We're so proud of Joey Graceffa: the YouTuber's very first book, In Real Life: My Journey to a Pixelated World just came out today! In his debut memoir, Joey really opens up about his childhood memories, YouTube career, and how he's grown into the person he is today. When TWIST caught up with the star, he shared some of the emotional stories that are really personal to him.
"I got bullied a lot growing up because I was of the way I acted and how I was more feminine than the other boys," Joey tells TWIST exclusively. "Because of that, it brainwashed me in a way, like [I thought] something was wrong with me and I should be a stereotypical boy. I think that hindered me a lot growing up, it was a harsh transition to feel more comfortable with myself."
"Because of YouTube, I was able to become myself and have this outlet where I was exposed to more people than just my middle school and high school, but it was almost like restarting from scratch: I could be whoever I wanted," he shares. "People go from high school to college, and I got to go to YouTube as a fresh start. I could be whoever I wanted, and I chose to be myself."
Not only was Joey's decision to express his true self great for him personally, he also found that other people really related to him. "People liked me for being me, and all of a sudden I had these millions of followers where in middle school and high school no one wanted to be my friend," he says. "In one story in my book, in health class, we were told to pair up for a CPR class and we had to 'save' each other and literally no one wanted to be my partner, so the teacher asked everyone who would let me join their group and no one offered. I just felt so alone and stupid. It's crazy how life changes and you can go from school where no one might like you to people loving you all across the world."
So what advice would Joey give to his teenage self now? "Communicate more. Stop trying to be so strong – it's okay to be who I was," he says. That's such perfect advice for anyone to follow.
What do you think of Joey's words of wisdom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.