Are YouTubers Celebrities? Is There Really a Difference?

Many celebrities become influencers, and there are many examples of influencers who have become celebrities. So, what makes YouTubers and celebrities different?

Celebrities Vs. YouTube Influencers

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got his start as a WWE wrestler. From there, he joined the entertainment industry and acted in several movies. Today he… posts sponsored content on YouTube and Instagram?

Mainstream celebrities and entertainers are often favorite influencers because they have tons of fans who are quick to follow them on social media and interactive platforms.

On the flip side, Nessa Barrett started her career not on mainstream media but as a popular TikToker. She grew as an influencer on favorite platforms like YouTube gaining a number of subscribers by creating her own content before eventually signing with a record label and being featured on radio and talk shows.

There is definitely some overlap when it comes to celebrities and influencers, but I think we can agree these terms have different meanings. It is difficult to draw the line at exactly where the meaning of celebrity status begins. Still, many influencers reach a level of fame that earns them celebrity status in their own right (Mr. Beast, for example), even before branching out into tv, film, music, or pro sports (i.e., Jake Paul).


The definition of celebrity is “a famous person.” What constitutes fame isn’t super clear. Are you a famous video creator if you have 1,000 followers? We can agree that The Rock is a celebrity with 364 million followers on Instagram, but where the cutoff is subjective. In any case, influencers and online content creators like PewDiePie (111M YouTube subscribers) can certainly achieve fame.

YouTube Influencer

YouTubers are simply “people who create content for YouTube.” On the other hand, influencers have “the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service through social media.” Not everyone who creates content for YouTube has influence (they might not have any subscribers or even views). Achieving influencer status on YouTube suggests a certain level of authority and following, which would push them closer to the idea of celebrity status. However, influencing a few sales with a YouTube review is a far shot from traditional celebrities like The Rock, whose promotional and youtube content can reach millions of subscribers.

Internet Celebrity

“Internet celebrity” is a good compromise for influencers in the gray area between just creating content and being famous. It implies a certain amount of fame related to their internet following, but not on the same level as outright celebrities from the red carpet in Hollywood or professional sports stars.

What Does it Take for a YouTuber to be a Celebrity?

Again, there is no exact list of criteria, such as the number of followers or hooked subscribers, that you must reach to be considered a celebrity. There are different levels of celebrity, from local figures to mainstream stars to global superstars. For a YouTuber to earn the perception of celebrity status, consider the following factors.


Fame, AKA reach, subscribers, followers, etc., is certainly a component of being a celeb. The larger your audience and the more fans you have, the closer you are to celebrity status. 


Many would argue that fame isn’t the only component of being a celebrity. You might be famous or infamous, but a lack of influence limits your potential. For YouTube influencers, influence might look like engagement, shares, or the ability to manipulate the market (even on a small scale).


Your niche can also play a large role in how popular you become on YouTube. For example, a music video has a much greater chance of going viral than posting videos about how-to for printer repair. Your niche can also affect how much you make as a YouTuber.

Can YouTubers be More Famous Than Celebrities?

Absolutely! While celebrities generally have surpassed a high threshold for fame and influence, there are YouTubers more famous than celebrities, with over 100 million subscribers, more than many low-ranking actors and musicians.

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The vast majority of YouTubers make no money at all. Some earn small amounts of ad revenue from their online videos. A few might earn profitable brand sponsorships. But a very small percentage are able to make a living from YouTube, let alone become rich off of their content.

There isn’t really a more specific word than “YouTube celebrity.” Internet celebrities, YouTube famous, online stars, or simply “popular YouTuber” are all ways to describe those who have had great success on the online video-sharing platform.

While the most popular YouTube channel is T-Series which posts music videos, the most popular individual on YouTube is currently Mr. Beast.

While some online influencers obtain celebrity status with millions of followers or subscribers, those with a small influence of only a few hundred or thousand people probably wouldn’t be considered celebrities by most.

There is no quantifiable definition of what constitutes a celebrity. Once a large portion of the general public knows who you are, or once you become a “household name,” most people would probably agree you are a celebrity.

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