Jaden Dupree: YouTube star

YouTube is arguably the most popular video platform around and the place to turn to for anything and everything. Pranks, vlogs, fashion, unboxings, music videos and trailers all make up the endless content the app and website provides. The number of different people showcasing their own unique interests is extensive. Sophomore social media influencer Jaden Dupree’s channel “Dupree Trickshots” fills YouTube with intricate pool trick shots and tutorials. 

Jaden’s YouTube channel is home to 123,000 subscribers, but he has also created a reputation for himself on other social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. 

“I think I fall between the term of social media influencer and professional pool player,” Jaden said. “Pool [can be] a hobby or a profession, but I think of pool as professional because there is money involved.” 

After realizing his talent, Jaden decided he wanted to put himself to the test and compete in the Billiard Education Foundation — a youth competitive program. This past year, Jaden was one spot from qualifying for junior worlds in fourth place, and Jaden is the Louisiana Junior State Champion.

“I think I [pursued competitive pool]  because I didn’t really know anyone else who [I could] play [with],” Jaden said. “It’s fun playing by myself, but it’s more fun playing with people. After a while my family didn’t want to play because there was no point in it. It was fun to find competition and people as good as or better than me.”

Social media quickly became Jaden’s best friend, and he was noticed by many different platforms, such as Nickelodeon, Ellentube and a Super Bowl Skittles commercial. Jaden has thrived thus far, but his social media career has taught him life lessons outside of pool. 

“Majority of people on the internet are making content and not getting watched,” Jaden said. “That is 99% of people and for me to be even slightly part of the other 1% is pretty cool.”

The journey to becoming successful on YouTube had to start somewhere. Before Jaden learned he was a pool whiz, he spent most of his time playing guitar or piano. After his parents bought a pool table for fun, Jaden taught himself the rules of pool and fell in love with the game.

“When I was 13 and my brother was 16, my parents thought it would be fun to have a pool table,” Jaden said. “I started to play and found out I really [enjoyed] it. Friends have given me ideas for videos, but my parents bought me the table, the lights and the camera for Christmas.” 

The fame definitely has its downsides. Jaden has had first hand encounters with fans, in which he just wants to move on with his day. 

“I’ve been on [other] Instagram accounts and I guess that is where people recognize me because I don’t really show my face [on my channel],” Jaden said. “People recognize me sometimes, if I’m at a pool tournament people sometimes want pictures, but when people recognize me on the street it [can] get annoying.”

Like most influencers, the drawbacks of social media has occured to Jaden over the past four years. 

“YouTube has really changed how I interact with people,” Jaden said. “I feel like YouTube was bad for me at first. As I started to get bigger, I checked my subscriber count way too often, and now, I check it once every couple months. I don’t care about the number side as much anymore, I care [more] about the people. It made me a bit too prideful, but I feel YouTube has humbled me.”