Mathew Tyler Oakley (born March 22, 1989) is an American YouTube and podcast personality, author and activist. Much of Oakley's activism had been dedicated to LGBT youth, LGBT rights, as well as social issues including healthcare, education, and the prevention of suicide among LGBT youth. Oakley regularly posts material on various topics, including queer politics, pop culture and humor.
Oakley began making videos in 2007; his first video Raindrops has received over 420,000 views on YouTube as of January 3, 2016. Since uploading his first video in 2007 while a freshman at Michigan State University, his channel has over 615 million views and over 8 million subscribers as of February 2017. Oakley, who is openly gay, is a former member of the successful collaboration channel "5AwesomeGays," where he produced the Friday video for over three years. He was featured in the 2014 Frontline investigative report, "Generation Like," a follow-up on how teenagers are "directly interacting with pop culture" to the 2001 report, "The Merchants of Cool." SocialBlade, a website that rates YouTube and Instagram accounts, ranks his YouTube channel, as of August 16, 2015, with a grade "B+", subscriber rank of 109, video view rank at 1,129th, and a SocialBlade rating of 1,329th. As of February 2016 he also has more than 5 million followers on Twitter and 6 million on Instagram.
As of March 2013, Oakley co-hosted a weekly pop-culture news update – "Top That!" – with Becca Frucht for PopSugar until October 31 when he announced his departure. From 2013–14, he performed the voice of Mr. McNeely in five episodes of the comedy web series The Most Popular Girls in School. He has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and Tumblr. In 2015, he released his first collection of humorous personal essays under the title Binge, via publishers Simon & Schuster.
In 2016 The Tyler Oakley Show, with Oakley as host of the show, premiered. The show will air weekly on Ellen DeGeneres’ ellentube platform. He was named one of Forbes' 2017 30 under 30.
Mathew Tyler Oakley was born March 22, 1989 in Jackson, Michigan and has twelve siblings in total. When he was an infant, his parents divorced. When in the sixth grade, Oakley moved to Okemos, MI, and became involved in choir and drama. As a teenager, Oakley struggled with Bulimia Nervosa. After finishing high school, Oakley attended Michigan State University, where he studied communication, marketing and social media. While attending college, Oakley fell into a short depression after a break-up with a long term boyfriend. Oakley admits he considered suicide in this time. This was also when he first became involved with YouTube, using the video sharing website to communicate with his high school friends, who were attending different schools.
Oakley is an active member across many social media platforms. A self-proclaimed "professional fangirl", he is a fan of Darren Criss from Glee, along with Julie Chen of CBS's daytime talk show The Talk. He also sang Christmas carols on stage with English-Irish boy band One Direction and television presenter Jerry Springer.
Oakley is also known for receiving attention from major celebrities and organizations, such as Liam Payne from One Direction, Chris Colfer from the television series Glee and the restaurant chain store Taco Bell, namely on social network Twitter after commenting on a their previous tweet or tweeting about them. Due to Oakley's success with social media and prominence among many social media platforms (particularly YouTube), he was also given the opportunity to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. He also did a video with first lady Michelle Obama talking about education issues.
Oakley attributes his success only in part with his accessibility as a young gay man, "It's not all about me being gay. It's kind of like an underlying theme for me [with gay life] sprinkled throughout the videos." He sees Ellen DeGeneres as a role model, "She embodies what I want my experience to be and my influence to be, where it's a positive one, it's a happy one, it's not something about the bad parts of life or the downsides of a lot of things. She's using her influence for good, and everyone knows who she is, what she stands for, and that she is a lesbian."
The Advocate in their 2014 "40 under 40: Emerging voices" say that, due to Oakley's presence on YouTube, he is the first openly gay person that many people have met.
On screen, Oakley has done appearances on broadcasting platforms, having some that air on national TV. Oakley was seen on Insider Tonight, featuring co-hosts Kevin Frazier, and Thea Andrews. He has also recently interviewed live from the 2014 Kids Choice Awards red carpet, along with many other events that have him meeting and speaking to celebrities.
In 2014, Oakley premiered a live show tour, "Tyler Oakley's Slumber Party" featuring him in pajamas and doing skits, and interactive segments with the audience. His two initial shows in Chicago, and Royal Oak, Michigan in early October both sold out in 72 hours. In December 2014 seven dates, all on the East Coast, will make up the next leg of the tour which is expected to eventually go to 40 cities. Variety noted that the trend of "digital-native stars hitting the road for 'in-real-life' shows" has been increasing and Oakley had been a part of DigiTour's 2014 US Summer tour of YouTube and Vine personalities.
It was announced that Oakley, alongside best friend Korey Kuhl, would be competing in the 28th season of The Amazing Race. They finished in 3rd place.
Oakley supports The Trevor Project, an organization for the prevention of suicide among LGBT youth. He has interned with them in 2009 and since 2011 has co-hosted TrevorLIVE, the charity's annual red carpet event. In 2013 he raised $29,000 for his birthday in support of the Trevor Project having aimed to raise $24,000 (because it was his 24th birthday). In 2014, he raised $525,704 in a similar event, and in 2015 he similarly raised $532,224.