You may not immediately recognize the name Amanda Cerny, but I assure you there are a million people who do. As one of an emerging breed of internet stars, Cerny boasts the following stats: 4.9 million followers on Instagram; 4.6 million followers on Vine; 4.2 million likes on Facebook; 429K Twitter followers. When people say someone is "internet famous," they're talking about a gal like Amanda, whose combination of stunning looks and snappy comedic timing has made her a bona fide star online. What does she do? She makes quick, funny videos and looks great while doing them. Sounds easy, but let me know if you can create a comedy sketch that lasts 5 seconds and reaches over a million people.
With a new movie coming out called INTERNET FAMOUS that sends up the very culture she's a part of, I spoke to Amanda about her unexpected rise to online fame, the pros and cons that come with it, what the future holds for her and more.
Tell me about the role you're playing in Internet Famous, are you basically sending yourself up?
I think it's kind of a stereotype. A lot of my roles on social media is the ditzy girl with big boobs, those were the initial sketches we would do on Vine. It was just a role I would play in some of my sketches, so it's an exaggerated version of that role, not necessarily me. I pray to god that's not what I'm like! [Laughs] Even during the casting, I went in as that character and just killed it, but before I left was like, "Just so you guys know, this is not me. I went to college, I have a brain."
Is that something you have to fight against sometimes, that perception of who you are based on your looks?
Yeah, for sure. Especially on social media you'll see comments like, "Oh, you're just a pretty girl, that's all there is to you." I'm much more besides that. It's just something you have to overcome. I think I've done a pretty good job of doing that so far.
How does this film skewer the internet celebrity culture?
It's kind of like a parody, it's not really making fun of the internet influencers, it's making fun with them. It's taking any role that there is on the internet, say somebody who does pranks or someone who does make parodies, and it takes it to a whole other level. It's building characters around the idea of what an influencer can be.
Were you familiar with your co-stars? What was it like meeting them in person?
No, I didn't know who everyone was. Some of them were actors, some of them were YouTube influencers. I did more Vine at the time, Vine and Facebook videos, so I didn't know those other communities as well. I made friends with everyone and afterwards shot content with them, we all collaborate with each other now so it's one big community of social media influencers.
So how did this whole experience start for you, when did you realize that what you were doing was really striking a chord?
Probably with Vine. It was kind of timing for that platform, because there were very few people who made comedic sketches; it's kind of hard to do because you have such a short amount of time to get a whole story across. There weren't many influencers who were doing it, and the ones who were grew pretty quickly, and I noticed that myself when I started doing comedic sketches. My profile just went up, I had something of a following on Instagram before for model photos, but those followers who follow you just because you're pretty aren't necessarily the most interactive or the most true fans of you. The ones who get to know your personality and get to know you beyond just looking pretty in a photo are such a stronger fanbase. Vine allowed me to do that, and just showed the funny side that I have. That helped me grow a lot and move on to other platforms from there.
It wasn't necessarily a goal of yours to become famous for doing that, it was just something you were doing for fun?
Yeah, for sure, I was just dabbling in it, and once my profile started growing I took it more seriously. Even now it's a lot of work making content and now we have bigger productions behind it, you're just super busy all the time, just shooting nonstop for content. It's so much fun, because you're working with the same people you grew with and now you're able to make longer form content. Some of us are going to be making movies now and acting in actual movies that'll be released in theaters, so it's becoming much larger scale.
How long does it take you to come up with a concept and execute it for YouTube or Vine?
It depends, sometimes I'll just be sitting around with friends and come up with an idea in the moment and say, "Oh, that's a Vine." Or you just write it down for when you have time to produce it. Some of our videos are Instagram videos that we just shoot on our phone and then we edit it in iMovie on our phone. It's just like a home video you make with your friends.
What was your most liked video, or the one that just became so huge you couldn't believe it?
I don't know, I've posted so many. I think my first comedy video was with King Bach, Page Kennedy, Alfonso McCauly and Melvin Gregg, so I had four other Viners in it with me, and it was just me posting on Twitter that I'm breaking up with my boyfriend and I post it and as soon as I post it all the guys sort of rise up next to me and just say a punchline at the end. It was just about how once you become single you're just attacked. [Laughs] It's just simple concepts like that, especially with Vine, you only have so much time to relay the funny content.
What's it like being "internet famous"? Are you recognized at all? Are there drawbacks?
There are more perks than there are drawbacks, especially now. But yeah, I'll be walking down the street and people will stop me and say, "I love your Vine." All the platforms are so different now, because on Snapchat I'm one of the top five influencers on that app now, so now people will stop me and say, 'I follow your Snapchat, I feel like I know you." It's interesting, it connects everybody so much. I did a YouTube video where I'm a Powerpuff Girl, and now people stop me for being one of the Powerpuff Girls. It's always something different because we're making so much content all the time on all the different platforms. It's cool though, because once you make something that's creative, that you're proud of, and post it you get immediate feedback which is so much fun.
Do you read all your comments? Do you get a lot of negative reactions in addition to the positive ones?
Oh yeah, I see it all. Naturally, when you post something you want to see what people are saying about it because maybe it'll be constructive or it will make you feel good about the content that you made. But you'll definitely come across a lot of hate comments, or people who are disliking something for no reason, just because they're angry at the world. You get some pretty hateful comments, like telling you to go kill yourself or something. [Laughs]
And can you totally ignore it?
Oh yeah, now I'm totally fine. When I first started posting content, I would get really hurt by it and I'd cry after reading a bunch of comments. It makes you want to not post on social media anymore because it really does effect you. But after I noticed that happening I would reply to some, and after I'd reply to someone who just told me to commit suicide, like, "I'm sorry you're so angry, I hope things get better for you," they'll reply, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry, I've had such a hard day. I love you, I'm your biggest fan." They switch so fast. [Laughs]
What's your ultimate goal? Do you want to transition into acting full time?
I definitely want to do more movies, I have so much fun doing them. I love television shows too, I'm always on Netflix watching romantic comedies or action movies. I would love to do more action. I think it's just seeing opportunities and getting involved with them whenever I can. But eventually I think I'd be really good at directing, so maybe if I learn more through acting I 'll be involved with other people's productions and do my own as well.
If there's one show you'd want to be involved with, which one would it be?
Well, there's one show I just finished watching, I was so late to it, Gossip Girl. I'm obsessed with it, there's like six seasons and I finished it in a week. If that was still going on I'd definitely want to be involved with it since I love it so much. I loved Parks and Rec, The Office. That's the kind of stuff I'm interested in.
Thank you for your time, Amanda. Good luck with everything.
Thank you so much!
Check out an exclusive clip with Amanda in INTERNET FAMOUS below!