Though Los Angeles is notorious for its ability to discover the celebrities of the future, an important part of helping those stars gain fame are the entertainment journalists who choose to cover them. These journalists are oftentimes born out of people who were also once fans of actors and singers themselves and their coverage on the entertainment world play a vital role in how fans perceive their favorite artists.
“Well, I had a really bad obsession with Nick Jonas,” admits Natasha Dye.
Dye, an entertainment journalist who formerly worked at Popstar Magazine and is now the co-founder of YSBnow, became infatuated with celebrities and pop culture from a very young age, which helped pave the road for her career.
“I wanted to be Hilary Duff when I was little, and then it was Ashley Simpson,” Dye recalls. “I would make my dad wait 12 hours at the concerts with me. And then it was Dylan and Cole Sprouse. I met my best friend on a Sprouse Brothers fan club.”
Though she was a hardcore fangirl growing up, she never thought of her interests as anything more than a sort of right of passage every teen goes through. That is, until she was required to complete an internship in order to graduate high school. It was then that she spent a semester working at Teen Magazine.
“Six months after my internship, I got a call asking if I was Kelly’s intern. It was some guy from Popstar Magazine,” Dye remembers. “‘Demi Lovato is at this hotel and they need someone to interview her in 20 minutes. Can you get down there?’”
From there, Dye freelanced for Popstar Magazine, until the opportunity to work there full-time presented itself. She attended events, wrote stories, handled photoshoots, wrote quizzes, answered fan mail. It was also at Popstar that she met Colleen Broomall, her soon-to-be business partner. Broomall and Dye took charge of Popstar, working on most all of the aspects together.
“Sometimes we would make mistakes,” Dye admits. “With print, it’s frustrating because you write the magazine and then four to six weeks later it would hit the stands. Well, when Zayn left One Direction, we had already sent the magazine to the printer with a photo of him with the rest of One Direction.”
Though contributing at one of the largest teen magazine outlets was something Dye and Broomall enjoyed, they both wanted to venture out and create their own outlet.
“Being at Popstar was so fun but we didn’t own it, we didn’t get to call the shots,” says Dye. “And so, we had always talked about what we would do if we were in charge. If we could, we would want something that’s more real. We wanted the message to be different.”
And so, Dye and Broomall left Popstar in 2015 to spend the whole summer working on their own independent project and by October 2015, YSBnow was born.
YSBnow stands for “You’re So Beautiful Now.” The media outlet posts online articles and interviews with some of today’s biggest teen celebrities. Dye works in Los Angeles, while Broomall works primarily in New York.
“We wanted something positive. That’s what you want to tell people. You’re beautiful now. Not when you lose 10 pounds, not when you get a boyfriend, not when you get the right makeup. Right now,” says Dye. “It’s all about being positive and that really is where our interviews go to — that positive, self-love, inner beauty.”
And though building something from scratch is a huge feat, the two women have been able to build a solid following all on their own. Their Instagram has gained an impressive 160,000 followers in just over 3 years.
“That’s all organic and natural. We have never bought anything and that, I think, is kind of unique these days,” Dye says. “Now our DM’s blowup and kids get excited to interact with the account. The natural growth has been really nice but definitely unexpected.”
The positive response is something Dye takes very seriously. Though they’ve had a couple of interns over the years, YSBnow is essentially run solely by Dye and Broomall. As two, young women who report on teen entertainment, it can be hard to be taken seriously in the journalism world. They, however, believe that YSBnow is so much more than the typical source for teen news.
“We’re actually asking questions that kids want to know, things that teenagers care about,” Dye states. “My favorite part is knowing that what we are trying to do is working and that kids actually like it. When we started this we didn’t know if anyone was going to care. We’re kind of going against the whole generation of Insta-selfies and that kind of thing, you know?”
“When a kid reads one of the stories or watches an interview and says ‘Wow I really needed this today’ or even when they’re like ‘She didn’t say “you’re so beautiful now’” because that means they’re looking forward to that. That’s my favorite part.”
Though she’s been in the industry for over a decade, Dye says that she truly is a fangirl at heart, admiring so many of the young starlets she’s had the opportunity to work with. She even admits to being starstruck when she ran into Harry Styles at a Ray-Ban store at the Beverly Center, which is rather fitting considering she wrote her college thesis paper about One Direction fanfiction.
Both Dye and Broomall are well aware of the impact they leave on teens, due to the prevalent role media plays in today’s society. Virtually every young adult has a cell phone with access to the internet, Instagram and Twitter, who actively read and watch and follow. YSBnow give these kids a safe place to read about other people their age and connect with them on an outlet that radiates positivity and the significance of being your true, beautiful self, rather than hiding behind a filter.
YSBnow represents a new wave of social media outlets that focus on being genuine, rather than misguided trends that make young adults, and more specifically young girls, feel the need to change themselves to look like something that has been incorrectly identified as “perfect.”
More so, by having two young women run an entire company that highlights and celebrates the accomplishments and careers of successful teenage girls, Natasha and Colleen are creating a movement and revolutionizing what it means to be confident woman, both in front of and behind the camera.
“There are truly no limits,” Dye says. “We just want to keep growing and keep telling stories.”
Head to www.YSBnow.com for more, or follow @YSBnow and @NatashaDye on Instagram and Twitter.
Lilit Zakaryan is the Social Media Editor & Music Columnist at The PCC Courier. She is double majoring in Journalism and Communication Arts and plans to continue her studies in Pop Culture, with an emphasis in Music and Media, upon transferring in 2019. When she’s not laughing in the newsroom, she can be found interning at SiriusXM. Her goal is to work in Artist Relations so that she can combine her love of communication with her passion for helping artists manifest their musical dreams.