Cat Valdes’ Digital Life After Quitting YouTube

By Josh Burstein

The247: You posted in 2018: “I'm Quitting YouTube.” What’s changed for you since that video?

Cat: I can't even begin to describe how different my life is from what it was in my entire twenties. The amount of conventions and events and digital things I was going to was just nonstop. My life just revolved around the internet. My life revolved around my job.

I had no idea the impact it would have on my life when I actually quit. I just didn't understand the shift and what that would mean.

I work in tech now, in a more traditional corporate environment. I have way more structure. My life looks totally different. And I think it's for the better.

The247: How was that transition to a “desk job” at first?

I went into it having a lot of imposter syndrome thinking, "My coworkers all know what they're doing.” And I was just a YouTuber. “How can I be as good as they are and at something they've been doing forever?" I had a lot of things holding me back that I was really nervous about, thinking I just wasn't good enough.

But when I got the job I have now, in partnerships, I primarily help content creators make a lot of money! It’s really cool that the company I work for respects that I was a Creator in the past. They're just very Creator-centric. The fact that when I tell them, "Oh, that's not a good move. Trust me, all of my friends were Creators for a decade. I was a Creator for a decade,” they listen to that. And they actually find it very valuable.

The247: What helps you most in your role now coming from a Creator background?

I do know how Creators think, I know how they are motivated. I know so much about being a Creator because I was one. It's something you can't really teach. You can't go to school or get trained on it – you kind of just know it instinctively. And so I find that knowing all that in my core really helps me no matter where I go next.

The247: What’s your relationship with posting now?

I used to feel this constant monster on my back. "I have to post. I have to post. Keep engagement up. Never stop posting." For so long, that was always in the back of my head.

And now it's just quiet and I just never think about it. On my Instagram, I still post to my stories, but 99% of the stories I post are to my close friends.

The247: What’s most exciting to you now about the Creator landscape?

It feels like the potential for creators now is huge. If you’re onto something really cool, you can do so much with it. You can have a full brand, a podcast, merch, all that.

I'm such a nerd for TikTok. It's so fun. I feel like it actually connects me to my friends and families even more because I just send them TikToks all the time and there's inside jokes with it. I think it's cool because it reminds me a little bit of the OG YouTube days. It felt like a secret club that only a few people understood. And I get really excited even at VidCon, seeing TikTokers. I didn't feel that when I was a YouTuber about other YouTubers, but because I consume so much content now, I fangirl over the TikTokers.

The247: And what’s it like to attend VidCon in your new capacity?

I went to every single VidCon that's existed as a featured creator. And now I'm here working in corporate America tech, a behind-the-scenes person. And I love it. I'm not having to get rushed to constant panels and, yeah, I'm doing a couple, but it's manageable. I don't think people realize how intense VidCon could be for talent because it's just all eyes on you, all the time, move, move, move, and it's just a ton of people. I'm getting way more sleep, and it's great.

The247: Anything that has surprised you or maybe excited you?

To me, VidCon is all about the people you get to see and year after year. Because TikTok blew up during the pandemic, we haven't had a VidCon with tons of TikTokers. And so, to me, fangirling over the TikTokers, I saw a couple people like kallmekris, who, oh my God, I love her so much. It was just little things, where I keep getting starstruck by little, not little, massive TikTokers.

The247: What would you want to be your legacy as a Creator?

I want people who knew me or watched me to think, "Oh, she was a genuine person and she was always herself." A lot of times it's so easy to get wrapped up in who you want to be like, or kind of put on a show, perform. And I always tried so hard to just be me and… It's funny, YouTube's original slogan was YouTube Broadcast Yourself. And that's what drew it to me in 2008 when I started. "Oh, I just want to go be myself."

I think I did a good job of that, and I hope to continue to do that in the career that I have now.

Follow Cat: @Catrific

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The247 by Lightricks empowers, informs, and sparks the next big idea for creators, by creators. Come curious, Be inspired.