Charlie-is-so-“English”-like: Nationality and the branded-celebrity person in the age of YouTube

Smith, Daniel (2014) Charlie-is-so-“English”-like: Nationality and the branded-celebrity person in the age of YouTube. Celebrity Studies, 5 (3). pp. 256-274. ISSN 1939-2400.


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The YouTube celebrity is a novel social phenomenon. YouTube celebrities have implications for the social and cultural study of celebrity more generally but in order to illustrate the features of vlogging celebrity and its wider dimensions, this article focuses upon one case-study – Charlie McDonnell and his video ‘How to be English’. The premise of YouTube – ‘Broadcast Yourself’ – begs the question ‘but what self?’ The article argues the YouTube celebrity is able to construct a celebrity persona by appealing to aspects of identity, such as nationality, and use them as a mask(s) to perform with. By situating Charlie’s ‘How to be English’ in the context of establishing celebrity, the article argues that the processes of celebrification and ‘self-branding’ utilise the power of identity myths to help assist the construction of a celebrity persona. Use of masks and myths allows for one to develop various aspects of their persona into personae. One such persona for Charlie is his ‘Englishness’. As the social experience of ‘Broadcasting Yourself’ necessarily asks one to turn ordinary aspects of their person into extra-ordinary qualities, Charlie’s use of Englishness allows ‘being English’ to become a mythological device to overcome the problem of ‘self-promotion’.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: YouTube, Charlie McDonnell, branding, mythology, Englishness
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2014 11:01
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2016 08:50

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00