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#Pride30: Hannah Hart Is Using Her Platform to Promote LGBTQ Acceptance

YouTube star Hannah Hart, who got her start making "My Drunk Kitchen" videos, has since used TV, films and books to share a positive message.
Hannah Hart
Hannah HartRobyn Von Swank

When Hannah Hart first made a YouTube video in 2011 as a joke, she was unaware of the platform's potential. “I made an episode of ‘My Drunk Kitchen,’ then a bunch of strangers watched it and thus began my YouTube career,” Hart told NBC Out.

In the six years since posting that first video, Hart has cultivating an immense following on her YouTube channel, MyHarto, and has created content using various other platforms.

YouTube star Hannah Hart
YouTube star Hannah HartRobyn Von Swank

Longtime fans will have fond memories of watching her installments of “My Drunk Kitchen.” During each episode, Hart cooks while drinking and providing humorous commentary. The success of the series even spawned a parody book in 2014, “My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking and Going with Your Gut," which went on to become a New York Times bestseller. And the Food Network recently ordered a travel and food series starring Hart.

About a year after starting her channel, Hart began diversifying her YouTube videos. In addition to installments of “My Drunk Kitchen,” Hart began creating music videos, video blogs and other types of content, all while keeping her unique and humorous tone. A prime example is the travel series “Hello, Harto,” which followed Hart as she traveled on across the U.S. and select other countries. Over the course of her time on YouTube, Hart’s channel has grown to more than 2.5 million subscribers.

The content creator hopes her viewers will watch her videos, see her adventures and then decide to follow their own passions. “I hope people feel comfortable in themselves, and I feel like no matter what it is they want to try, that they give themselves the chance to,” she said. Hart said sharing her story is important, because “we only know life through the interpretation that we have lived it, so learning from one another’s experiences is imperative."

Along with MyHarto, Hart has a second YouTube channel, YourHarto, where her “Coming Out” series lives. The series contains eight episodes where Hart discusses navigating life as a member of the LGBTQ community.

In addition to some of her deeply personal YouTube videos, Hart shared her truth in print in her 2016 memoir, "Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded." As she approached 30, Hart said she wanted to share more than she could on social media, so in the memoir she divulges more details about her upbringing and coming out journey.

In 2016, Hart received GLAAD’s Davidson/Valentini Award at the media advocacy group's San Francisco gala. The award “is presented to a LGBTQ media professional who is using their platform to make significant advances in accelerating acceptance,” according to GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis, who called Hart a “Jill-of-all-trades who is using her platform to promote LGBTQ acceptance and to support LGBTQ youth.”

Film is another medium Hart has used to entertain and inspire. Her film career launched in 2014, when she starred in “Camp Takota" alongside her friends and fellow YouTube stars Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig. And Hart recently landed a deal with Lionsgate to produce and star in additional feature films; her first film through the deal will be an LGBTQ romantic comedy.

“In terms of LGBT storytelling specifically with Lionsgate, I am just grateful to be at this point in my career where I have opportunities like this to share a wider range of stories,” she told NBC Out.

As someone who has created content for a variety of platforms, Hart is aware of how media can help drive tolerance and acceptance, and she said the lack of gatekeepers online has been particularly helpful in allowing her and other content creators to flourish and develop their voices.

“I think that protecting the freedom of the internet and the freedom to have these honest discourses is crucial, especially now. I think media has a strong responsibility to protect itself and to expand itself," Hart explained.

Pride Means: "Self-acceptance and self-love. I think the route of erasing stigma begins from within."

Hannah Hart was nominated for NBC Out's #Pride30 list by Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD.

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