- Hannah Hart has been one of the most recognizable figures on YouTube since she rose to early internet stardom with her “My Drunk Kitchen” series.
- Hart, 32, has since gone on international tours, published two best-selling books, appeared in three feature films, and hosted multiple web and TV series since.
- Right now, Hart is preparing to launch a new cookbook, her new show on Ellen DeGeneres’ digital network aired its first episode, and she’s hosting a web series with BuzzFeed’s Tasty.
- She also premiered a YouTube series, where she and other LGBTQ stars discuss coming out, and made a cameo in Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video.
- Here’s a look at how Hart turned viral fame into a successful career in entertainment.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Back when the word “YouTuber” was becoming a household term, Hannah Hart was one of the platform’s most prominent stars. Upon launching her “My Drunk Kitchen” series – which was originally created for an audience of one – Hart went from a normal 9-to-5 post-graduate job to a sudden career in online entertainment.
Since the early days of her internet fame, Hart has continued to build her career both on YouTube and off of it. She has also launched a volunteer program and is an outspoken member of the LGBTQ community, including on YouTube.
“I would describe my career as a wonderful co-occurrence of pioneering and perseverance with just the right amount of opportunity,” Hart, 32, told Insider.
Read on for a full look at Hart’s journey, from the first generation of YouTubers to a career in movies, TV shows, webseries, books, activism, and more.
Eight years ago, Hart made her first YouTube video but had no idea what “My Drunk Kitchen” would become.
Today, “My Drunk Kitchen Ep. 1: Butter Yo S—” has over 4.3 million views on YouTube. At the time it went viral, it only had 100,000. But in 2011, that was enough to capture mainstream media attention and propel Hart into becoming one of the platform’s emerging stars.
Hart told Insider she had just moved to New York from San Francisco and gotten a Macbook. She shot her first video with Photobooth and edited it together on iMovie.
“I actually didn’t quote-on-quote start a channel, I posted a video on the internet, because back in 2011, I had no idea what starting a channel even really meant,” Hart said. “So I made my first video just as a joke for a friend of mine, to send some love her way.”
In the video, Hart narrates herself drinking wine she found in her sister’s kitchen and making a grilled cheese – without cheese. From the very beginning, “My Drunk Kitchen” found an enthusiastic audience, eager to see more of Hart’s inebriated culinary adventures.
At the time, she worked as a proofreader for a translation firm in New York after graduating college.
Hart attended the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in 2009 with degrees in English literature and Japanese language. Initially, she dreamed of writing screenplays, but worked as a proofreader up until starting her YouTube channel.
“I always wanted to write, I wanted to write books or novels, that was always my passion,” Hart said. “In a parallel universe, I know that seven or eight years down a career path I would be making a shift. I’d probably be going to graduate school.”
After the early success of “My Drunk Kitchen,” Hart was able to take her career in a different, unexpected direction.
Being a YouTuber wasn’t a career path at the time that Hart’s videos started taking off.
“Unbeknownst to me, at the time, there was this subculture of media that was growing on YouTube,” Hart said. “I was really fortunate enough to be able to start my career on YouTube long before there would be an idea of being a YouTube star. That was a real blessing.”
Her first video was uploaded in March 2011, and she kept creating new installments of “My Drunk Kitchen,” which she told Insider were popularized by media outlets like The Huffington Post. She also answered viewer questions and opened up about her life more in her series “Advice from the Hart.”
By July 2011, her channel had enough views to qualify her for a YouTube partnership, which allows creators to make money from ads that run on their videos.
“My Drunk Kitchen” became her most popular series, with other YouTubers and celebrities appearing in videos over the years.
Hart still uploads episodes of “My Drunk Kitchen” to this day, and she’s had a number of guest appearances. Those include the UK chef Jamie Oliver, who she made sandwiches with, “Weeds” star Mary-Louise Parker, who she baked brownies with, and comedian Sarah Silverman – who she made cannabis-infused pot pie with.
A number of other YouTubers and internet stars have also appeared on the channel, such as Jenna Marbles, John Green, and Tyler Oakley.
Hart’s friends and frequent collaborators Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart also made appearances in her early videos.
The trio of Hart, Mamrie (no relation), and Helbig has been a constant presence in the YouTube community and culture. Fans refer to them as the “Holy Trinity.”
The three have appeared in each other’s videos, taking part in different YouTube trends and challenges over the years, and have embarked on numerous creative ventures together to this day.
Hart won a Streamy Award for “My Drunk Kitchen” in 2013 and hosted the awards show the year after with Helbig.
Hart has received two Streamy awards for comedy, winning “Best Female Performance: Comedy” in 2013 and “Best Comedy” in 2014, both for “My Drunk Kitchen.”
She also won the 2016 “Best in Food” Shorty award and has been nominated for three Shorty awards total. Her other Shorty nominations include “Creator of the Decade.”
Hart embarked on her first world tour in 2013, called “Hello Harto: The Tour Show,” after raising $50,000 on Indiegogo in just a few hours.
In January 2013, Hart announced that she would fundraise a possible world tour through the fundraising site Indiegogo. Initially, she hoped to raise $50,000 within a month.
But her fans raised $50,000 within just a few hours. Hart decided to keep the length of the fundraiser the same, and was eventually able to raise over $220,000. The “Hello Harto” tour show was able to travel to locations in Canada and the US, and later internationally.
She also vlogged her traveling adventures on her vlog channel, YourHarto.
The “Hello Harto” tour included meet-ups in various cities, along with random travel videos uploaded to “YourHarto” and dedicated city vlogs uploaded to “MyHarto,” Hart’s main channel. She also did “My Drunk Kitchen” videos in the different cities.
After some fans complained that there were too few cities on the tour, Hart uploaded a documentary explaining the work that went into the “Hello Harto” tour. Hart also told Insider she balances her personal and professional life by maintaining healthy boundaries.
“My life isn’t for sale and it’s not for consumption,” she said. “I share things when I’m ready to share them because I feel like I’ve made my peace and I’m ready to stand proudly in it.”
Hannah, Mamrie, and Helbig also performed a collaboration show called the “#NoFilterShow,” and took it on tour.
After the trio performed the “#NoFilterShow” in LA in 2013, encouraging audience members to tape it on their phones and post it on social media, another “#NoFilterShow” was performed at the PlayList Live 2013 convention. Then, Hannah, Mamrie, and Helbig took it on the road, syncing up with the “Hello Harto” tour.
“The generation I grew up in, you know, it took us years to be like ‘You know what? Let’s plan a comedy tour,” Hart told Insider, reflecting on how much the YouTube industry has changed, and the phenomenon of internet stars touring the country.
“We said ‘Okay, what’s gonna be our content of our comedy tour? Okay, let’s make an hour and a half show, let’s go to these cities,’ as opposed to today, where kids can get scooped up into these big meet and greet tour things.”
In 2013, the trio produced a feature film, “Camp Takota.”
“Camp Takota” was released via digital download in 2014, and was later picked up by Netflix. The plot follows Helbig’s character as she leaves a city job to return to her old summer camp, where she’s joined by her old friends, played by Hannah and Mamrie.
Hart told Insider that there are some elements of working on big projects, like feature films, that she prefers to YouTube creation.
“When I’m on set I’m just so phenomenally relieved and happy and excited, because it’s much more collaborative to be on set than be alone and carry all this responsibility,” Hart said.
“I think what always surprises people about content creators when you go to work with them is I’m used to running every element of the production, I’m used to being the person who sets up the lights and handles the edits, or runs the team.”
Hart also released her first cookbook, described as a ‘self-help parody-meets-drunk cooking’ book, which hit The New York Times bestsellers list.
“My first book was really a testament to life in your twenties, that budding adulthood, adjusting to being independent,” Hart said.
Her first cookbook is titled “My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut,” and it debuted at no. 6 in its category on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2014, staying on for two weeks.
In 2014, Hart met President Barack Obama.
In Feburary 2014, as part of an initiative to reach the YouTube generation, Obama met with Hart and several other notable YouTubers to open a dialogue with the platform’s biggest stars.
Tubefilter reported that the Affordable Care Act and its then-impending deadline for open enrollment, were on the agenda, and that the YouTubers discussed how to disseminate unbiased information about it.
And in 2016, Hart’s second book, a memoir, also hit the bestsellers list.
“Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded” debuted on the Times bestsellers list again, this time at spot no. 4 on the print hardcover category.
In reflecting on her career now, a few years further down the road, Hart told Insider she’s surprised that it exists.
“I was never brave enough to pursue entertainment, I really wasn’t,” she said. “And so, when this door of opportunity opened up, it was the entrepreneurship, running my own company, being my own boss, that helped me push past that fear.”
Hart has been involved with activism throughout her career.
Hart started a volunteer movement called “Have a Hart Day,” where her fans around the world participate in local food drives. Fans even organized their own special “Have a Hart Day” events in cities like LA and Auckland, New Zealand in 2015.
That isn’t the only activism Hart has participated in. She coordinated volunteer events at some of her “Hello Harto” tour stops, and has worked with celebrities like Mary Louise Parker to raise awareness of charitable causes in “My Drunk Kitchen” videos and beyond.
Hart also identifies as a lesbian and has spoken extensively about sexuality and LGBTQ issues.
She noted to Insider that YouTube panders to LGBTQ people during Pride Month, in June, but said the company has to take a stance on LGBTQ rights and treatment “one way or another.”
“When you look at a network like NBC, they have a caliber, they have what they stand for as universal principles,” Hart said. “I think YouTube will have to figure out, as a platform, what those principles are to them.”
The trio of Hannah, Mamrie, and Helbig returned to the big screen for the movie “Dirty 30.”
Lions Gate Entertainment premiered another feature film starring Hannah, Mamrie, and Helbig called “Dirty 30,” which the LA Times reviewed as the trio showcasing their “rapid-fire, quippy personalities.”
The film stars Mamrie as a character about to turn 30 who is wanting to turn her life around, and the ensuing birthday party planned by her friends, Hannah and Helbig’s characters.
Hart had her own show on The Food Network, “I Hart Food,” where she tasted the cuisine in six states.
After a stint as a guest judge on season 12 of “Food Network Star,” Hart had her own series “I Hart Food” in 2017. She traveled to New Mexico, North Carolina, Maine, Oregon, Minnesota, and Montana, to sample local cuisine and learn how to cook different local meals.
In 2018, Hart announced her engagement to her girlfriend Ella Mielniczenko.
“I’m just out here to create content that is authentic to myself and my experience,” Hart said. “I am a queer person, so those are just the stories I have to tell. It’s not ‘I tell queer stories,’ I am a queer person who tells stories.”
The first episode of her show “A Decent Proposal” on Ellen DeGeneres’ online video platform aired in 2019.
After an appearance on “The Ellen Show,” Hart premiered an episode of her series “A Decent Proposal,” in which she helps a couple make their dream proposal come true, in situations where they might otherwise not be able to do so. Hart told Insider that there are hopes of making more episodes.
She also hosts a series called “Edible History” for BuzzFeed’s food video series Tasty.
“There are a lot of people who have watched that show and don’t know ‘My Drunk Kitchen’ at all,” Hart said. “They know me as the host of ‘Edible History,’ which is kind of wild to me. I love it.”
Hart is currently filming season 2 of “Edible History.” She told Insider that it’s nice to have a supportive team behind her, especially now, as YouTube becomes more oversaturated.
“People like me who’ve been on their channel for a long time, the platform doesn’t really cater to or service us,” Hart said. “Having bigger partners kind of really helps getting phenomenal content that you’re really excited about out there, as opposed to having an old YouTube channel that nobody gets notifications about.”
And she made a cameo in Taylor Swift’s music video for “You Need to Calm Down,” which featured a star-studded LGBTQ cast.
Swift’s latest album included the single “You Need to Calm Down,” an anthem about LGBTQ rights and standing up to internet bullies.
“It was a total honor,” Hart said, on making a cameo in the music video. “I think that one of the wonderful things about that video is that everyone in it comes from a totally different background.”
The music video won “Video of the Year” at the Video Music Awards, and Hart appeared onstage alongside Swift to accept the prize.
Hart has also kept making YouTube videos throughout her career in mainstream entertainment, including a series about coming out.
“For me, the show is really like a testament to the trust I’ve been granted by these amazing people,” Hart said.
She plans to do at least three more episodes and described it as the rough draft of what she’d like to make into a bigger project in the future, such as a podcast.
“Coming from a space of ‘Hey, I work in this industry, you work in this industry, let’s have a chat. Tell me about your journey,'” Hart said. “And I feel like the level of trust and authenticity with it, that we establish there, is one that you don’t really see a lot of.”
The episode featuring the Try Guys’ Eugene Lee Yang debuted in June and received more than 1.3 million views.
“It was Pride Month that month, all of the algorithms, you could really see the difference,” Hart said. “The difference between Eugene’s episode and everyone else’s is a really great example of how platforms pander to LGBT content during June.”
Hart also has a podcast with her best friend, who she made her original “My Drunk Kitchen” video for.
The “Hannahlyze This” podcast features Hart and Hannah Gelb, and is, as Hart describes it, “the self-help podcast that just can’t help itself.” The two invite experts from wide-ranging disciplines onto the show, including the business and entertainment fields, and experts on mental health.
“She’s the reason ‘My Drunk Kitchen’ exists and it’s kind of nice that now, I get to share a little bit of what that has meant to me with her,” Hart said, on making the podcast with her best friend and the original intended audience of “Butter Your S—.”
Up next, Hart has her second cookbook, a holiday-themed “My Drunk Kitchen” sequel, coming out.
“It’s really about thriving,” she said. “For me, it’s about the perspective of being in your 30s, being in charge of your life, and figuring out what it is from your past you want to carry with you and what it is you want to leave behind.”
The second cookbook is titled “My Drunk Kitchen Holidays! How to Savor and Celebrate the Year.”
“Every time I write a book I’m like ‘God d—, this is hard,’ and every time it’s very exhausting,” Hart said. “I think it really kind of shows Hannah Hart, the young adult today, as opposed to Hannah Hart, the post-college kid, the early twenties version of myself that got started online.”
Hart says she’s keeping her options open for wherever her career takes her.
Hart said the process of balancing everything she’s working on amounts to “blood, sweat, and tears,” but that she hopes to make things easier for herself soon.
“I’m excited to relieve some of the pressure from myself and figure out what projects I really want to streamline and focus on,” she said. “Under the unique umbrella of my position I’m thinking ‘Okay, what do I want to do with this?’ I’ll let you know when I get there.”