When Monica Geuze was recently in Milan, she reminisced in her vlog about a visit seven years earlier, when she bought her first Chanel bag. She didn’t have to tell me: I saw her in reverse through the video, that younger Monica, still confused about the amount of money she’d just spent.
In the meantime Monica had moved on so many bags, houses, relationships, she said – me as a viewer as well. Where Monica takes designer stuff out of the packaging a little more carelessly, I can hardly muster my former concentration watching a vlog: I’m usually emailing, texting, sending invoices in the meantime. During that Milan vlog, I thought of Monica’s first Chanel bag the way I can think of younger versions of myself: the version that didn’t always want to go to bed early, the version that wasn’t so fussy about light soy milk.
When you look at someone’s life for 8.5 years, they become part of your inner discourse – that strange life starts to co-shape yours. In recent years it happened that I ate a certain dish (white bread with flakes) or used a word (‘heerliedepeerlie’) and didn’t know how I got there. Only to realize: of course, Monica. You can call this kind of influence, but that feels too impersonal. That’s why influencer marketing works so well, of course.
Just as Monica didn’t know how to start her very first vlog, she also didn’t know how to announce at the beginning of this year that this was the last one. Behind her tearful face stood a huge Christmas tree in the living room – a legacy of her recently ended relationship. For a time she had had everything, Monica said: husband, child, house, work. And now on Boxing Day she had suddenly found herself alone.
It is often said about Monica that she is so recognizable, so down to earth in the midst of success. It couldn’t get more recognizable than this for me: the life that keeps lifting you up and suddenly crashes down hard. This is how you feel invincible for years, so you have to cry at the idea that the Christmas tree will soon be picked up.
Monica was 18 when she shared her first video, I was 21 when I started watching – preferably in bed on bad days. By now we are both too old to lie in bed for days on end. It happened unnoticed, that growing up. Instead of mukbangs at McDonalds, Monica has been vlogging in recent months about how difficult it was to keep all the balls in the air as a mother, entrepreneur and influencer. In the meantime I hardly found time to see her vlogs; when it came to it, we mostly sighed together.
Monica no longer needs me, the vlog viewer. She has her own brands, a podcast, a deal with Videoland. I’m going to miss her: Monica, but also the version of myself that could watch her every day. Or at least the version that could believe that it would happen again soon, surely.