! You create things that will help you on that certain day. The second thing is being able to impact other people, regardless of where you are in the world.

Taylor Magazine: It sounds great! That’s one of the amazing things about social media, you can connect with people all over the world. Talking of social media in particular, what is it that you think has helped you progress the most, and do you have a favourite part of social media?

Megan Batoon: Instagram for anyone that is in this industry is the most compelling. People like to look at things, more than they like to read things. That can be kind of sad, but it is also so great. It’s easy to talk to people on Instagram, stay updated and it’s a great tool to get things out there. Instagram is definitely one of the platforms that has helped me get as far as I have.

Taylor Magazine: When you started, when did it take off and when did you notice lots of people taking interest?

Megan Batoon: When I first started my channel, it was just for my dancing. When I got out to LA and started doing comedy, people were watching but it was still dance focused. Numbers started to accumulate when it was a combination of dance videos and personality type videos. People got two windows into who I was – viewers could get to know me as well as watch my dancing. Putting a voice to that helps people get closer to you – almost like having a friend which lets an audience grow. The first time that I felt progress with regards to numbers of people watching was when I made a dance video I spent a long time on – it was the first time I got a moving camera! It got a lot of views and it was a big deal for me! Also the milestone, hitting 100,000 and so forth! I’m yet to get a million, but I think it might happen soon!

Taylor Magazine: Do you plan your strategy in advance and set yourself goals for the year, or do you just go with the flow?

Megan Batoon: I don’t go with the flow… at all! I love goals and deadlines. I shoot for something and make a wish-list – whether that’s creating a new series, or hitting a certain amount of numbers. I don’t get upset if these things don’t happen, because they will in the right time, but I always set goals.

Taylor Magazine: So, talk to us about your podcast? Why did you set this up?

Megan Batoon: I love the podcast! I wanted to do it for a few years, but I just never had the right angle. I didn’t know what I wanted to talk about, or what others wanted to hear. I realised that my relationship type of videos do really well on my channel – I wanted to keep my YouTube channel fun, fast and family friendly, so that’s when I decided to start an advice podcast instead. With the introduction of the podcast, my YouTube following has changed slightly, so the age tends to be around 22. I just felt like it was the perfect time to be that older sister and help listeners through those difficult changes in life you experience around your early 20’s. It’s definitely an older target market – so a lot of the things I talk about wouldn’t be shared on YouTube. It’s basically a hangout session for the older kid. That’s what I really like about it!

Taylor Magazine: It ties in with what you’re already doing, but it’s also something that people can follow along with on another platform, so it sounds ideal! So on another note, what challenges have you experienced with your work?

“If you’re feeling bad, it’s important to talk about it. No one is happy all of the time, so it’s good to talk about it online. Speaking about it will help people even more than you think!” – Megan Batoon

Megan Batoon: There is definitely a handful! Putting yourself out on the internet is enough to make you vulnerable. But, if you’re feeling bad, it’s important to talk about it. No one is happy all of the time, so it’s good to talk about it online. Speaking about it will help people even more than you think! So although it is a challenge, it’s a blessing in a way too. Another challenge is always being inspired – things change so quickly and keeping people interested can be so difficult. Adapting to this can be really hard! Staying inspired in an ever-changing environment is the biggest challenge for me.

Taylor Magazine: It’s a challenge, but it’s also something where you can reach out to people and bring positivity into their lives, which is great! Talk us through an average day for you…

Megan Batoon: Every day is very different! Today I’m working on merchandise, which is basically making sure the apparel is absolutely perfect! Later today I’m editing a video, editing the podcast and recording an ad for the podcast, booking guests! I guess it’s half admin and half practical.

Taylor Magazine: It sounds like you have a lot of things on at once! What advice would you give to someone that wanted to start working for themselves, or working on a number of projects at the same time, but had no idea where to begin?

Megan Batoon: The first thing would be that you have to believe in yourself, so much! You’re the only one that is going to believe in yourself from the beginning, so you have to be your failsafe. Another thing I’ve learned, is just ask for help, even if it’s a little bit sooner than needed! I never did that, and I really wish I did. People want to be a part of something as long as they feel valued, and there is a common goal at the end. Just stay positive through everything – lead by example through your attitude and hard work.

Taylor Magazine: We’re all about self-care and being the best version of yourself. What do you do to relax when you feel like you need to slow down?

Megan Batoon: I really love cooking – I do a food subscription service. It’s great because you don’t have to think about it! I throw on some jazz music and mentally check out. I put all of my energy into it and at the end you’ve done something for yourself. When you follow a recipe, it’s a mindful activity and you’re solely focused on that so you forget about other things. It’s like meditating, but with food! As good as meditation is, I can’t quite get there. I’ve tried my hardest every day, and it is really hard to do. Cooking at the end of the day is my meditation.

Taylor Magazine: What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

Megan Batoon: You get out what you put in – although at 16 I did already know that. But that piece of advice has always helped me get to where I am now and is the whole basis of my work ethic. But, if I had to say one thing, it would be just go for it and stop second guessing it. Go and do what you want to do and stop thinking about failing. If you don’t do it, that is already failing – just go and do whatever you have your heart set on.

Taylor Magazine: Good advice! What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

Megan Batoon: Wow… the first thing that comes to mind is one of my favourite comedians, Bo Burnham (he started on YouTube too!) He created his second comedy special called ‘Make Happy’, which was so extremely well done. I was so inspired by it and his song touched me so much, so I knew I had to make a piece to it. I did my best to search every day until the song came out and when it finally did, I made a dance piece to it and tagged him on Twitter. He saw it and loved it, commented on the video saying it was really special to see another artist take on what he had done and make it their own. It was a full circle of inspiration and I remember thinking that this was the apex of anything that could happen!

“Stay positive through everything – lead by example through your attitude and hard work.” – Megan Batoon

Taylor Magazine: We’ve seen on your Instagram that you have done quite a bit of travelling! What has been your favourite place that you’ve visited recently, and where would you love to go next?

Megan Batoon: I love Italy! A couple of years ago, I went to Rome twice for work. The problem is, I never travel for fun, it’s always for work but I do love to add an extra day so I can go and explore on my own. Italy is absolutely gorgeous. I would go every summer if I could! Paris is another one – I was there on a layover for around six hours but I want to see more! Also, Bali would be really cool!

Taylor Magazine: Tell us something nobody knows about you!

Megan Batoon: I don’t think many people know that I’ve entered Guitar Hero competitions! I don’t even know if that game is still out, but I used to compete! I never won the really hard ones… but that’s a weird thing many people don’t know!

Taylor Magazine: Love that! What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Megan Batoon: I really want to start making more content and dance stuff, because I’ve been injured for a while! Also work on more merchandise stuff that is focused on people who are maybe finding their own place… that’s the end goal!

Taylor Magazine: So you’ll be in LA for the rest of the summer?

Megan Batoon: Yeah… unfortunately I don’t have any time to travel!

Taylor Magazine: What is your favourite thing about LA as a city?

Megan Batoon: I absolutely love that there is always something to do! As someone who is fairly introverted, I can pick and choose where I want to go. There is never nothing going on! There is so much comedy in LA as well, which I can’t get enough of!

Taylor Magazine: Our last question for you is… who would you say is your biggest inspiration, and why?

Megan Batoon: Great last question! It’s been a lot of different people. I really did look up to Bo Burnham for a long time and I’m growing a little bit away from that into a different act. I’m more interested in building an empire in lieu of say, Jessica Alba or Lauren Conrad, who have taken a nugget of something and made it a huge thing.

Take a look at Megan’s amazing content by following her YouTube, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook.

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