Though she is a successful actress, producer, and best-selling author, it’s Eva Gutowski’s fun-loving and hilarious personality that sets her apart from the crowd. She uses her incredible talent of humor to make personal connections with each of her viewers every single day. Her stories range from goofy and light-hearted topics to much heavier and tough subjects such as speaking out about sexual assault. No matter the subject or day, Gutowski comes at life full throttle and never lets up. We got the chance to chat with Gutowski about her YouTube career, future projects, and the message she shares with her fans in our Fall 2018 issue.
What made you want decide to record and publish that first video on YouTube?
When I was growing up, I thought about being a teacher, a counselor, a therapist or psychologist, but at the time I was also discovering my love for acting, writing, editing and video. Basically just dipping my hands into all things creative. I started a YouTube channel just to practice talking in front of a camera more. I posted the videos to Facebook for my hometown friends to see. Little did I know I was growing a community of people all over the world on YouTube. It’s crazy because going to college I was always taught that I would have to get an internship my junior year, then work my way up for decades until maybe if I’m in the top .000001% of the absolute best people out there, I’d get a talk show and be as cool as Oprah. I started MyLifeAsEva and suddenly I had my talk show and was my own little Oprah for anyone who decided to click and watch a video of mine. I was doing my ultimate dream job right when I got home from school each day.
What’s the best and worst part about being your own boss?
The best part is just that I get to be my own BOSS! I get to wake up and do yoga if I want for an hour, or surf until 2pm on a Wednesday. I can make my own hours and each day I get to wake up and just be creative. The worst part though, is that there really is no start and finish time. Lots of people think it would be so freeing to be a YouTuber, but nobody sees the fact that I and many others work 7 days a week, most times 9 AM to 10 PM, editing in a room for 8+ hours straight, then skipping over to writing, planning future projects, responding to emails, keeping up with socials etc. I think most people see the end result and just think, “Why are they complaining, they just upload videos for a living,” but it’s so much more than that. Lots of us put on multiple hats a day, which a usual set would have a specific person for, but we do it all and it results in never taking a true break.
What was the most challenging moment in your YouTube journey so far?
I think the most challenging moment so far is learning to not be so hard on yourself. I’m a perfectionist and I’ve let my own mind think something was “not as perfect” as I wanted it to be, and then getting consumed in that idea. I take every detail very seriously, so if the music in a video isn’t “perfect” to me or a font that I use isn’t the “perfect” one I had in my head, I won’t stop looking until I find it, which often times takes hours out of my day.
What about your proudest?
Proudest moment was for sure releasing my book. Growing up I would write full-on novels and tuck them under my bed as a hobby. To get to work with a publisher that believed in my ability to write and produce a book that would be sold around the world is insane to me, and I’ll forever be proud of that. Especially because a lot of the darker subject matter in my book were things that I told myself back when I was growing up that I was given the burden of handling, because God knew someday I’d use the experiences to help others. I was just a kid going through tough stuff with no light at the end of the tunnel. That thought I had basically made me create my own light in the tunnel. Ten years later, I got to write a book to help other people who are having trouble finding their light, and I think I did it. I honestly feel like that was my purpose in life, and that is the craziest feeling—to be able to feel like you did something permanently good for the world.
Last year, your book My Life As Eva: The Struggle is Real was published. Tell us about the process of writing the book! Did any part of the process surprise you?
Writing a book is extremely difficult. I knew I wanted to write my book 100% myself, but had no idea how much work it would really be. There’s so much pre-planning and writing that goes into getting the book writing process done efficiently, and then you have to dive into the actual writing of the book, I was constantly stressed out getting emails saying “we need 40,000 words by Friday!” I had to push my launch date a few times because I was late on my deadlines, but in the end I’m glad I did it myself.
When I saw that I was actively making conversations start with people, I knew I had really made something special.
What are some of the books that helped you get through life?
I used to read a lot of teen books like The Clique series and The It Girl series. The books were mostly about boys and boarding school, rich kids and fashion, which was the polar opposite of my life, but I love those books because they inspired me to get into fashion rather than look like everyone else at my school wearing Hollister head to toe. Even though my clothes were from the goodwill, I felt like the girls in my books in spirit. I think it really inspired me to think more uniquely and creatively.
What was it like sharing something as heavy as your sexual assault in such a public setting?
I knew I had millions of people that trusted me on a personal level, and thought if I came out with my story, maybe they would have someone they looked up to finally acknowledge that this is a real problem. Sexual assault is something a lot of people are scared to acknowledge or have an open conversation about. No one in my family, friends, or followers knew I was posting the video on my channel, so reactions to it all happened at once. Luckily all the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Within just a few hours of the video being posted, I had tens of thousands of comments on the video of people sharing their stories, some for the first time. I just kept refreshing the video over and over again each minute to watch peoples feedback come in, and when I saw that I was actively making conversations start with people, I knew I had really made something special.
If you’re comfortable with it, would you share a bit about what your experience with the aftermath of what that was like and what your healing process looked like?
You can see a lot of what I had to go through in my book video, but I would say the main takeaway I learned was this lesson: My struggles were given to me. I wasn’t meant to go about my life, never feeling pain or struggle or hardship. I was meant to feel it all. To feel happiness in your life, you need to first understand what it means to hurt. The more you struggle, the more you appreciate life once the struggle is conquered. Once I learned to understand the importance of a hard experience, I understood how to work really hard to feel happiness. It’s a cycle. Pain is never “over,” and it will keep coming. But now that I’m aware of it, I’m ready for it when it happens and I accept pain’s inevitability.
How did you come up with “Holy Schnitzel”? Is there a story behind that catchphrase?
There’s this old movie called Hoodwinked. In the movie, there’s a super minor character called the schnitzel man and he has a little song in the film. I have really weird humor and I have a hard time finding anyone who gets it haha, but that schnitzel song made me so happy that I STILL remember all the words. No one I’ve ever asked even remembers that scene. But anyway, when I started YouTube I didn’t feel comfortable swearing on camera, so instead of saying “holy shit,” I just said “holy schnitzel.” It was just a silly word I liked and it caught on!
Who are some of your favorite YouTubers or bloggers to follow?
I really love gypsea lust and doyoutravel. They’re friends of mine that I’ve followed since the beginning and I always love seeing their posts. As far as YouTubers, I’ve been a fan of Shane Dawson for years. He’s one of the original YouTubers that inspired me to get into comedy videos when most girls at the time were only doing beauty. He’s such a sweet soul and is really always a joy to get to hang out with.
What do you do for fun that doesn’t involve any kind of work at all?
I love to surf and get better at surfing at a performance level. Surfing’s always been something I’ve been passionately curious about, since I was in 4th grade. I always looked up to the sport of surfing, and it’s wild how now my best friends are some of the top professional surfers in the world. Like … insane. I get to have beach bonfires with these legends that SO many people look up to. I feel like I’m in the presence of superhumans when I’m around my surf friends, because once you see the 50+ foot waves they’re surfing, it’s really hard to comprehend any mortal person would risk their lives doing that. Other than surfing, I travel a lot, I love to cook and bake food, and I absolutely love music and producing music!
STORY GINA DECICCO
PHOTOS RILEY TAYLOR