Q&A session with Leyla Jackson, student reactor


Photo Courtesy of Leyla Jackson

Junior Leyla Jackson is a reactor for Teens React series and gives her opinion about viral videos as well as music videos of various artists.

Q: What is your role in the Teens React channel?

A: My role is to basically just react and give my opinions to viral videos and trends. There are over 50 teens and we all work together to share our opinions about topics that are prevalent in our society.

Q: What program is the Teens React channel under?

A: There are two channels that the teens are featured on. The main channel is the FineBros (FBE) and the second is the REACT channel.

Q: How did you get involved with the Teens React channel?

A: In July 2015, my family friends recommended me to apply for teens react so I did and went through the audition process. Luckily I was able to make it on the show!

Q: How was the audition process?

A: I basically had to start off by filling out a questionnaire sent to me through email. It asked me questions about me and my interests. Based off of that, they asked me to come in for an audition where I reacted to two videos and this audition was to see how I would do in front of a camera.Then they sent the video to the producers, Benny and Rafi Fine, who ultimately decided whether they wanted me to come in for my first taping. After the first taping was up on YouTube and they found me to be entertaining, they called me back for more, and I become an official member of the cast.

Q: How did you feel when you heard that you became the official member of the cast?

A: I was actually at school that day. The bell rang for lunch and I checked my email and saw that I had a message from them. I only read up to “we would like…” and I started freaking out and ran to my best friend to tell her.

Q: So what is the process of making these react videos?

A: First, they call in all the teens at separate times during the week and we go in for however long we are needed and we film the video. We first watch it and then we are asked questions which is where most of the opinions are shared. Then the footage is taken to our editing team and they put together the parts they like and think are most effective. We have a team for almost anything. Even for making the thumbnail to the video.

Q: How do you guys brainstorm for videos to react to? Do the teens also contribute?

A: Usually the teens aren’t the ones who brainstorm; it’s Benny and Rafi along with some other assistants. They spend hours in a conference room with a white board jotting down ideas and trying to pull out videos before the trend dies. We are definitely allowed to contribute though, I have done it before.

Q: Who do you look up to in the Teens React team?

A: Well, I have a few. My main one is Andrea. She works at the front desk and she was the one who picked out my application so she is basically the reason I am on the show. And then Zach, James and Ethan who are the guys behind the camera asking questions and filming.

From the Teens React show itself, Kaelyn, who is one of the teens — almost adults now — was one of the first to reach out to me and take me under her wing in a sense and help me become closer with the other teens. All of the teens get along well together and a lot of us hang out outside and the office too.

Q: Are all the Teen Reactors only from California?

A: Yes, all of the reactors are from California. We film in Burbank so we have people coming from Northern and Southern California who even drive a few hours to come in and shoot. We don’t have any offices anywhere else so we don’t film in other states.

Q: What’s your all time favorite react video that you participated in? Why?

A: Probably “TEENS REACT TO SNAPCHAT SPECTACLES.” I’ve never come across anything like that and it was cool to get to see how they work considering the fact that not a lot of people own them. Q: Since Teens React is quite well-known in YouTube, was there any instances when you felt responsible for your reactions or comments?

A: Yes, after one episode I got a lot of hate on Twitter because of my opinion and I decided to respond to them in a hateful way. But the company showed me to humble and ignore the hate, work harder to share my opinions and not to be afraid to share them.

Q: Would you mind sharing what you said?

A: Yeah. It was my views on the band Fifth Harmony and the way they portray feminism.

Q: Would you say that Teens React is a form of teen empowerment and the youth voicing their opinions?

A: Definitely. We want to show that teens do have opinions, have the right to share them and use our voice to make change.

Q: What do you think your responsibility is to the viewers as a part of the Teens React cast?

A: When I joined I was most excited to share my opinions. We all have different views on different topics and all of us have a role to start a change and be role models. I love going into film about controversial topics. It shows that it’s okay to talk about sensitive things because a lot of it needs to be talked about. So far I haven’t talked about anything too intense other than a slight mention of feminism, but we do have videos out regarding many controversial topics.

Q: What do you plan on continuing in the future?

A: I hope to branch out further in the entertainment industry. It’s very fun and interesting to work with, and teens react is a great first step to getting closer to where I want to be.