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How coming out as an LGBTQ+ couple led to these flight attendant vloggers' YouTube success

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Aug 21, 2022 2:39 pm

Coming out can be an uphill battle for LGBTQ+ people and doing it for all the world to see requires an extraordinary amount of courage. 

Vloggers Tanchellie Lobete and Sarah Garcia are no exception to this, but doing so paved their way to inspire more people and, later on, racking up followers on YouTube. 

Tanch and Sarah, collectively known as Team Tarah, have been together as a couple since 2014. Their love story began in August that year, while they were training to become flight attendants of Philippine Airlines.

Five years later, in Jan. 2019, Tanch started vlogging about her life as a flight attendant to earn extra income apart from her monthly salary. A single mom to her son Davidson, Tanch would usually use her earnings not only for her day-to-day expenses and those of Davi's, but also to finance her aviation studies. 

The couple looked back on their journey during Google's Digiskarteng Pinay online workshop attended by PhilSTAR L!fe and other members of the press on August 11.

Sarah began, "Tanchellie started this channel. Ang plan niya lang sana is to have a way to earn extra income kasi pareho kaming flight attendants at that time."

"So nag-search siya online, then may mga nakita siya, sila Anne Klutz, mga makeup vlogger. Sabi niya, 'Uy, YouTube is now an income-generating platform. Why not I also start my own channel?'" she continued. "So she started venturing [into] her life as a flight attendant. And then she used this platform to inspire mga aspiring flight attendants."

Tanchellie Lobete (left) and Sarah Garcia (right) during their training as flight attendants

Tanch released her first vlog about her life as a cabin crew on Jan. 23, 2019. Sarah said that although her wife's videos were already gaining traction back then, their channel began to fly when they made their same-sex relationship official on YouTube.

"Until such time we had the courage to show what or who we truly are. That's the time na truly inaccept kami ng mga tao," Sarah continued.

"Kasi 'yung sa flight attendant category, marami naman, marami siyang na-gain na subscribers. Pero mas dumami when we opened up what or we truly are. Doon namin mas na-feel 'yung pagtanggap ng subscribers, 'yung support ng mga tao, so 'yun yung amazing about it. That's when we started Team Tarah Official."

Establishing a more inclusive family vlog

Team Tarah's YouTube channel is an entertaining combo of everything and anything the wacky couple thinks of sharing with their followers. This includes challenges, pranks, and heart-to-heart talks, in addition to their trips to Siargao, Sydney, Tokyo, and more with Tarah's son Davi.

The channel is also where the girl-to-girl couple chronicles their milestones, from getting pregnant via intracytoplasmic sperm injection to the special day in June when they exchanged wedding vows in the US.

While their YouTube channel took a sharp turn from tackling the life of a flight attendant to showing how to raise a modern family, Tanch said that being real on- and off-cam has since been the key to maintaining and growing their followers.

She explained, "What we really do is just document ourselves, just being true, just being real. And noong we came out, we shared our story, and brave kami to show the world who we really are, that's when people started relating to us and eventually, nakagawa kami ng family or community sa YouTube."

"And I believe, hindi talaga kami yung nag-publish ng channel namin, it's them," Tanch continued. "And that's the thing about content creating, at first you do you and then listen to your community."

Until such time we had the courage to show what or who we truly are. That's the time na truly inaccept kami ng mga tao.

Apart from being authentic with their content, the couple can connect with their audience better with the exclusive features YouTube is offering content creators. This includes YouTube Studio, a platform that allows channel owners to manage their videos and live streams, view analytics, and reply to comments, among other tasks needed in managing a vlog.

Sarah explained, "We have to understand our community with the use of YouTube Studio. Sobrang helpful noon kasi doon mo makikita 'yung age group, nationality, gender, sino 'yung nanonood sa inyo, sino 'yung minamarket mo, who ar you engaging to. Very important to consider what you share with them kasi you know who [is] watching your content. And then from YouTube Studio, you can manage the comments."

"So after we upload or vlogs, siguro in the first 30 minutes, we engage to them by reading and replying to their comments—a simple, 'Thank you so much for watching our vlog,' or pag-heart or pag-like sa comments nila, sobrang saya na nila," Sarah continued.

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A post shared by Sarah Garcia (@iamsaved_sjg)

Another way Team Tarah maintains their strong bond with their half a million followers is by making time to do live streaming despite their busy schedules. Tanch is now working as a private pilot, while Sarah is still with Philippine Airlines as a flight attendant. Both of them are busy taking care of Davi, too.

"From time to time, kapag medyo backlog na 'yung videos namin, ang ginagawa namin is meron ding pa-YouTube Live. Very helpful 'yun kasi ito naman real-time connection with our viewers," Sarah said. 

Being real through and through

While creating content is no easy feat and focusing on your audience's interest is a surefire way to ace it, Tanch and Sarah stand firm on the belief that being true to one's self is always what's most relatable to people.

"Na-overwhelm ako trying to please them. I want to give the love back. But then I realized na I'm slowly losing myself, na instead na mag-stay lang kami to be authentic or to be true, pini-please ko na sila. And I realized na people love you not because you please them," Tarah recounted. 

"So I think sa mga nagsta-start pa lang ng YouTube, it's very important to focus on the assignment, record yourself doing you, and very important to leave a mark. Do not please people,' she added.

To stay real both in front and outside of your vlog, the couple also advises aspiring vloggers to constantly ask themselves their reason for starting in the first place. 

"Parati naming binabalik-balikan ano ba 'yung core namin, ano ba 'yung reason na sinimulan namin," Tanch continued. "And ang core namin is to be real... and we are real because of our story... Ang purpose namin is to inspire people and that's what really matters to us."