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Meet the McClure Twins Family: What It’s Like to Raise Social Media Stars | WSJ

– It’s not that we want
to make the video funny, it’s because that’s what we are! – [Julie] (laughs) You’re just– – That’s what we do. – [Julie] It is, in
fact, what these two do. Meet Ava and Alexis, they’re
five-year-old identical twins. They’re also YouTube celebrities, and this is the rest
of the McClure Family. Their YouTube channel,
McClure Twins Family, boasts more than 1.3 million subscribers and their videos reliably net hundreds of thousands of
views, and they’re not alone. In recent years, professional
family vlogging has become increasingly common and lucrative. Ava and Alexis’ parents, Ami and Justin, are doing so well, in fact,
that they quit their jobs to make YouTube and Facebook
videos of their kids full-time. Hello, I’m Julie. – Hi, Julie, it’s nice to meet you. – I’m curious to know what drives people to share their lives on social media and what happens when
things don’t go as planned. To find out, I’ve come
to meet the McClures at their production studio,
also known as their family home. – Take my hand. – I would love to.
(group laughing) This is beautiful! – [Ami] Welcome to their room. (winding key crunching) – Wow!
(Ami chuckling) Was there a moment when you realized that they’d be good on camera? – I don’t think there was any
one moment that it happened. It just seemed like it
was natural for them. – [Julie] Do they ever surprise you with the answers they give? – All day long. I always say the best
stuff is not on camera. – Ava has the same birthday. – [Ami] You do have the same birthday. – [Julie] Ami and Justin first realized the potential of their daughters when this video went viral in 2016. – [Ami] Does she look like your face? – Yes! – [Ami] Yes! (both laughing) – Well, it did put you into a place where you’re like we gotta
figure out what we’re doing, because this is snowballing. – [Julie] Recognizing
the twins’ potential, the McClures began building their positive lifestyle family brand, which today includes four
different YouTube channels. How much do you make between
all these different channels? – If you look on YouTube, I think our average
there is $12,000 a month. If you look at Facebook,
it’s probably about the same. If you get brand deals,
then those brand deals I think the minimum that we
get is $5,000 for an Instagram. – [Julie] The McClures told
me they’re doing so well that they were both
able to quit their jobs, which they said each paid six figures. So what does the day-to-day life of a vlogging family look like? – [Justin] Okay, girls, can
we go and get the intro? – What you’re watching
is they’re getting ready to shoot a video of how well
the parents know the kids. – What is your favorite part? – It’s the one, remember that one? (Ami laughing) – Remember that one? Remember that one?
– What is it called again? – [Julie] It’s a lot of
work, and then they have to keep the girls focused and on-task, because they’re little girls
and they get distracted and they wanna play. – How well do you think
our mom and dad did? Well, I think they did terrible.
(Justin laughs) – We can still hear you!
– Ah, terrible! – Why do you think your
channel is so popular? Why do you think people like
watching your videos so much? – Um, because.
– Because we’re funny. – And they’re interesting. – We’re just a great family, that’s why. (pleasant orchestral music) – Did you have debates between yourselves about whether this was good for them in terms of, you know,
they don’t have the ability to consent to this. This is something you’re having them do, and they don’t really
understand what it is. – Yeah, I think that was
probably the hot topic, the biggest debate that
we had back and forth after this virality was what do we do and not even just what do we do, but are we doing something okay. Are the kids going to be okay? Is this right for them? Sometimes people just have something, and we believe the girls have something, and, you know, it’s like Tiger Woods. He just had something with golf. His dad, when he was three
or four, when did he start? Didn’t say, okay, you’re good, but just go swing the
ball, leave me alone. He nurtured that. (pleasant guitar music) – [Julie] But with fame comes scrutiny. Last summer, tweets
Justin made years before about black people, and black women in
particular, surfaced online. The scandal led to some
bad press for the family and to a moment of reckoning for Justin. In response, they did what
any YouTuber would do, make a video about it. – Do you understand that those statements very well could have
come from the mouth of someone spewing racist hate? – I know I’m not a racist, but I look at the things that I said, and would a racist
person say those things? They would. – [Julie] The exposure of his past tweets could have been the McClure’s downfall, but Justin turned it into an
opportunity for redemption. – Those tweets came
when I was still a drunk or when I had first gotten
sober and I was trying to figure out, you know,
what my life was all about. I was still doing stand-up. – It got a lot of publicity. – Bad publicity. – I don’t know– – It wasn’t good publicity. – [Julie] Yeah. – Listen, I owned up to it. They were bad jokes. They were not anything I would say now. – The McClures underwent more
scrutiny when it came out on social media that Justin isn’t the twins biological father, something the McClures
said they were planning to go public with when the time was right. – Everybody makes mistakes. You grow, hopefully, as a
person, and you move forward, but just that, because it’s so, now I’m about to cry, it’s so special and, like, close
and it’s a beautiful story. That is really what we wanted to share and that being taken away from us is the thing that, you
know, bothers me the most. (Ami chuckling) – Jazzy!
– Yes! – After spending the
day with the McClures, I understood how seriously
they take this family business, but I couldn’t help wonder about the precariousness of it all. What if they come to you someday, whether it’s a year from
now, five years from now, and say, we don’t wanna do this anymore, or one of them doesn’t wanna
do it, the other one does. – Then we don’t do it anymore. – Okay. (girls chattering) – [Justin] If they don’t wanna do it, then we don’t wanna do it. – Lexi, do it for real,
don’t hurt your sister. You know, they’re such sweet little girls, and that comes across
in everything they do, but it’s our job as parents also to let them know that
you can’t lose yourself, and I don’t want them to now feel like they have no control
of their own life, so that’s a balance that
we’re walking every day. (expressive mallet percussion
and orchestral music)

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21 thoughts on “Meet the McClure Twins Family: What It’s Like to Raise Social Media Stars | WSJ

  1. What a waste of time….all of this including this story…Quit their jobs to milk out the kids for their 15 mins….get those resumes in order!

  2. And you are doing a GREAT job! I love the McClure Family… Let the haters hate…this is a Happy Family! <3

  3. I find this family's content to be authentic and represent a positive lifestyle brand of influencers. It isn't just about the money for them, as many of their Discovery Twins Facebook shows focus on Social Good, like the one where the family Twins discover empathy for an autistic child. [see the story and video here—4-Year-Old-McClure-Family-Twins-Discover-Empathy]

  4. What a horrible piece Julie Jargon. This whole piece was focused and meant to put the McClure's in a negative light. I would bet that you and many others can't wait till there's a tragedy with this lovely family. The not so hidden jealousy and envy amongst many of you is mind-boggling to say the least.

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