Cameron Dallas’ ‘Chasing Cameron’ Episode 1 Review: Your Newest Netflix Binge?
Cameron Dallas’ Chasing Cameron is a new Netflix docu-series that follows the life of internet sensation Cameron Dallas as he’s going on a European tour with other social media stars. All 10 episodes are available on Netflix right now – should this be your next binge watch?
Depending on your age, hearing the name Cameron Dallas is likely to either make you scream uncontrollably, or ask “Who?!” Well, now, Cameron Dallas has his own Netflix show, Chasing Cameron.
At only 22-years-old, Cameron Dallas has become an internet superstar. He started his career as a “social media influencer” on Instagram, where he now has more than 17 million followers. On Twitter, he has almost 10 million followers, and his YouTube channel has more than 5 million subscribers. Whatever your opinion of him, this guy is extremely popular.
On the first minute of Cameron Dallas’ Chasing Cameron, the star explains his power, and how the old media just doesn’t get it.
“Right now the traditional space in the mainstream media kind of frown upon social media, but they don’t really understand the full power of it.
“They’re used to how things were working and how things ran. But this new generation is focused on a completely different thing. It’s social media, that’s the new ‘new.'”
Cameron then explains how he shut down Milan “with one tweet”, when he was there for a fashion show, and hordes of screaming fans tried to get a glimpse of him.
It is at that point, still less than one minute in, that we see Cameron Dallas’ trademark – his perfect abs. He goes to the window of his hotel room and fuels his screaming fans with a glimpse of his shirtless body.
It’s OK to talk about the powers of new media, the social media generation, and the new rules. But at the end of the day, you still need to be a good looking boy with perfect abs. And that’s old Hollywood all over again.
As Episode 1 of Chasing Cameron begins, Cameron Dallas tells his life story. He started it all on Instagram as a senior in high school five years ago, when he was 17-years-old.
At first, Cameron branded himself as a model. After amassing some Instagram followers, he told his fans he was going to meet them at a certain spot. The outcome? Thousands of screaming fans.
Of course, that’s a weird jump – we don’t get to hear about the days when Cameron had just 10 Instagram followers and no screams whatsoever. It’s an instant jump from 0 to 150,000 (and then 17 million) which only makes other internet star wannabes think this is easy work.
We do get a glimpse of Cameron’s life before becoming famous, when his sister, Sierra, reveals that he was actually bullied in high school and was kind of a loner.
“But once social media came around – that’s when he came out of his shell and became a prankster.”
While that might make Cameron Dallas sound more human, as someone who was just a regular, shy kid before he became famous, it only feeds this new media American dream even further. Every lonely kid who suffers from bullies in school can become the next internet sensation. Sorry kids, in most cases it doesn’t work this way, which is a lesson missing from Episode 1.
The main question while watching Cameron Dallas’ Chasing Cameron was whether this was actually a documentary, or just another cog in the social machine built around this young internet star. The answer? It’s both.
To the sound of ominous music, Cameron’s mother explains at one point that when he started, he was actually getting analytical about all this, looking at the numbers on his social media accounts. That’s a very small peek into the fact that it’s not all pranks and shirtless photos – there’s an actual business to consider behind the fun.
And that’s where MagCon comes in.
Cameron Dallas And The Business Of Being Famous
The MagCon tour is a “Meet and Greet” convention, where fans get to see their favorite social media stars perform on stage, take photos with them, and – if they’re really lucky, and depending on your ticket price – get a kiss and a hug. It’s like a super-group of internet stars.
MagCon represents the ultimate business opportunity – and money to be made – from screaming fans in this new world. The convention, with Cameron Dallas as one of its organizers, is at the heart of Chasing Cameron and is the perfect dividing point between kids who are just having fun on social media and a multi-million dollar business that tours the United States and Europe.
But while watching Chasing Cameron, a question seems to arise again and again – are they kids, or are they celebrities? They’re not exactly actors as there are no scripts to their YouTube and Instagram videos. They’re known around the world, so they’re celebrities. But what is their end game? What is the ultimate goal for them?
Seventeen-year-old Aaron Carpenter, another internet superstar and a part of the MagCon “family,” sums it up nicely.
“I’ve seen famous people do meet and greets, and I was like, ‘Why can’t I?'”
And so MagCon was born. They started with 400 sold tickets for a Houston show in 2013. Then, weeks later, they sold 1600 tickets in Orlando, Florida.
Throughout Cameron Dallas’ Chasing Cameron, you’re tempted to see these kids as cynical, business-oriented superstars. But then Aaron Carpenter starts crying when he talks about his parents getting a divorce, and you remember – these were just kids two minutes ago.
When Aaron also mentions the tragic passing of his stepbrother and stepfather, it’s a genuine moment of sadness. But then we cut to his MagCon buddies consoling him, telling him his stepdad is in a better place now, and how they love him.
And it’s a candid moment, but the thought creeps in – why are we able to watch this? Whose idea was it to keep filming while this 17-year-old kid was hugging his friends over the death of his stepdad? That’s the business of being internet famous – everything in your life is part of the deal.
After all, it was Aaron himself who announced the death of his stepbrother to his fans two years ago.
Bart Bordelon, MagCon’s founder and current CEO, explains how when he first met Cameron Dallas, he immediately understood the thing missing in Cameron’s life: a father figure, a male role model. You get an uneasy feeling when you’re watching this – they’re talking about real life, with a script right out of a soap opera. Is it all real and genuine? The only thing we know for sure, it that when you’re a social media star, the entire world is your stage.
As Episode 1 of Chasing Cameron concludes, we see Cameron Dallas and his MagCon group arrive in London for their first European show. In the grand tradition of reality TV, the episode ends with some drama, and even a cliffhanger, as one of the stars is angry about not getting his spending money for the tour. There’s yelling, there’s a lot of emotions… and you end up jumping on to Episode 2.
What did we learn from Episode 1 of Cameron Dallas’ Chasing Cameron? A father who came with his child to MagCon in London sums it all up nicely.
“I don’t think we really understand the world in which they live… online. One worries, but actually what’s going on, I have no idea. And suddenly, it’s kind of made flesh, isn’t it?”
And that’s the essence of Cameron Dallas’ Chasing Cameron. If you’re already a fan of Cameron, you’re going to watch this either way, just to see some more of your internet idols. Cameron Dallas and the other young stars come across as genuine, but you have to wonder – they’ve been performing in front of cameras, in their bedrooms and living rooms, for so many years – are we watching the real them, or a performance? Is there any difference at this point?
If you’re just trying to understand this world, and Cameron Dallas, Episode 1 of Chasing Cameron is a good start. You see kids who became stars overnight, you see the business around them, and you see glimpses of screaming fans.
But when you stop and think about it – despite Cameron Dallas calling this “the new ‘new,'” we’ve seen it all before. We’ve had handsome kids who became celebrities before, we’ve had multi-million dollar businesses built around those kids, and we’ve always had screaming fans dating back to The Beatles.
The only difference? The medium they currently play on. It’s not radio, it’s not TV, it’s the internet. Which is why it’s so fitting for the “new” TV, Netflix, to give us this peek into this not-so-new world. And it’s a trip worth taking.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]