We live in the age of the digital celebrity — a world in which the most recognized faces aren’t just people with a talk show or a best-selling album. These new stars often have a very particular set of skills or the ability to talk to their fanbase in a very personal way.

Skill-Based Influencers

This is not just part of a broader change in the nature of fame; it also speaks to how the broader entertainment economy is changing as well — transforming at a fundamental level and allowing people with a skill they have been unable to leverage in traditional entertainment channels to reach a level at which they are, effectively, celebrities. In this article, we’ll look at Lex Veldhuis as an example of the rise of skilled-based stars. 

The Shift from Traditional to Skill-Based Celebrity

The shift from traditional celebrity to skill-based influence has brought about a significant change within the entertainment industry, redefining what it means to be a star. One man embodies this change more than most: Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis, a Dutch professional poker player turned Twitch and YouTube entertainer extraordinaire.

Growing up in the early days of online gaming, Veldhuis excelled at games like StarCraft player before he was introduced to poker by Bertrand Grospellier. 

Excelling in both online and live poker tournaments, Veldhuis soon found himself with a wealth of knowledge he hoped to share. And he did just that, becoming one of the first online gamers to stream poker on Twitch and later on YouTube. Suddenly, Veldhuis was engaging with fans in real-time, breaking viewership records and winning the 2019 Global Poker Index’s Global Poker Award for Streamer of the Year.

He’s as comfortable talking about all things poker-related with his followers as he is sharing his personal life with them via vlogs and merchandise. Veldhuis’ YouTube channel has led to a worldwide following and speaks directly to how this new type of celebrity is shaping the future of entertainment. 

Beyond Poker: Building a Brand

Beyond Poker

Lex Veldhuis has emerged as an accomplished poker player whose vast internet following has enabled him to become a digital celebrity recognized beyond the gaming world. Moreover, his penchant for high-stakes poker and strategy content has led to new opportunities, from exclusive personal vlogs to custom merchandise.

Most well-known for his high-stakes poker exploits and deep poker strategy content, Veldhuis made his biggest personal vlogging splash over the first two days of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in Nassau. The content provided details on his stay in the Bahamas, giving viewers a window into his time there. 

The vlogs gave fans a look at his always engaging, at times funny, and often personal tour through the PCA as he posted the latest updates. In doing so, Veldhuis found himself branching out beyond the audience who knew him just for his high-stakes poker career and poker streams, attracting new fans with diverse backgrounds.

All of that helped him tap into the YouTube community, where he has found another fan base ready to learn from the Team PokerStars member. Taking advantage of this new opportunity, Veldhuis has been adept at expanding his brand into a more universal celebrity both on and off the virtual felt.

The Global Impact of Skill-Based Influencers

From around the globe, “skill-based” influencers like Lex Veldhuis are proving the transformative reach of digital platforms. These influencers are masters of their craft and win followers by sharing their stories and expertise. They draw massive and diverse audiences from all corners of the world who are looking for something different.

Their fame isn’t always about the flash and glamour of Hollywood’s big screen; instead, it is real content with real skill and passion at its core. It’s content that people can relate to and connect with. These influencers are redefining what we think of as celebrities and bringing about change by engaging their fans on a personal level, whether they’re in the same country or on another continent.