Read on to find out why it pays to dream big, plus why you should always listen to your friends
Most of us berate ourselves when we’re being awkward, whether we’ve tripped up in the street during a solo stroll or failed to deliver a punchline. But for writer, director, comedian, and content creator Amelia Dimoldenberg, now 27, it’s what she’s built a career out of.
Through her masterfully cringe YouTube series Chicken Shop Date, where Amelia interviews celebrities like Ed Sheeran, Sean Paul, and Jade Thirlwall over chicken nuggets, the comedian has earned a following of more than a million.
Amelia’s rise to internet stardom has opened doors to more traditional broadcasting gigs, such as presenting shows like Channel 4’s Celeb Come Dine with Me and Meet the Markles, ITV’s Don’t Hate the Playaz, Dave’s Who Cares?, or interviewing artists at the BRITs and the MOBO Awards.
Having used social media to launch her career, Amelia’s latest project explores the skills we need to navigate online life. Reframe, created in partnership with YouTube, discusses topics like hate speech, mental health, and the importance of switching off.
To find out about how the online world can help us all achieve our career goals, Marie Claire sits down with Amelia to discuss her top tips.
Amelia Dimoldenberg: “It’s about understanding if something doesn’t do well online, it’s okay – because there will be another thing that will.”
1. Do it yourself
Got an idea you believe in? Try and make it happen – no matter what, she shares. With so many different tools, resources and platforms online, you never know how far it could take you.
When she was just starting out, Amelia says she was “always” applying for jobs or grad schemes. “I really applaud people who actually get through in that way,” she says. “The competition is so steep. There’s so many people who are great and there’s just not enough spots.”
Amelia started Chicken Shop Date as a column interviewing musicians in her local youth club’s magazine. “I just thought it would be a fun idea, and also I wanted to go on a date because I hadn’t been on one,” says Amelia.
Deciding that the format would work even better in video, she tried pitching the idea to TV channels. “Everyone said no,” says Amelia. “And so I was like, well I want to do it on my own then.”
With zero experience, Amelia started producing the series herself, handling everything from scouting locations to booking the camera operators and making the call sheet. Now, with just over a million subscribers on YouTube, Amelia proves that just because some people don’t back your idea, it doesn’t mean it won’t take off.
2. Find your own voice
Developing a clear point of view and standing by it will help set you apart — whether that’s on social media, in interviews or through the work that you create. Amelia credits her distinctive, awkward interview style to the fact that she’s always been her own boss.
“If I was commissioned back then by a channel, there would be other people’s opinions in the mix on what I should be doing or saying,” Amelia says. “Especially as a young woman, I think it’s very easy for people to get in your head or for things to change in a way that isn’t how you want them to be presented.”
Over the years, Amelia’s turned down offers from publishers wanting to buy Chicken Shop Date. She says: “I’m really happy that I’ve always stood my ground and kept it on YouTube, because I have creative control”.
3. Listen to your friends
Of course, finding your own voice might be easier said than done.
“Everyone says ‘just be yourself’ when you’re making your content, but I think personally, that’s really unattainable,” says Amelia. “What if you don’t know who you are? I think knowing who you are is really hard, especially when you’re young.”
She advises asking your friends what they think you’re good at. “My friends would always be like, ‘you’re so awkward and deadpan’,” she says. “I thought, okay, well, I’m going to be that.”
4. Make a big, ridiculous goal
Even in the earliest days of Chicken Shop Date, Amelia had huge ambitions for the series. “I’ve always thought, I’m gonna get someone like Drake on it,” she says.
“That’s kind of how I work: having a ridiculous goal that seems crazy. You end up getting pretty far because you’re just moving towards something that’s so big that actually what happens along the way is just as great.”
This approach has clearly worked for Amelia. Fast forward eight years, and Drake has been in touch himself about one day appearing on the show.
The comedian is quick to caveat that, while it pays off to have big goals, you need to balance your ambition with gratitude. “You have to make sure that you’re not just running ahead to the next thing,” she says. “This is why I also try to work on enjoying successes. Constantly wanting more is inherently depressing, whereas being content is such an incredible feeling.”
5. Embrace the highs and the lows
Social media can be an incredible tool for promoting your work, but putting yourself out there can be anxiety-inducing. Even Amelia finds herself worrying about what people might think. It’s understandable given the prevalence of hate speech online, something Amelia explores in detail in Reframe.
“It’s very exhausting,” says Amelia. “Like this constant battle wondering whether I’m putting out too much, or I’m not present enough. One thing that goes through my head is, ‘Am I being annoying? Is this annoying?’”
And if something doesn’t perform well, Amelia finds it hard not to let it get to her. “I’m still figuring out how to deal with it,” she says. “But I think you just need to lean into the highs and lows. Not everything that you put out is going to be a hit, because sometimes you misjudge it or the algorithms mess you over. So I think it’s just about understanding that if something doesn’t do well online, that’s okay. Because there will be another thing that will.”
Considering how much she has achieved already, we’ve got no doubt Amelia has got many more hits yet to come. And through her platform, she’s paving the way for more women to triumph in comedy and beyond — being their best awkward selves.