Pret-a-Reporter

YouTube Star Bunny Meyer Goes Back to School at SXSW With Refinery29

Courtesy of Refinery29
Bunny Meyer

The beauty vlogger met with fans as part of R29's School of Self Expression in Austin.

Bunny Meyer wasn’t scheduled to speak until 5 p.m. on Sunday at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, but hundreds of girls lined up outside of the Refinery29 space that morning, hoping to be one of the lucky few who would get to meet the 30-year-old beauty vlogger who goes by the name Grav3yardgirl on YouTube.

Blonde with piercing blue eyes and dressed all in black, Meyer stood out among the hoodie-wearing techies when she made her appearance that evening to discuss how she turned an interest in makeup and a sense of humor into one of the most popular beauty channels on YouTube. Meyer’s channel reaches 6.6 million subscribers and recently passed a gobsmacking 1 billion views. But she remains humble about the community she has created, known as the Swamp Family.

When SXSW moderator Moj Mahdara asked Meyer whether she considered herself a celebrity, she responded with an elongated, “No.”

“I still go to the same Starbucks,” she continued. “Nothing has changed about the way that I live my life. I have many more exciting opportunities and experiences, of course.”

Meyer was at the fest to promote a new subscription beauty box that she created in collaboration with Mahdara’s Beautycon, a company that produces festivals for lifestyle-focused social media stars and operates a digital destination for their community of fans.

Meyer’s appearance was part of three days of festivities at Refinery29’s School of Self Expression, a pop-up in Austin designed in collaboration with Neiman Marcus as an interactive experience for women that combined elements of technology, style and creativity. The bright white space, splashed with pink, green and blue pastels, was a noticeable departure from the bright lights and gadget-centric parties sprinkled around Austin for the interactive portion of SXSW.

And instead of focusing on digital interactivity, the School of Self Expression was focused on in-person interaction.

“We wanted to create a place that sparked imagination, sparked creativity,” explained Refinery29 creative director Piera Gelardi. The lineup that she curated was not filled with typical SXSW faces. Poet Cleo Wade hosted a workshop, NW Method’s Nicole Winhoffer taught a workout class, Chromat’s Becca McCharen talked wearable tech and Meyer discussed how to find beauty in humor.

“At Refinery29, we cover all the different interests that make a whole woman,” continued Gelardi. “When we were thinking about the School of Self Expression, we wanted to create programming that spoke to our different verticals but also different forms of self expression.”

At the end of Meyer’s panel on Sunday, the last event before Refinery29 packed up for New York, the fans who had been waiting outside since the early hours of the morning began to trickle in for a meet-and-greet with her. The line had ballooned to well beyond the 200 who were given wristbands for the event, but the vlogger promised to stay until every last one of them had a chance to say hello and take a selfie. “These are people who watch every day,” Meyer explained. “I wish there were more ways to connect on the other side.”

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