Take 5: YouTube Vlogger Winston Sterzel

By Sky Gidge, December 20, 2016

0 0

Every month, Take 5 sees a PRD resident answer five questions on whatever our editors feel like asking.

After 10 years of vlogging about Shenzhen, Winston Sterzel recently stepped into the wilds of making his YouTube videos a full-time job. Often appearing in a suit and drinking a beer, his video repertoire of city guides and interviews on taboo topics have earned more than 15 million views, making him the unofficial face of Shenzhen in the Anglosphere.

Why did you start filming videos for YouTube and did you expect it to become what it is now?
I wanted to show friends and family back home that China wasn't as horrible as the media usually paints it to be, and that it is a really fun, interesting and friendly place. I did not ever expect it to become my full-time occupation.

Out of all of the cities in China, why stay in Shenzhen?
Simply because it's the best city. I've been to all the first-tier cities and hundreds of other smaller cities and towns during my 10 years here. Shenzhen is young, energetic, all about technology and the best part is that it's full of migrant workers. You get to meet people from all over China and there isn't a stigma towards outsiders, as you'll find in Beijing or Shanghai.

What's the most unexpected response you’ve ever gotten while filming?
To be honest, as long as I'm polite and friendly I've never had any negative or unexpected responses. I've had plenty of police and security guards chase me off, but probably the most puzzling thing is being told – on more than one occasion – that it's okay for me to film using my cellphone, but I'm not allowed to use my camera.

Some of the comments on your videos can get pretty rough, how do you deal with that?
I simply ignore the trolls for the most part. There have been instances of very vindictive trolls who have overstepped the line by going after my family. Those people are just absolute scum, but it comes with the territory. You simply can't put any energy into the trolls and haters or they win.

Has wearing a suit ever gotten you in trouble?
I'm convinced I was mistaken for a spy once. I'm sure a real spy wouldn't be dressed in a suit, I guess the people who called the security guards on me for filming in the street had watched a little too many 007 films.

A recent motorbike odyssey by Sterzel was turned into the documentary Conquering Southern China and is available on Vimeo. Sterzel posts under YouTube account SerpentZA.

Click here for more Take 5.

more news

Shenzhen-Built 'Idolcam' Makes Shooting Quality Videos Easier than Ever

The Idolcam can allow an everyman with little-to-no camera experience create a fairly decent video.

15 Tips to Become a Successful YouTube Vlogger in China

What Matt Tye learned on the way to 100,000 subscribers.

We Chatted with Successful Shenzhen-Based YouTuber Jordan Taylor

Millions have viewed this Shenzhen-based YouTuber's travel videos.

5 China-Based Youtubers You Need to Be Following

China is a tough place for a YouTuber – but these guys are having a go.

5 Fast Facts About 'China's Conscience,' Cui Yongyuan

From a prominent TV host to running noodle shop.

Explainer: Why Beijing Gets Central Heating Yet the South is Left in the Cold

When the ancient Huai River-Qin Mountains Line and the days of central planning combine...

Author Graeme Sheppard on Reopening China's Hottest Cold Case

We spoke with retired police officer Graeme Sheppard about his new book 'A Death in Peking,' which sheds new light on a murder from 80 years ago.

This Week in History: Japanese Takeover of the International Settlement

An inside look at the Japanese takeover of Shanghai's International Settlement, which began on December 8, 1941.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsShenzhen for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shenzhen With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's PRD!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.