Hailey Rhode Bieber is launching her own YouTube channel with OBB Pictures.
The model and host’s channel launches Friday, and will feature a wide range of short-form content, including lifestyle tips, beauty tutorials, social causes and a talk show called “Who’s in My Bathroom?” — a show hosted from Bieber’s own bathroom in her home where she invites her famous friends for off-the-cuff interviews and antics. Content will be regularly rolled out through 2021 with new videos released bi-weekly.
Speaking for the first time about her new project, Bieber tells Variety in an exclusive conversation that she wanted to create her YouTube channel so that she could control her own narrative and show viewers who she really is — not the version of herself that is created by the media or rumored about on social media.
“With the YouTube channel, I get to control what’s going out there,” Bieber tells Variety. “I’m comfortable with every single piece of content going out, and that really feels freeing for me because I’m not in control of 90% of what’s talked about me and said about me and articles written about me. I don’t control that and I can’t control it, and I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve let that go.”
For Bieber, the appeal of her own YouTube channel was creating a destination for her fans to have fun, while getting a major glimpse into her multi-faceted life with the help of those closest to her.
Bieber’s first “Who’s in My Bathroom?” guest is her best friend Kendall Jenner. In the episode, the two will discuss how their friendship started, play a game of “Never Have I Ever” and cook mac ‘n cheese — yes, in the bathroom.
Other episodes will feature Bieber’s glam team getting her head-to-toe ready for a fake red carpet event (it is a pandemic, after all), and Bieber shamelessly going through her fashion fails throughout the years.
It won’t all be fun and games. Bieber, who has recently shared her mega-multi-million Instagram platform with activists to shine a light on politics and the Black Lives Matter movement, is very passionate about mental health awareness.
“We’re going to be having a conversation together surrounding social media and mental health,” Bieber says about an episode featuring her in conversation with psychiatrist Dr. Jessica Clemons.
Bieber’s partnership with OBB Pictures comes after the multimedia production company teamed with her husband, global pop icon Justin Bieber, on “Justin Bieber: Seasons,” which had the most-viewed YouTube Originals premiere of all time, along with the special documentary, “Justin Bieber: Next Chapter.”
OBB Pictures is the film and TV arm of OBB Media, which was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur and filmmaker Michael D. Ratner. The multimedia production company is also home to OBB Sound, OBB Branded and OBB Cares, specializing in TV, digital, film, podcasts, branded content and social good. OBB Pictures is also behind Kevin Hart’s interview series “Cold as Balls” and Demi Lovato’s hotly-anticipated YouTube Originals docuseries, “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” which will make its world premiere, headlining SXSW next week.
Bieber will serve as an executive producer on her YouTube channel with Ratner, Scott Ratner, Arlen Konopaki, Kfir Goldberg, Andy Mininger and Raquel Dominguez. Ratner co-created the flagship bathroom show with Bieber, and directed the first several episodes, including the debut episode with Jenner. (Ratner and OBB Pictures are repped by UTA, 3 Arts and Morris Yorn.)
“I’m excited for the many different genres that we’re going to go into here,” Ratner says of launching the YouTUbe channel with Bieber, who he’s been friends with for years. “If you’re looking for fun or thought-provoking conversation, or if you’re a fan of Hailey’s, you should check out the channel because you’re in for some really fun, great stuff.”
Why did you want to start your own YouTube channel?
Bieber: I think what the media and social media does is try to twist who Hailey is into who they want me to be. Whereas I think that the YouTube platform gives me the opportunity to tell it how I want to tell it and in the most genuine way possible without anybody else trying to turn it into what they want to turn it into.
Have you seen the Britney Spears documentary? So much about that was how the media framed her narrative. Nowadays, it’s so great that with social media and with platforms like YouTube, you can say, “This is who I am.”
Bieber: I haven’t seen the Britney documentary yet. And I love Britney Spears. She was the first concert I ever went to. I idolized her as a kid. And I feel so bad. I feel sad for her that this is what was done to her, and it makes me upset for her. For her, it was on a whole different level, but I can only speak of what I’ve been through personally myself…when we [she and Justin Bieber] first got back together, when we first got married, there were a lot of narratives going around. There were a lot of people creating all these things that were just so not real and just not true. And I’m the type of person where I really care about the truth behind something.
How did you deal with that?
Bieber: I had to basically go through the process of letting go, of trying to set the story straight because it’s just never going to stop, essentially. I fight for the people that I love and I care about the people in my life, and when I feel like a story is being twisted or is not true, I cared to set it straight. And I had to kind of just get over that. If there are times where it makes sense to put something to rest or to correct a rumor, then I will in a very casual way. But I’m just so done fighting with people on social media or fighting against the media because it’s just never going to stop. It’s this giant machine that is never, ever going to end.
How will your own YouTube channel be different from that vicious machine?
Bieber: This is a space where I get to talk about whatever I want — what’s important to me, my life, my friends, my relationship. And it’s coming straight from my mouth, so nobody can twist that.
You both worked together on “Justin Bieber: Seasons.” Was it during that time that the idea for this YouTube channel came up?
Ratner: [Hailey] was the breakout star of “Seasons.” I think everybody gravitated toward her scenes and in her interview. After the success of “Seasons,” Hailey and I were talking about just doing more content together. And when she had this idea to create a channel, I loved it. Hailey had the vision. She said, “I want to talk about everything from politics to faith, having fun.” I thought, “Wow, we could create this whole channel and have true classical programming here, like a real network.” And that was really exciting.
Bieber: I think what’s really cool is [Michael] really knows my story. He knew my whole story between Justin and I from start to marriage. He knows so much about me and about my life. When we’re filming for all the YouTube stuff together, it’s so natural because I’m so comfortable because this is my friend at the end of the day.
How did the idea for “Who’s in My Bathroom?” come about?
Bieber: When we were brainstorming about the YouTube channel, it was actually in one of the initial calls that I was like, “I really have this idea about doing something in the bathroom.” So, we had this idea, and what’s more perfect than in the world of quarantining and COVID than being at your house and you’re having guests safely come and just have this conversation? I just want it to feel really unconventional — we’re doing things in the bathroom that don’t really make sense.
Like making mac ‘n cheese with Kendall Jenner?
Bieber: Yeah, like making mac ‘n cheese and then playing “Never Have I Ever.” It’s so silly and it’s so fun, and I think very unexpected. But the filming does actually happen in the bathroom in the house that I live at. Currently, our house is under construction, so we’re renting a house, and it ended up being really perfect because the bathroom in this house is giant and it has a lot of space for making mac ‘n cheese.
Ratner: To invite a friend over into some of your personal space in a bathroom and have these really cool conversations that normally nobody would get to see, it was just a great, fun idea. And I don’t think there’s anything else out there quite like it.
Your first guest is your best friend, Kendall Jenner. Tell me about having her on your show.
Bieber: The episode with Kendall is so funny. Genuinely, we’re crying. She was crying, laughing so hard, tears are falling onto her. The whole room was cracking up laughing. We’re drinking tequila and getting tipsy.
Ratner: My favorite part of the Kendall episode is toward the later part of filming, she’s truly crying, laughing so hard, and she just belts out, “I hate this fucking show.”
Bieber: I remember there was this photo of Kendall and me on her 21st birthday, and we’re sitting on a sink in the bathroom at her birthday party and I remember the conversation we were having in the bathroom — we were chatting about a boy. I just I feel so much goes on in the bathroom. There’s so much banter that happens in the bathroom.
You are the first person to make it acceptable to host a talk show in the bathroom. But you’re right, it is a very personal space.
Bieber: When you’re getting ready with your friends to go out at night, you’re in the bathroom. When you’re in a relationship with someone, you guys are in the bathroom at the end of the night brushing your teeth together and chatting about your day. I just feel like it’s a place where so much genuine conversation happens in real life. And that’s why I wanted to base it off of that.
Who is your dream guest to have in your bathroom?
Bieber: It would be cool if I could have LeBron James in my bathroom, and we’re just decorating cupcakes or doing something so silly and weird that [people] would be like, “Why is this person sitting in a bathroom, making mac ‘n cheese or decorating cupcakes?”
What is some other type of content that you’ll have on the channel?
Ratner: I mean, it’s the internet, right? So we went and we scoured the internet for some of Hailey’s looks throughout the years and handed her different looks to comment on. I think it’s stuff like that where it’s just Hailey’s having fun and talking about all of these different things that are out there in the Twitterverse and whatnot.
Bieber: I don’t mind making fun of myself. I can look back on outfits I’ve worn and be like, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Ratner: We would hand her some of these photos and actually have to wait for the crew to settle because she would laugh so hard at herself and then everybody else would laugh and then we’d have to reset. I think that kind of just speaks to the fun here. This is just a safe, fun environment to create.
What is one thing that nobody knows about Hailey that they’ll learn about her on her YouTube channel?
Ratner: I think people will be blown away by how funny she is. It’s not easy hosting a talk show. It’s just not. And her ability to navigate and be funny and relatable will really shine through in this series. I also think that she’s an incredibly well-rounded woman, and I think that she has so much to say on so many different subjects, and the way that she can go from cooking mac ‘n cheese in a bathroom to talking to a psychiatrist to talking about faith, it’s really incredible.
Hailey, what is one thing about yourself that you think nobody knows about you?
Bieber: I think what people are going to learn about me that they probably didn’t know before is just this quirky side to me that has always been such a genuine part of who I am, but I think I’ve felt in moments where I had to tone it down or “show your best and hide the rest.” I think my silliness is such a big part of who I am and being able to show who you are as genuinely as possible is such a strength. Something that I’m learning and growing into and getting more comfortable with is revealing those sides of me and showing people who I really am. And I hope that’s what gets taken away from this.
You’re really putting yourself out there this channel, but I’d imagine that there are some things that you want to hide and just keep sacred for yourself. What is something that you’ll never reveal and share with the world?
Bieber: I don’t know if there’s anything I think I need to hide, but like you said, there are things that in my relationship or in my relationship with my family, I don’t care to reveal everything. You have to be able to have some things for yourself. For me, there’s a balance in this world and in this industry of fighting for your privacy, and moments feel that much sweeter because they got to happen behind closed doors.
Is that a tough balance to strike while living a very public life?
Bieber: You can’t drive yourself crazy trying to hide either because I think when we first got married, especially, there was a big part of me that was trying so hard to keep everything private and hidden — let’s leave through this back door and go under a tunnel — and it just gets really exhausting sometimes.
There’s a certain point where you have to accept what your life is and you have to accept the fact that it is very public and then just find what works for you and find the happy medium. I don’t want to feel like everything has to be underground situations and back doors because it’s too much.
That was something that Justin helped me figure out a lot because he’s been dealing with it way longer than I have. He’s like, at a certain point, you have to kind of just accept, “Okay, when we walk out the front door, this is what’s going to be the situation, but then let’s find places and things that we can have for just us, like our home. And let’s make sure that wherever we settle down here, it’s going to be private, and that can be our getaway and that can be our escape.” And so, I think it’s just about balance, and I think it’s about finding what works for you as a person and for you as a couple.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.