In an era when fame has never been less likely to guarantee fortune, it seems fair to ask Ezarik what keeps her in cheeseburgers. Specifically, does she receive endorsement money from Apple, whose products she promotes obsessively? (She’s the first person in months from whom I’ve received an e-mail with the “Sent from my iPhone” auto-signature attached. I was reminded of a former coworker who, the day after the iPhone’s release, changed his signature to read, “Sent from my iPhone, yeah, I have one, no big deal.”) “Everyone’s like, ‘They pay you. They pay you,’” she says. “My manager’s like, please stop promoting Apple so much. Maybe one day–that’s what I’m hoping for,” she says with a laugh. But for now, while she and her manager–a man named Richard Frias, whose other clients include the YouTube celebrities HappySlip and KevJumba–await that Apple endorsement deal, she makes her money by appearing at conferences and in online promotional spots, and dreams of becoming really famous, like on TV or in movies.
She’s delighted to have moved from Pittsburgh to L.A., she says: “There are so many more projects. It’s a lot easier having someone else shoot and edit for you.” But while lifecasting has paid off for Ezarik career-wise, it’s also had its downside, life-wise. For starters, maintaining contact with her growing fan base has become a major time suck. Fresh off the plane from Alaska–the first thing she mentions about the trip is how slow the Internet access was there–Ezarik’s got a backlog of thousands of e-mails in her in-box. From her mail, she’s concluded that her fans are mostly between 11 and 18, and that they’re about half male and half female–which is “surprising,” she says, because “when you think of technology and the Internet, you think of guys.” At a fair in Alaska, Ezarik bumped into one of the young male fans, who was overwhelmed. “He was, like, shaking,” she says. “He was like, ‘Are you–are you iJustine?’ I was like, ‘It’ll be okay.’”
And then there’s what Ezarik calls “the stalker stuff,” which has subsided but is still a factor. “I try not to publicize the stalker stuff, because I don’t want them to know they’re getting to me,” she says, but she allows that people call her parents’ house “all the time.” “I’m lucky to be alive,” she says more than once, and each time she says it, the light, chipper tone of her voice doesn’t alter. She could just as easily be talking about a new iPhone app.
Still, this is the first response I’ve gotten from Ezarik that hasn’t sounded somewhat coached or canned, and it emboldens me to ask her, point-blank, whether she likes the attention. She pauses a moment, then deftly parries. “I don’t hate it,” she deadpans. “What I like the most about everything is the community of people I’ve brought together. When I was lifecasting, I was a way for people to connect. It wasn’t even about me. I was sitting there doing nothing, and people were having conversations about politics and their life. And it was kind of cool to see that.”