When Meghan McCarthy posted her impression of Boo from the Pixar movie Monster’s Inc. on Vine in August of 2013, she had 20 followers.
Later that day she had a couple hundred.
Now, barely six months later, McCarthy sits atop more than one million followers on Vine, almost 17,000 followers on Twitter, and 96,000 followers on Instagram, all of which are helping her land television deals, promotional offers, and other job opportunities across the country.
“I didn’t try super hard to get followers, so when it first started happening I thought I was going to throw up,” McCarthy said. “I went from like a thousand to a million in like six months, which is definitely not the fastest ever on Vine, but it felt really fast for me.”
A senior in theater at Auburn University who prides herself on her improv skills, McCarthy turned to the six-second video app when she said she felt stifled by her roles in school productions.
The pint-sized video prodigy and her trademark high-pitched voice now regularly amass thousands of Vine views a day. She sings six-second songs. She gives six-seconds worth of advice. She does six-second impressions of cartoon characters. And people love it.
“The most liked one ever was a Timmy Turner impression that I did,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know how many I have now but I have to have like 100,000 likes and Re-Vines. The actual voice over artist, Tara Strong, who does the voice of Timmy Turner on The Fairly Odd Parents liked it, so that was pretty exciting.”
After being recognized by a group of middle-school students outside a movie theater (and understandably freaking out), McCarthy said she’s been unable to go anywhere without running into fans of her work.
Companies like Oral B have contracted with McCarthy for sponsored Vines (which she creates herself). Her social media presence is also earning her voice over gigs, typically playing a fast-talking teenager, like the one she recently did for a Utah Honda dealership.
“I have to read through business contracts all the time now,” McCarthy said. “My directed studies teacher has been suggesting that I get an attorney.”
When it comes to dealing with negative side of ‘Net fame, a body guard might come in handy, too.
“There was one girl who was really rude… at a store,” McCarthy said. “She was following me around and asked me if I was from Vine, and when I told her she kept asking me to make a Vine with her. She was like ‘C’mon, make a Vine with me, make me Vine famous,’ and stuff. I was just trying to shop and she was following me around the whole store, so I ended just leaving. She was creepy.”
In addition to stalkers, McCarthy is constantly dealing with others profiting off her videos on Youtube. And of course there’s the steady stream of not-so-nice comments about her voice.
“Mean Comments With Meghan,” a video McCarthy posted to YouTube—her channel has 56,000 subscribers—in October, has already been viewed more than 600,000 times.
“That made the front page of Reddit and was talked about on some French radio station,” McCarthy said. “People always ask if it’s fake and that’s so annoying to me because why would I choose to sound like a toddler?”
With a fan base ranging from college students to middle schoolers, McCarthy said she maintains a firm commitment to staying family friendly.
“Some of the people that really made me want to start Vining are Marcus Johns, Jerome Jarre, Nicholas McGowan, they’re really creative and funny,” McCarthy said. “None of them are like super inappropriate either and I can appreciate that because they’re all in the top 10 and they don’t have to do anything bad to get more followers.”
Despite her meteoric social media success, McCarthy says Vine is “not something I plan on doing forever.” “My goal is to just do voice-overs for TV and film. I just really want to do comedies. I really like making people laugh.”
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