Driven to Fame: Kaleb Rowland

If you want fame, if you want success, you have to put yourself out there and try to get it. That’s the belief of Kaleb Rowland, a signed model and creative, is one of many determined talents of a generation that is taking control of their message and careers through social media. Kaleb is a growing YouTuber and is pioneering a new direction for models to take their career to the next step.

Rowland, 19, has sought a medium in particular to showcase his personality and directly connect with fans and hopeful supporters – YouTube. To be a successful entrepreneur, freelancer, so-called influencer, or really any artistic type, you also have to be a savvy marketer. Rowland has taken to YouTube with energy and enthusiasm, offering glimpses into his Cali lifestyle, from the thoughtful to the silly, hoping that followers, likes, clicks, and eyes will help realize his professional goals.

Only a couple years into his career, having been discovered at age 17 in his hometown of Nashville, Kaleb has found his way onto the runway, into television, and commercials. American-born, and of Chinese and Filipino descent, the Tennessean has made his way to the west coast to seek greater success.

While his Instagram, which blends commercial shots with candid photos, has netted him a few thousand followers, he looks to YouTube to truly showcase himself. For someone who loves the camera, and definitely isn’t shy, it’s an easy way to let potential collaborators, employers, and influencers know who you are – or at least, who you want to be.

He knows what he’s doing too. Some titles are teasing, in the hopes of getting clicks to see what is really going to go down (‘I met a celebrity’ is a prime example), while also let you in on his travels and experiences, such as flying for the first time and what walking on the (fashion) runway actually feels like. To the extent something you film, star in, and edit yourself can be authentic, Rowland stresses that he is, which will inevitably work to his advantage. You do you, and hope that that is what someone out there wants that version of you for their brand. And sometimes you get lucky that who you are and what you’re doing aligns with something popular in the moment.

That’s what happened when Rowland posted a video of him chatting with Zach Cole, brother of rapper and producer J. Cole. That post got picked up by another website, and is now closing in on 100,000 views.

Rowland is just beginning, though. He calls himself a ‘small YouTuber,’ which perhaps is accurate, but his ambitions, and confidence are sky high. And surely that’s what it takes more than most anything, especially if you’re a creative out on your own trying to make your way. Inevitably you will get turned down, pushed aside, and continuously forced to fight your way through a crowded field of similarly hopeful influencers and artists. But you need the ability to learn new traits – like video editing and marketing – and the humility to put yourself out there to be judged or even ignored.

While he has model representation, Rowland knows it’s not enough to wait around for others to get you work – you have to go out and do it yourself.

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