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From bullied to bank: How Bethany Mota created a YouTube and fashion empire

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Though you may not know her name (yet), Bethany Mota is a superstar. Millions of young girls are familiar with this “Mota-vator,” an 18-year-old YouTube personality who has built herself a media and fashion empire — all from the comfort of her Northern California bedroom. 

Now with her own clothing line at retailer Aeropostale, Bethany’s rising stardom goes far beyond her “MACBARBIE07” -- a YouTube channel that's generating an estimated $40,000 per month and has garnered over 300 million views since she launched it. She is an inspiration to pre-teens everywhere who’ve ever struggled with boredom, shyness and bullying.  

Home-schooled as a child, Bethany entered public school in junior high but decided it wasn’t for her after a devastating bout of cyber-bullying in 2009. Bored, lonely and looking for an outlet, she redirected her energy into an unexpected hobby: creating YouTube videos for girls just like her that offered make-up tips and fashion advice, among other things.

[Related: YouTube is a Goldmine

Growing an audience in the competitive online beauty community was no easy task for then-14-year-old Bethany. Without stylists, camera operators or video editors, Bethany was — and still is — a one-girl band, shooting, editing and uploading the videos herself. More than anything, she credits being engaged with her audience for her early success. 

“Every time I post a video I make sure to go to the comment section, and I reply to their comments,” she says. "I really utilize all of my social networking sites.” It was when Bethany hit her first 100 views that she realized she was on to something. “I just couldn’t believe there were 100 people out there listening to me. It was a great feeling.” 

Today, nearly five years after MACBARBIE07’s debut, Bethany has more than 5.5 million channel subscribers and 2.4 million fans on Instagram. That’s more than Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour and Cosmopolitan combined. 

Beyond online success, December 2013 ushered in the launch of the Bethany Mota Clothing and Accessories line at Aeropostale.  The line features more than 60 pieces of clothing and accessories that inspire individuality with floral designs, gypsy whimsical dresses, and funky denim to couple various playful accessories.  Her fashion ambitions don't end there, brands like J.C. Penney and Forever 21 are clamoring to get in line.

Though Bethany doesn’t like to discuss the financial details of her ever-growing fashion company, it’s safe to say this won’t be the last you’ll be seeing of this teenage mogul-in-the-making.   

[Related: Major Study Identifies Substantial Beauty Industry Disparities on YouTube]

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Video produced by Jessica Ashford and Emily Scharnhorst; co-produced by Sarah Lybrand. Production by Michael Manas, Josh Simmons, David Scaringe and Joseph Pieragowski. Edited by Sean Elms. Graphics by Todd Tanner and Adam Saul For Yahoo! Studios. Executive Producers: Russ Torres and Peter Gorenstein.

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