Anthony Quintal is anything but basic.
The 15-year-old sprang to fame at 13 with a nine-second viral video titled “Calling All the Basic Bitches” that features him twirling his leg and making a special announcement before leaning close to the screen to whisper, “You’re basic.” It’s hard to quantify why the video struck such a chord—to the tune of 2.4 million views—but it spread quickly across blogs and over Gchat, well beyond the teen and tween viewership. In an instant, Quintal became the mascot for a new breed of teen superstar.
In his videos, he’s an unapologetically pure teenager. They’re emotional bursts of reactionary glory, mostly filmed from his mother’s Boston home, where he dishes about pop culture moments, reads hate comments, shares tips for everyday life as a teen, and collaborates with other YouTubers under the moniker of lohanthony, an homage to his favorite celebrity, Lindsay Lohan, who’s now a fan of his.
But he’s not resting on his laurels. He’s amassed more than 1.4 million Twitter fans and a gig hosting MTV’s Teen Wolf aftershow, and he has continued to be one of YouTube’s most popular voices since his start at age 10.
For The Kernel’s Teen Takeover issue, Quintal tells us how YouTube has changed during his time on the platform, which mega-mogul is a Twitter must-follow, and his dream collaboration.
First screenname: Snacekiller9, and it was supposed to be Snakekiller9 but the username was taken
Earliest memory of the Internet: AOL instant messaging with my friends
“Jif” or “gif”: gif
If the Internet didn’t exist: I wouldn’t have some of my best friends that I have today.
Essential app: VSCO cam photo-editing app
Must-follow on Twitter: @Oprah
Favorite social network: Twitter
The Web would be better if: There weren’t so many catfishes.
The Internet in five years: The Internet in five years will hopefully be the same way it is today.
How has YouTube changed since you started on the platform?
YouTube is evolving every day with every single video being uploaded. When I first started watching YouTube, it was pretty much a scatter of everything. There wasn’t really any structure, and videos were extremely random. But now I feel like there’s a regular audience who knows what they’re going to see when a creator posts content.
How do you describe your YouTube presence?
I’d say watching me should feel like having a slumber party with your best friend.
If you could collab with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do with them?
I would collab with Aaliyah, the late and great R&B singer. We would do a simple Q&A because I’d love to get to know her a little bit more.
Favorite YouTube channel to watch: YouDeserveADrink
Weirdest thing you learned from a YouTube video: How to compliment people
Why do you think teenagers have flocked to YouTube?
I think teenagers do so well on YouTube because a major portion of people online are teenagers and they just feel really comfortable watching them.
What’s one thing you think the rest of the world doesn’t really understand about your generation?
How much the Internet brings people together instead of the common assumption that it isolates us from the real world.
Illustration by J. Longo