25-year old Kayleigh Brown, aka Kayleigh Kill, has been making YouTube videos for nearly five years. Earlier this week she became one of YouTube’s 16 Next Vloggers of 2013—an elite group of YouTubers that are rewarded with production equipment, industry expert training, and the opportunity to collaborate.

Kayleigh’s YouTube channel boasts 7,372 subscribers and over 356,000 video views, but she says, “It took me awhile to get to the comfortability level that I’m at now to upload videos on the Internet.” I spoke with Kayleigh to find out more about her personal struggle and how she gained the confidence to become one of YouTube’s next up-and-coming vloggers.

In a video she created as part of the Next Vlogger program, Kayleigh explains, “This friendly neighborhood geeky girl was not always the poster child for confidence. I’ve definitely had my personal struggles with bullies and I definitely had self-image problems and I struggled with how I saw myself because I got to a point that the way that the bullies saw me was how I began to see myself.”

Kayleigh began making videos in the summer of 2008, originally to keep in touch with friends over the summer and then as more of a hobby, inspired by other popular YouTubers like Meekakitty, Livelavalive and Timaya. Entering the world of YouTube really helped Kayleigh blossom and start to see herself in a more positive light. “I think the anonymous comments that I was getting about how my videos made people happy, and they really liked seeing my face, and they thought my videos were funny, and they wanted to see more, it just completely opened this world to me and it really helped me see that I wasn’t the person that the bullies made me out to be.”

I asked Kayleigh if she had any advice for creators trying to overcome nasty trolling comments on their own Youtube videos. She says she’s been pretty lucky in that an estimated 95 percent of the comments on her videos are actually positive. That being said, she did offer up some advice based on her experience with the occasional trolling comments, which she says don’t phase her: “I don’t delete them. I don’t respond to them. I simply ignore them. Usually the comments will have something to do with my appearance, and not the content of my video. There’s just something about reading an insult from an anonymous user name that doesn’t phase me, I suppose.”

“This is the Internet,” she adds. “Not everyone will like what you have to say. Many will judge not on your content, but on your appearance. As long as you know your worth and how much you rock, then you already know that the opinions of some are not the opinions of the majority. Keep doing what you do, and most people will see you for the unique individual you are.”

When asked if she had any advice to offer to someone who might want to take up vlogging but is nervous, scared or doesn’t know where to start, Kayleigh says, “Start like I did! Make videos for your friends. Film yourself making something. Film yourself talking about a subject that interests you. You should never be nervous. You’re talking to a camera, and you get to edit out the parts you dislike. You’re in complete control of what you upload. If you don’t like it, re-film! That’s the beauty of filming and editing, rather than live-streaming. And always remember that the internet is MASSIVE. World-wide, in fact! There will ALWAYS be someone who will watch what you create. Heck, send me your video. I’ll be your first like and subscriber!”

Check out Kayleigh’s mad vlogging skillz in action in the videos below and feel free to leave a nice word in the comments!