Shirin David, 24, born Barbara Shirin Davidavicius in Hamburg. With 4.9 million Instagram followers and 2.6 million Youtube subscribers, your social media channels are among the most widely-reachable in Germany. Her first rap single “Gib him” landed at number one on the charts.
Ms. David, when you were four you played the piano and violin and later trained in singing, acting and dance. Why did you start a YouTube video channel in 2014 mainly with beauty tips?
SHIRIN DAVID: I always wanted to be a musician. Youtube was an important marketing platform to build the necessary reach and financial strength.
How do you make money there?
There will be advertisements before, during and after my videos. 50 percent of this basic income goes to Google (which owns YouTube – editor’s note). The amount of additional advertising revenue depends on how family-friendly, obscene, or revealing the videos are. The more harmless, the more lucrative. This can range from 20 cents to more than 8 euros per thousand viewers.
Then there are the product placements …
If a customer wants to place products in my videos, I get an agreed price in the six-figure range per minute. 2015 was the golden year of YouTube, I earned myself stupid and stupid. There were very few Youtubers and the companies had no idea about online marketing. You have given our work very generously.
When was the first million there?
As soon as you bring your own product onto the market, the dimensions become even larger. In 2017 my first perfume came out, of which I sold 550,000 pieces. The smallest size cost 19.95 euros – you can guess the rest.
What are you particularly proud of?
We used to have no money at all and only got by with government help. I didn’t know that until I was 13. My mother was a single parent and took all jobs to enable me and my sister to have a good life. We went to the opera and listened to classical music. Education and good manners were most important to her. That I can now give something back to her is pure happiness for me.
Are you often underestimated because of your appearance?
Non-stop. But now I even think that’s good.
Your lyrics are provocative. What do you want to achieve with it?
I want to be able to be loud and confident without being branded as impolite – and make it clear that sexism is unacceptable. If I can be a role model and make young girls feel more comfortable, courageous and stronger, that makes me proud.
You recently signed an advertising deal with the perfumery chain Douglas. What are you looking for collaborations?
I only work with partners who add value to my brand. The customers should see my face in the shop window and associate it with something high-quality, luxurious. That’s more important to me than the money. I am declining to advertise diet shakes for half a million – because it doesn’t suit me.
How do you invest your money?
It’s a mix of indulging and investing. I founded many GmbHs in order to expand as an entrepreneur. There is no way I want to take my money with me to the grave.
Our interview series “My First Million” is now also available as a podcast. It will appear every Wednesday on Audible starting August 19th. The entire season with 24 episodes costs 9.95 euros. It’s free for Audible subscribers. Guests of the first episodes are: