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Keeping up with “Keeping Busy”
Cydney Lucio knew she was gay at the age of 13. While watching an episode of “The L Word” with her mom, she went to the bathroom after a scene where two women kissed. Lucio looked into the bathroom mirror and said to herself “Cyd, you’re gay. You’re pretty gay.”
Lucio recalls the details of discovering her sexuality in a YouTube video called “My Coming Out Story.” With just over 7,000 views, this is one of the more popular videos on her YouTube channel, Keeping Busy.
She started Keeping Busy last January. Her video topics range from doing the “Bean Boozled Challenge,” which is a roulette that gives the player either a good or bad-tasting jelly bean, to talking about sex education for gay women. Most of her weekly topics come directly from the viewers. However, she had been using YouTube as a way to document her life for two years before creating her own channel.
“The girl I was dating at the time thought it would be fun to document our relationship. So we put this video up of us talking about our New Years Eve plans and it got over 600,000 views,” Lucio said. “It was around the time where there weren’t a lot of videos of feminine lesbians — or really any for that matter — talking about their lives.”
After two years, Lucio ended the relationship and gave the channel to her ex-girlfriend. She said she tried to keep it a private matter, but the channel’s followers found out and were upset about the break up. On her new channel, Lucio is still working to rebuild her subscriber list while being less couple-oriented and more focused on the individual.
“I can’t tell you how many times I see ‘waiting for a girl to complete me’ and I’m like, you are complete by yourself and you’re great,” Lucio said. “People should be looking for someone who completes them as a person rather than fills what you should already have filled by yourself.”
Lucio’s channel is far from a solo effort, though. She said she often collaborates with other video bloggers. She is working to make YouTube into more of a community. Lucio and her current girlfriend, Jordan Krebsbach, often feature each other on their channels. Krebsbach is also a YouTube personality and the two are dating long-distance. Krebsbach said her girlfriend’s channel is successful for many reasons.
“She’s so good at keeping up with people, she’s so caring and is very personable. She really cares about her viewers,” Krebsbach said.
Work and play
Being a YouTube personality is a balancing act for Lucio, who is in her junior year at Webster University and majoring in psychology. She films as many videos as she can on the weekends to be posted over the following weeks, but does not film as often during the school year.
“Being gay is one tiny little part of everything else that I do”
However, Lucio is trying to find a way to tie Webster into her channel. As an executive board member of Webster’s LGBTQ Alliance, she’s hoping to use Keeping Busy to showcase what Webster offers to LGBTQ individuals that other universities don’t.
“I have a lot of followers who are on their way into college,” Lucio said. “My focus can be like ‘we do Drag Ball here, why don’t you do one?’”
Last year, Lucio attended the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference through Webster, and was surprised to find that some students had to pay their way there because their college wouldn’t support them to attend the conference. This is one of the many reasons why she feels like it is important to normalize LGBTQ issues on college campuses.
Lucio has had people at Webster recognize her. She said she has received messages on her Tumblr account where people say they have seen her around campus. Some of the messages she has received have come from anonymous users because the senders are not out of the closet, a fact that she said makes her sad, especially on Webster’s campus.
Knowing her audience
Even if Lucio doesn’t incorporate Webster into her channel, she still wants to keep a strong relationship with her viewers. She said her biggest demographic consists of kids aged 12 to 13, and she has viewers from all around the world. She gives viewers the option to send letters or items to a PO Box that she maintains and does a video that shows what she receives. But they aren’t all just gifts and fan mail; she has made strong relationships through her channel as well.
“There’s like 5 or 6, at least, people who we just continuously send letters back and forth,” Lucio said. “It’s super cool to see where their lives are taking them and watch them grow.”
However, letters aren’t the only thing Lucio trades with her viewers. She’s trying to send another message through her videos: being confident and speaking up for yourself. Lucio just hopes she communicates that message clearly to her followers.
Five Questions with Cydney Lucio
1. You do a monthly PO Box video, what are some of the most interesting items you have received?
I get cool letters and post cards. I recently got a Daryl plush from “The Walking Dead”. I’ve received Buddha keychains, pictures of the queen, someone even named their baby after me recently. It’s interesting to get things from people that they feel represents where they’re from.
2. What is your favorite video you have done?
When Jordan and I did the “Bean Boozled Challenge”. It’s like the jelly bean can either be fresh cut grass or green apple. It’s a little roulette, and it’s the worst but it’s so much fun. Those are my favorite videos to do, where they’re less film-y and more fun.
3. What was the reaction you received when you came out to friends and family?
The way it worked with my mom was, I said “hey this is my girlfriend” and she was like “that’s fine, what do you want for dinner?” That was it, that was the conversation. My dad was fine with it as well, and I had always been accepted fairly well by my peers even though I went to a super-Catholic school.
4. Do you ever get recognized while out in public?
More than I thought I would, to be real honest.
5. Where would you like to go with your major?
Grief counseling. I’ve always been really interested in the human reaction to death and the amount of thinking we go through after someone leaves this earth. I volunteered at this grief camp, and the kids there comprehended so much about such a complicated topic; it was really cool.