He’s only 20 years old, but South African Caspar Lee is already a multimillionaire – thanks to YouTube and the 3.1-million subscribers to his channel. More than that, he’s starred in a major new movie, has appeared on British radio and TV, and is trying his hand at live standup comedy.
His road to wealth and fame began in 2010, he says in one of his videos, when he was 16 years old and living in the seaside town of Knysna.
“At the age of 16 I started making YouTube videos because I was bored and I could use them to procrastinate my homework way more effectively.
“After about a year and two unsuccessful YouTube channels I opened Dicasp, which means Director Caspar – because I thought I was, like, really cool.”
“Six months after starting Dicasp, it became fairly popular, so I travelled to England to meet and collaborate with people like Jack and Finn Harries, Sam Pepper, Marcus Butler, Alfie Deyes and Bertie Gilbert. These collabs dramatically increased my following, and I went back to South Africa with one intention: to make a life out of YouTube.”
Watch Caspar teach Jack Harries some South African lingo:
At the moment Caspar’s subscriber numbers are growing by some 130 000 a month. And the money is rolling in. Google – which owns YouTube – pays 55% of ad revenue generated on a channel to the video creator, and keeps the 45% balance. According to the Sunday Times, YouTube statistics service SocialBlade estimates he earns as much as R5-million a year.
Today, Caspar lives independently in London, building his YouTube career. He has a starring role alongside John Cleese and Troye Sivan in the South African film Spud 3: Learning to Fly – due out this year – and has appeared alongside global celebrities such as Lisa Kudrow.
“A huge part of me wanted to stay in South Africa, but I’m positive I’ve made the right decision,” Caspar says. “Living in London allows me to work with some of the best YouTubers in the world on a day-to-day basis.
“I know I won’t live here forever, but it’s going to be my home for at least a year. I then hope to go back to my country, South Africa. At the moment I’m the happiest I’ve ever lived in my life. I’m literally living the dream.”
View more Caspar Lee videos on YouTube.