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The Surprising Second Act for One of YouTube's Biggest Stars

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This story appears in the September 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The line snakes across an entire airport hangar. Hundreds of people, most of them teenage girls, stand single file and chatter excitedly, bouncing on their heels and occasionally dissolving into nervous tears. At the front of all this is the man they’ve been waiting to meet, a guy that almost nobody over the age of 24 has heard of: Connor Franta, YouTube star.

Brian Higbee
Connor Franta

“I love you!" Squeals Shelby, a 14-year-old Pennsylvania girl, as she reaches the front of the line. "I love you, too!” He responds. Shelby, like everyone else, is now granted two photographed poses with Franta -- and she, like everyone else, takes this decision seriously. Many fans spend their brief time with Franta discussing what they should do in their photo. Make the shape of a heart with their fingers? Mug cheek-to-cheek? Kick up a foot?

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