By Shelby Clark Petkus
Tyler Oakley may not be a household name, but the Michigan-bred vlogger is quickly becoming a fixture of the Tumblr and YouTube circuits. Considered an “A-Lister of the digital age,” Oakley will be bringing his “Slumber Party” event to Royal Oak this weekend, one of only two locations hosting the “#TylerOakleyTour,” the other being Chicago.
The event will feature inside scoops, interactive games and plenty of other surprises. According to Oakley’s video about the event, the sleepover format “means that you are going to show up in your pajamas; that means that we are going to play pranks. That means that I am going to gossip with you, and we are going to tell stories, and I’m going to get you guys on stage, and I’m going to meet tons of you in my own way, and it’s going to be so much fun, and we’re going to take selfies.”
Oakley is known for his “unapologetically personal weekly videos” at www.youtube.com/user/tyleroakley, as well as collaborative videos with other YouTube celebrities like Grace Helbig (ItsGrace), Mamrie Hart (YouDeserveaDrink) and Miles Jai (MilesJaiProductions).
Born March 22, 1989, Oakley lived in Jackson and attended Michigan State University, where he uploaded his first video to YouTube in 2007 as a freshman. The video has since received 70,000 views, with the majority of his 300+ videos garnering millions of views each, with a cumulative 212,000,000 views on his channel. Oakley currently has over 4.9 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and nearly 2.7 million followers on Twitter.
The video star has used his publicity to fuel his advocacy work, including support of The Trevor Project, an organization that works to prevent suicides in LGBTQ youth. Oakley’s work with the support group includes interning with them in 2009, co-hosting the charity’s annual red carpet event (TrevorLIVE) and raising $29,000 for the project on his 24th birthday. In March of this year, Oakley again had the goal to raise money for the organization as part of his birthday; his $150,000 goal was quickly met, with funds of $525,704 raised by the campaign’s close.
Some of the YouTuber’s most popular videos include doing multiple “challenges,” whether its getting his legs waxed or holding a tarantula. Oakley’s most popular video to date has over six million views and involves him teaching gay slang to twin “twinks.” He’s also quickly moving beyond the Internet video hosting service, finding himself in a Taco Bell commercial, on various shows and winning awards like “Choice Web Star: Male” at the Teen Choice Awards.
The all-ages show will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. (The show is sold out.) For more information, call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.