Comedian Grace Helbig is a YouTube phenomenon, the star of her own new show on E! and a New York Times bestselling author, but the self-proclaimed "awkward older sister" says she owes all her success to failure.
In a commencement speech she delivered Friday at her alma mater, Ramapo College, Helbig, 29, recalled an epiphany she had while working an unfulfilling office job while dreaming of being a professional comedian.
"Quite honestly I think it is way more terrifying to be boring than to be a failure," she said. "Failures are what make you interesting, and they're what give you perspective and they're what get you millions of views on YouTube."
That mindset, she told the graduates, comes from a mantra she picked up while doing improv in New York after graduating in 2007: "Follow your fear."
"When you're uncomfortable, that's when things get really interesting," she said. "The more I kept doing improv and the more I kept following my fear, the more I realized that being uncomfortable is truly being alive," Helbig added later. "The only thing you can do in this life is pursue your passions, celebrate your bloopers and never stop following your fear."
That philosphy, she explained, led her to one of her most laughable learning experiences.
"I've auditioned for SNL in front of Lorne Michaels wearing a belly chain and doing my best Jersey girl accent. Oh my gawd, can you believe I didn't get cast?" she said, flipping on the accent. "Oh my gawd."