Jodie-Amy Rivera’s one-woman show as the “Venetian Princess” earns her about 11 million YouTube views per month. The Brockton native is the site’s No. 1 most-subscribed female since surpassing teen star Miley Cyrus in 2008.
Jodie-Amy Rivera has been in front of the camera — and behind it — since early childhood. The Brockton native used to bring her first camcorder — a gift from her father for her eighth birthday — from her Perkins Avenue home to the grounds of Sacred Heart Elementary School, where she recruited classmates to appear in video skits.
Now, 25-year-old Rivera’s self-made YouTube personality “Venetian Princess” and video shorts have earned her national press coverage, big-time corporate sponsors and a cool six-figure salary.
“It was just a hobby that I had fun with, and I’m thrilled that it’s become so much more than that,” Rivera said in a recent interview.
Rivera’s one-woman show — she directs, shoots, edits and stars in her own works — earns her about 11 million YouTube views per month.
She is the site’s No. 1 most-subscribed female since surpassing teen star Miley Cyrus in 2008.
Her music video, “7 Things Guys Don’t Have To Do,” a parody of Cyrus’ “7 Things I Hate About You,” was named one of the top 10 viral videos of 2008 by PC World Magazine.
“YouTube is about finding your own niche,” Rivera said.
Rivera’s niche is a mix of glamorous visual effects, elaborate costumes and bubble-gum parody inspired by celebrity calamities, modern pop culture and her target audience — teen girls.
Eighty-nine percent of Rivera’s subscribers are young females, between ages 12 and 17.
YouTube’s revenue-sharing “Partner Program” helped Rivera brand and craft her sought-after online persona, and she wants others to reap its benefits, too.
The current economy is making it hard for talented artists and performers to find work, and YouTube provides a new and exciting venue for jobless folks with the right skills and interests, she said.
“So many people are struggling right now when they could be doing this right from their homes,” Rivera said.
Rivera, whose maiden name is Messaline, directed more than 100 original short films from her bedroom as a teenager.
Her childhood was a busy one, marked by directing workshops in Wareham, acting and vocal lessons at Capachione’s in East Bridgewater, pageant entries and commercial appearances.
A 2002 graduate of Cardinal Spellman High School, Rivera briefly studied classical voice at the University of Tampa before returning to Massachusetts in 2004.
“(College) wasn’t for me, but I loved the atmosphere,” Rivera said.
She served a stint in the human resources department at Bridgewater State College in 2005.
In October 2006, Rivera accepted an administrative assistant position at Wheaton College in Norton, right around the time she launched her Internet personality, “Venetian Princess.”
In the months that followed, her growing online portfolio — including a popular five-part series titled “The Princess Chronicles” — began to generate enough user traffic to grab YouTube’s attention and an invitation to the site’s Partner Program, which kicked off in 2007.
The program, then a trial, allows popular YouTube users like Rivera to earn money through advertisements that run against their videos using Google technology, according to a YouTube spokesperson.
“Thousands of users are part of the Partner Program,” said a spokesperson, “and hundreds of them make thousands of dollars per month by partnering advertisements with their original works.”
In February 2008, Rivera left her Wheaton position because her YouTube earnings started to supercede her college paycheck.
In addition to ad revenue, Rivera now earns money by incorporating brands and products into her videos.
“For a larger corporation,” she said, “I can make anywhere from the mid-five to six figures per one- to two-minute video with product placement.”
The Venetian Princess, or “VP,” as she refers to herself on her official Web site, www.vprincess.com, creates and posts an original music video to her YouTube channel each month, on top of corporate projects.
Though Rivera was invited to be a YouTube partner, the program has since transitioned to an application process based on user popularity and content, said the YouTube spokesperson.
But the application process shouldn’t scare potential users away from such an opportunity, Rivera said.
There are many ways to make YouTube posts eye-catching and professional without breaking the bank, VP said.
“If you’re just starting out,” she said, “finding a new business or someone selling a new product to sponsor you is a great way to cut down your production costs.”
Discount store green fabric could make an inexpensive green screen, and cheap set lights are available at most hardware stores, she said.
“It’s about you, what you do best and how you can appeal to your audience,” Rivera said.
“YouTube’s motto is still ‘broadcast yourself,’” she said.
VP splits her residency between Massachusetts and southern Florida, where she winters with her husband. Her parents live in Raynham.