Meet so­cial me­dia’s most pow­er­ful fam­ily

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Contents -

That’s right, Nor­wich, that gen­tle Nor­folk back­wa­ter best known for two things – a sec­ond-di­vi­sion foot­ball team and Alan Par­tridge. Ex­cept now of course it’s fa­mous for an­other thing: pro­duc­ing in­flu­encers. That’s be­cause Nor­wich is home to the Chap­mans – a smi­ley, shiny fam­ily, four mem­bers of which are what are tech­ni­cally known as mega-in­flu­encers – those with a combined fol­low­ing of 500,000 or more. That means this fam­ily influences ev­ery­thing from what colour eye­liner you will put on in the morn­ing to how you’ll train at the gym af­ter work and even what shirt your part­ner has cur­rently got on their back.

I meet the Chap­mans at a vast red-brick house that be­longs to beauty YouTu­ber Nic Haste (née Chap­man) and her hus­band Ian Haste. It is lo­cated amid flat green fields, at the end of a long, me­an­der­ing drive, in the out­skirts of Nor­wich. This, as the cab­bie makes a point of telling me, “is the posh bit”.

At 38 years old, Nic is the sec­ond el­dest sib­ling, and along with her sis­ter, Sam, they make up Pixi­woo, prob­a­bly the most fa­mous beauty YouTu­bers in the UK right now (they have 2.2 mil­lion sub­scribers, plus 311,000 on their “Real Tech­niques” chan­nel). That’s apart from per­haps Tanya Burr – but then she is their sis­ter-in-law. Nic and Sam’s lit­tle brother is Jim Chap­man, who, in­ci­den­tally, is Tanya’s hus­band. You’ll likely know Jim from his YouTube chan­nel, which is mostly him show­ing men how to live their best life – which in­cludes how to make a Pisco Sour, style up a denim jacket and even how to make a banof­fee pie.

Jim, 30, is also the twin brother of John Chap­man, one half of The Lean Ma­chines, two per­sonal trainers who have al­most 500,000 sub­scribers on YouTube and are ba­si­cally like Joe Wicks – but more chis­elled. And fi­nally, steam­ing in be­hind all of them and a rel­a­tive new­comer to this world is Ian Haste, Nic’s hus­band, a one-time busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager who, in be­tween be­ing a stay-at-home dad to the cou­ple’s two chil­dren and ren­o­vat­ing houses, has started Haste’s Kitchen, a healthy, home-cook­ing YouTube chan­nel. (He cur­rently has 78,000 sub­scribers, as well as 54,800 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram, but then he did start three years af­ter John, and six years af­ter Pixi­woo.)

I’ll be hon­est. I was ner­vous about com­ing. I’ve al­ways imag­ined YouTu­bers to have the same Tig­ger­ish en­ergy that all chil­dren’s TV pre­sen­ters ap­pear to have – ex­cept this lot need to have it 24/7. It’s es­sen­tial to keep­ing a fickle au­di­ence cap­tive, I sup­pose. Af­ter all, why stay on their con­tent when you have the en­tire in­ter­net at your fin­ger­tips? Spend­ing an af­ter­noon with five in­flu­encers then? I’m not en­tirely sure what to ex­pect.

It’s Sam who opens the door to me. She is tall with strik­ing eyes and a 10-yard smile. She em­braces me in the man­ner of an old friend, then leads me through into the fam­ily kitchen. The place is big and def­i­nitely not Ikea, but still, it has all the warm, homely de­tri­tus – books, bits of pa­per, cards from friends – that sug­gests real har­ried fam­ily life hap­pens here.

Jim is sit­ting at the ta­ble eat­ing scram­bled eggs on toast while his dachs­hund, Martha, yaps around his feet.“She’s got a lot of gump­tion, that dog,” he says, dead­pan. Ian, mean­while, is hov­er­ing over the stove where he’s been pre­par­ing an eight-hour to­mato-and-aubergine pasta sauce for lunch, while John is show­ing Nic how to do a “pis­tol squat”. There are no video cam­eras and no vis­i­ble phones. Only Sam makes ref­er­ence to a video that she needs to do be­fore lunch for Pixi­woo’s Real Tech­niques makeup-brush line. And she is try­ing to find the mo­ti­va­tion to do it. ›

Nic Haste (née Chap­man) & Sam Chap­man

Han­dle: Pixi­woo Launched: 2008 YouTube sub­scribers: 2.2m In­sta­gram and Twit­terfol­low­ers: 1.8m First video: Sam demon­strat­ing a smoky eye to mu­sic. It has since been taken down.

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