Welcome to Favorite Follow, a series highlighting NYLON’s favorite creators and the stories behind some of their most memorable content.
Arriving at a hidden cafe next to a co-working space in the heart of Chelsea, Mina Le made quite an entrance. Though rushed to meet us from a nearby vintage shopping convention, she caught my eye — and apparently, those around us — in an elaborate ensemble, draped in crystals and a silk dress. It was almost as if she had really “time traveled from the 1930s”.
If you’ve been down an online fashion rabbit hole lately, you might already know the Brooklyn-based content creator, known as @gremlita, for his candid cultural and fashion takes on YouTube and his Extravagant OOTDs on Instagram and TikTok.
On the internet, Le captured the hearts and attention of many, and she did it so quickly. But dominating YouTube charts and TikTok streams wasn’t always the plan. Before rising to fame on social media, the 25-year-old Vietnamese-American worked at a stationery store before being laid off due to the sudden pandemic. “I had to go home to Maryland, where my mom lives,” Le told NYLON over an oatmeal latte. “I didn’t know what to do with my life because I didn’t know when things were going to reopen.”
Now that she was stuck at home, Le was doing deep dives on YouTube to pass the time. “Honestly, I wasn’t a big YouTube watcher until I started making videos again, but I got into this spiral of watching these videos where they look at the historical accuracy of disney movies.” With her new found interest, she made her own disney video in 2020, and to his surprise, that’s what accelerated his career. “After that it grew and I started to dip my toes into other types of video formats,” she explains. “I was doing it mostly for fun at the time, so I didn’t expect YouTube to be a career, but when I started getting those numbers, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can actually get paid for it. ”
The is living proof that things fall into place after all, even in uncertainty. Now with over 1.2 million followers on his social platforms, Le has built a tight-knit community and is just getting started. Now signed to IMG Models and WME, we may see the internet star try his hand and expand into other unexpected industries very soon.
Ahead, Le spoke with NYLON about his background as a YouTuber, his personal style, and more.
On life before YouTube fame
“I had kind of an existential crisis like most people in their early twenties when you don’t know what you’re going to do. I wanted to be in fashion, which is why I moved to New York after college. I was a fashion intern and everyone knows that’s the worst career to have. I was literally just a mule carrying garment bags for stylists and having coffee and stuff, like the devil wears Prada except I’m pretty sure Anne Hathaway’s character is salaried. After having that experience, I reconsidered being in the fashion industry, so I started moving into the film space and did a documentary internship, which was cool. But overall I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and my place, but unfortunately a lot of entry-level jobs just aren’t this.”
On the pros and cons of being a content creator
“It’s weird because I had all these problems trying to get into the industry and then all of a sudden I got this job. I’m beamed up to a certain level where I get invited to shows and I’m taken seriously which is a huge plus for me and I like having a platform I actually don’t mind being perceived because I think it’s good when people come up to me see and say they like my videos. I also like to read what people have to say because I have a lot of smart queens in my comments that bring new life to the talk.
The downfall is probably because I’m a content creator, there’s this idea that I have to produce content pretty consistently and there are times when I get so tired. For example, I don’t always want to have to edit this video in the next two days when I’m supposed to release a video, or when we do it two days early because the sponsor needs to see the video sooner. So I guess the downside works for me too. There’s a lot of self-imposed deadlines because there’s this psychological terror that if you don’t meet those deadlines then the algorithms are going to delete your content and your career is over and you’re back to carrying garment bags around Fifth Avenue.”
On how she handles life online perpetually
“I’ve hired video editors, which has definitely helped relieve me of some responsibilities. But overall, I’ve just been trying to be kinder to myself lately. I know that a lot of my fears are actually unrealistic, like, I’m not just going to get irrelevant because I posted a video two days later than I intended to post it, for example. it is underestimated how hard it is to work for yourself, but i also want to stress that i love my job and hope i never have to work for someone else again. all of these issues i like to be able to take a long lunch break if i want to or take the day off if i have a friend or family visiting in town there is a lot of independence that unfortunately , companies refuse to give to their employees, which I think is really upsetting.
I have also started separating the parts of my apartment where I will be working. I used to work on my bed a lot and now I don’t because I like to think of the bed as a place to sleep and relax, which is something people don’t think about too often when working from home. It’s really important to have a work-life balance and rearrange your surroundings to fit your lifestyle.
On perfecting her signature look
“It’s definitely adjusted drastically over the years, because it’s only been in the last two years that I’ve really become aware of my style. Before that, I was doing everything, like I had a maximalist phase, which is what TikTok girls are doing now, and I also had a streetwear phase and an Urban Outfitters phase too.
I’m loving these colorful patterned tights and the leggings and arm warmers trend these days. I’m also a fan of low rise bottoms, which I know I’m going to be hated for being very polarizing. I’ve loved sheer tulle skirts since I loved the Carrie Bradshaw moment. Subversive basics are cool, which isn’t necessarily my style, but it’s very nice to see.
When it comes to my wardrobe, I mostly do vintage and thrift, but I also really like smaller designers because a lot of big retailers just don’t understand how trends work. I like a lot of designers with usually one person behind the brand for some reason. There is this Chinese designer Renli Su and her work is somewhat in the same field as designers like Simone Rocha.
Stay true to yourself as a content creator
“It might be the most cliched thing, but be true to yourself because there are so many people in this industry who will try to mold you and turn you into what they think will be a success or what they think you should be, which will end up being terrible for your long-term mental health.The public will also perceive you in a certain way and project their ideas onto you, so it’s important to have a strong self-esteem so you don’t get lost in all the chaos.
You can’t be money hungry either, as I’ve seen so many influencers who have just fallen out of favor. Like, I was seeing people who were so into sustainability, then the Fashion Nova check would come and then suddenly that part of them never existed.
Follow Mina Le on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube