Jillian Danford’s Story

Jillian Danford is a YouTube, Television and Social Media personality who creates lifestyle vlogs about her outgoing and hilarious family: The Danfords. She is known by millions as “Auntie Jullian.” Her YouTube Channel has more than 100K subscribers and more than 13 million views from a culturally diverse audience while her Instagram has 66.6K followers. In 2018, Jillian signed a deal with Bell Fibe TV1 to produce the reality show, Auntie Jillian for its 2M+ viewers. Season 1 was released in the Spring of 2019 and Canada’s First Caribbean/Black Family Reality Show captured the attention of Bell Media’s main network CTV. The show was picked up by CTV for a summer run.

Please share your lowest moment in your  career journey

When I first started my social media platforms, and social media in general, I had to learn all the ins and outs of editing my videos on Youtube. Sometimes I would be editing for 5 hours on one video and when it was time to upload the video, all my hard work would get deleted. I would have to start from the beginning again, but I sometimes would just want to give up. Also, behind the scenes, there were naysayers who thought that I would not make it on the social media platforms.

What I learnt about myself

I learned that I have a tremendous amount of resilience and talent, that I have nothing to prove to anyone else. I made my goals on where I wanted my path in social media to lead. I have always been authentic, so being myself was all that I knew to be. I also learned to ignore, block and delete negativity out of my life.


What experiences from your early childhood impacted you the most and how can you see glimpses of the learnings in your life now 

When I was in the height of my teenage years, 16 years old, I had always had a love for gymnastics and became pretty good at it. My back would always be hurting me, and I wrote it off as the continuous flips that I was doing was hurting my back. Well it turned out to be a severe case of Scoliosis (a condition of curvature of the spin). After seeing the doctor, they advised my family that I would have to undergo a surgery on my spine where they would have to place steel rods down my spine, or I would end up practically hunched over and disabled. Gymnastics came to a stop. I had to be on a bed that would constrict my movement for three weeks and from there I would have to be in a body cast for six months. I was not able to go back to school for many months, so I had a tutor come to our house. I learned that I had only two choices, one: to be strong minded or, two: to feel sorry for myself. I chose to be strong minded and didn’t let my situation hinder the rest of my teenage years. I just got on with it. This same attitude has carried me throughout my entire life.


Based on your experience,  what’s the most challenging thing about growing your youtube subscriptions?

Youtube on the whole can be very challenging when growing a channel. For me, I have to try and be consistent as many of my Youtube subscribers are not on any other social media platforms so they depend on me to upload videos frequently. With being so busy, my consistency fell off and that definitely plays a role in my channel’s growth. Also, everybody seems to be on Youtube so it seems a bit saturated at times. Youtube has changed from where it was six years ago. All of those factors are challenging with the growth of the channel. If you want to be on Youtube, the key factor for gaining subscribers would be patience, consistency, collaborations, and a great niche.

If you are starting a Youtube Channel thinking you will gain one million subscribers within months, or you are doing it to be famous, you will be sadly disappointed. Go into the mindset that if you are on Youtube, it’s because you want to show others your hobby, or that you have a love for editing and you are doing it for yourself. Perhaps with that attitude, and in time, you might very well garner many subscribers.


What moments have been your proudest and why?

Besides watching my two adult children thriving in life, which I am very proud of, one of my proudest moments was watching all my hard work come to a reality when my family and I had Season 1 of our show called Auntie Jillian airing as a summer special on CTV primetime on the Bell Network. It did so well that we are now in talks to air Season 


2. Seeing myself on a billboard on the highway, on bus stops in the city and commercials airing frequently showing our family, it made me smile. Hard work was finally being recognized. Also, every time I am asked to do a particular job pertaining to my brand, it’s usually by appearing on television or hosting an event, I feel proud of the outcome.


What advice would you give  families interested in being part of  reality shows ? 

Have a niche and unique ideas that will make others interested in watching. Start on Youtube and gain a following and read the comments for feedback and be interactive with your subscribers. It is a long, long road of many ups and downs. If you decide to pitch your story to a network, it is very important to know that you might have to knock on doors more than once. You may have to climb and jump over walls, but nothing is impossible. There is great disappointment but it can also be very rewarding if you are ready to be in it for the long haul. I would also say that networking, research and getting to know people in the business would be beneficial

What drives you?

I make goals and I love to watch them come to life. My passion for what I do also drives me to keep striving to be the best. Being around like-minded people also drives me to do my best. I am driven by the positive feedback that I receive from my supporters. Also, I have a desire to win!!!

If you had a magic wand what is the one thing you change in the world today?

I would want that magic wand to cure major diseases such as all cancers and major sickness that especially children & young adults suffer with around the world.

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