The high school student, who just completed his freshman year, shoots and edits YouTube shorts from his Boston-area home for more than a million followers under his Internet alias, Lohanthony. Quintal’s other social media accounts are equally as extreme, reaching just over 1.3 million on both Twitter and Instagram. He was tapped by MTV in January to host their “Teen Wolf” after-show and was deemed “the littlest big diva” by New York Magazine in their “The Weird Wide World of the Internet Celebrity” feature in April.
Of the 88 Lohanthony videos currently on YouTube, his most-watched is “Calling All the Basic Bitches,” a two-year-old, nine-second clip with more than two million views. The other videos, which typically run under 10 minutes, primarily feature Quintal’s personal take on pop culture happenings, teen-relevant social drama, and his interactions with other YouTube wunderkinds with million-plus fan bases, embellished with autotune, a fair amount of cussing, and Final Cut editing effects that have shaped the brand of the series over the past few years.
To anyone unfamiliar with the world of teenage Internet super stars, we should note, Lohanthony is one of many. His fellow Vloggers boast similar reaches — Quintal’s friend Jc Caylen, who he mentioned during our interview, has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers, while Zoella, New York Magazine’s 24-year-old “Haul Vlog Queen,” has a YouTube subscriber base of over five million. To see the physical off-screen impact of these youngsters, look no further than New York’s 2014 Digifest, which brought more than 12,000 fans to Citi Field earlier this month for the chance to catch a glimpse of Quintal and 40-plus other social media sensations during a seven-hour, self-described festival of “awesome.”
But during the school week, Quintal is just another normal New England kid. A little humbled, a little hyper, and totally surprised by the level of fame he’s reached in such a short period of time.
Below is our chat with Quintal (while his mother listened on the line) a few weeks before his last day of school.
So, really, what’s it like — being an internet celebrity by night, student by day?
It’s something I never thought I would experience. Like on the weekends, I’m in somebody else’s world and at school, I’m just a regular person. It’s actually pretty refreshing.
What are your plans for summer vacation?
I have major summer vacation plans. I’m not going to be home one day — I have a lot of different events. They’re not the same types, but they’re just scattered across the country.
What’s your favorite place you’ve visited so far?
I’m going to have to say the U.K. I had the loveliest meet-and-greet [there] ever. Everyone was so welcoming and hospitable. Also, I was in Ecuador for a week and I could not believe people in South America knew me because I don’t even speak their language or make videos in their language. I was blown away when they came up to me asking for a picture.
Do kids at school also recognize you from the videos?
Yeah, especially because I just switched to a new school this year. People are all over me.
And do you ever get stopped just walking on the street?
All the time. Just walking from home, it’s insane.
Any crazy fan stories?
I have a crazy one. So, after the VMAs — which is also crazy to say — but after the show, me, my mom, my friend, Jc and my manager were waiting outside the arena for a cab and these girls were waiting outside as well and they’re like, “Oh my God, Lohanthony and Jc!” We were standing behind a barricade and this one girl hopped over the barricade and then broke her leg. I didn’t see her for about five months and then at another event, she said, “I’m the girl who broke her leg trying to say hi to you!” I had to get a picture with her, obviously.
The ultimate fan.
I know! I cannot believe that it even happened.
So your rise to internet stardom happened pretty quickly...
Everything on the internet just blows up. The littliest things.
Do you have a favorite video that you’ve done?
I never rewatch my videos. I hate watching them over again. Editing is such a pain, I hate my own voice. But probably my favorite would have to be the cinnamon challenge. Everyone always likes that one.
It’s not the basic bitch video?
That one’s pretty funny, too.
That’s how I found you.
Yeah, we saw the Cut had posted it and then we started watching all of your videos.
Oh my God!
So how do you decide the context of your videos, do you pre-record a lot of them or do you jump on timely subjects?
It really is timely. A lot of YouTubers that I know pre-record videos because they’re doing a tag or a question and answer, but I can’t really do that because I always make my videos revolving around what’s going on now.
How are you editing them?
I use Final Cut Pro.
That’s super professional. Were you self-taught?
I taught myself everything. I started on iMovie, but then I went onto Final Cut. I was really overwhelmed with how hard it was, but I catch onto things on the internet pretty easily.
With more than a million followers, does it make you more conscious of what you Tweet and say in your videos?
It really does, because just a year ago, I had nowhere as many as I do now and I just posted whatever. It’s not like that anymore.
Who are you listening to these days?
I’m really getting into Iggy Azelea. I’m completely obsessed with her new album. Disclosure is a huge group now and then this girl group, Haim. And of course, Lana [del Rey] is a huge all-time favorite.
Have you met any big celebrities?
Demi Lovato was huge for me. She was such a sweetheart.
Do any of them recognize you?
Oh my God!
I literally think about it every day. I have it on video. She was like, “I was just stalking your Twitter yesterday and just watching your videos and showing them to my friends.” And I was like, “Ok. Oh my God.”