BY RACHEL CUCCURULLO
Growing up in South Florida, Jessica Harvey is the youngest of three children. Besides her mother, Harvey was the only girl in the household and was usually the center of attention.
“I always got attention when I was younger but always found myself wanting more,” Harvey says. “I would do things to entertain people like crack jokes or be really loud so others would notice me.”
Harvey believes this trait helped her become more confident in front of people. Over the years, she used her confidence to entertain others.
Harvey participated in chorus, cheerleading and track throughout middle school and high school, so performing in front of crowds came naturally. She has also been a member of her church’s choir and praise team for nearly her entire life.
“It’s always kind of weird for me because in certain settings, I will shy away,” Harvey says. “If there’s a stage, I will gladly go on it, but if I am at a friend’s house and they ask to hear me sing, I would probably die!”
Video blogging, known as “vlogging,” came into popularity in the late 2000s. Harvey started to watch popular hair tutorial videos on websites like YouTube and was instantly drawn to create her own.
“I thought, ‘Hey, I have my own hair, why can’t I do this, too?’” Harvey says. “I bought a camera and started talking to it.”
Of course, there was a learning curve, but with some research and discipline, Harvey was able to create her own unique content.
Starting in 2016, she learned how to film, edit and post her own videos.
After graduating high school in 2010, Harvey worked various 9-to-5 jobs while pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Indian River State College. She still managed to build her viewership and put out new content weekly. Because of that hard work, her YouTube channel, OnlyOneJess, currently has 330,000 subscribers and nearly 23 million total video views. She aims to post at least one to two videos per week and recently made vlogging her full-time job. As part of the YouTube program, Harvey has had to maintain a certain amount of views in her channel. She is able to earn a living from ads and sponsorships.
“I think my success came from a few things,” she says. “For one, I studied a lot of other successful YouTubers to see what they were doing, how they edited their videos and what type of content they were creating. So, I went ahead and took what I learned and applied it to my own videos using my own technique and made sure I remained true to myself in the process of it all.”
Her videos are a mix of beauty tutorials, relationship discussions and general life updates. Her videos have been well received as she dishes out beauty advice on natural hair styles, upkeep and maintenance. Harvey brings her vivacious personality and fun sense of humor to the screen and does not apologize for being herself.
Because of her larger-than-life personality, a hair product company, Crème of Nature, nabbed Harvey over a year ago to work on its color campaign. The company creates products with natural ingredients and asked Harvey to be one of the faces on its new hair color boxes, on shelves at Sally Beauty Supply and Target.
As seems to be status-quo on social media, many “influencers” are faced with negative comments from viewers.
“Being a social media influencer is not for the weak hearted,” Harvey says, laughing. “You will definitely develop some thick skin and it makes you realize there are a lot of people out there who hate to see others succeed. But then you have everyone else who is so supportive and that outweighs the rest and makes it all worth it.”
In the beginning of her vlogging career, Harvey said the harsh words would often ruin her entire day. Now, she says she lets the words roll off her shoulders.
“If I choose to respond to negativity, which is rare, I usually reply with, ‘Well, thanks for watching anyways!’” Harvey says with a smile.
“All I’ve ever wanted to do was entertain people. When a viewer says that my videos brighten their day or helped them in any way, I know that I’ve achieved my purpose here,” Harvey says. “I hope to continue to be able to provide happiness for people and add a little sunshine to their lives.”
Lives In: Port Saint Lucie
Occupation: Social media influencer
Education: Bachelor of Science in organizational management, Indian River State College
Hobbies: Relaxing at home with music, shopping, movies, hanging out with friends.
Who inspires me: “My mom.”
Something most people don’t know about me: “I made it to the third round of “The Voice” but never got any camera time.”
Social Media Handles: @OnlyOneJess and YouTube.com/OnlyOneJess