It’s a long, winding road to Internet fame. In fact, Meghan Camarena almost took a different road altogether.
You know, an actual road: Had Camarena, known on YouTube as Strawburry17, not pursued a career online, she “would either be doing NASCAR or be a stunt woman,” she told the audience gathered at VidCon to hear her Saturday at Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE’s Interview Stage.
And if either of those options sound a little bit scary, remember: The Internet is a frightening place, too. “It’s like I’m opening myself up to all of these people I don’t know,” she says.
It’s a process that wasn’t always easy for Camarena, who says she had a difficult time making friends when she was growing up.
“Sometimes I feel like I couldn’t relate with anybody. I would almost have to change the things that I really liked or hide the stuff I was passionate about to try and be cool,” she says. “It really kept me from being myself.”
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These days, she doesn’t struggle so much in the squad department. “I have a ton of friends,” she says. “You guys are my friends.” And that’s just one more reason she made the right decision back when people told her that YouTube was just a fad and she was wasting her time.
“Sometimes, you have to go with your gut. I believed in it. I believe in the Internet,” she says. “Just because someone doesn’t get what you want to do doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right thing to do. So I just felt it in my gut, and I trusted it.”
• Reporting by MARIAH HAAS