This week, I sat down with somebody whose coolness had a magnetic pull for me. Entering Chiara Kruger’s room, I was struck by its balance of tidiness and colorful ebullience. On one of Kruger’s meticulously organized walls hangs a snapshot of her with a YouTube celebrity. I asked her about it, and found myself in a whirlwind conversation about her passion for storytelling.
Kruger loves YouTube and filmmaking. Senior year of high school, she got hooked on short movies on YouTube, which I learned are an entire industry and career path of their own. She’s attended many conventions where YouTube celebrities and fanatics convene, similar to how comic fans do at Comic-Con. As she recalled one of these conventions where she met one of her favorite YouTube celebrities and took the picture I saw, sparks of excitement lit up in her eyes.
She claims now that she can’t go a day without getting her fix of YouTube films. She doesn’t post any of her own videos online because she has the classic artist’s mind: she never feels her work is complete or perfect enough. She does, however, hope to be a YouTube sensation with her own channel someday.
I asked her to share a little bit about what kind of films she would like to make. She is a fan of psychological thrillers and likes dark plots. “I was just sitting in class looking at someone through the reflection on my computer screen, and I realized that would make a cool film angle.” Her inspiration comes at moments like these, as well as from her acute observations of the world around her and her own experiences as a teenage girl.
Her interest in psychology was obvious to me as she explained her current idea, for which she is trying to get funding: a video around 30 minutes about a girl who is on the brink of suicide and lying to her therapist about it. The film plans to shift between the girl’s flashbacks of her real life and the lies she is telling her therapist. Kruger plans on leaving viewers hanging with an ending that is inconclusive but chilling nonetheless.
Mental illness is particularly important for Kruger as a subject, having had personal experience with it and losing close friends to it. Kruger would love to someday be a counselor to young adults suffering from these problems. She condemned the glamorization and stignation of mental illnesses in the media. One of the reasons why she wants to include mental illnesses as a subject in her films is because of her passion for raising awareness of them.
Kruger’s passion for filmmaking will be taking her to Rome this summer where she hopes to shoot a documentary on her volunteering experience there.
Kruger’s love for storytelling goes beyond film and into her real life. At a business competition in high school that lasted four days, Kruger shamelessly assumed a flawless British accent. At this conference, she became notorious as “the girl with the red hair and British accent.” Her obsessive nature, however, is what made her follow through with the roleplaying. Kruger doesn’t half-ass anything; she continued living with a believable British accent for nine days after the conference. Her teachers and friends questioned her roleplaying, but she retorted back to them in an impeccable British voice, “I just can’t stop!”
She did all of this just for the fun of creating a persona and telling a story. Her confident, shameless dedication and passion is why I think she’s even cooler than the pictures on her wall let on.