By Alex Fitzpatrick
May 26, 2016

PewDiePie is the most famous celebrity you may have never heard of, depending on how much time you spend watching YouTube. Born Felix Kjellberg, the 26-year-old has the most popular channel on the video site, with roughly 44.4 million subscribers. His biggest draw are “Let’s Plays,” videos of himself playing video games. (They’re a popular phenomenon across YouTube and are often much more enjoyable than they sound.)

TIME’s Lev Grossman spoke with Kjellberg for a profile in the June 6 issue. Here are five things we learned about the YouTuber reinventing modern celebrity, also one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People this year.

  1. His parents didn’t let him have a video game console growing up: “I wasn’t allowed to have a Nintendo,” he told TIME. “Only when I was sick, we would rent one. So I was sick a lot.”
  2. He was nervous about making his first video: “I remember when I did my first video,” Kjellberg says. “I’d sit alone in my room just looking around like, I hope no one sees me, because this is the weirdest shit ever.”
  3. He has never had a single video catch fire, succeeding on singles and doubles instead of home runs: “An interesting note about Kjellberg’s rise to fame: he never really had a video go viral,” writes TIME’s Lev Grossman. “He just ground it out, slow and steady, growing subscriber by subscriber.”
  4. Like many other Internet stars, he makes money from advertising deals with brands: “It’s not something I’m trying to hide,” Kjellberg says. “It’s not like I have to be, like, This bagel is delicious, I love it, it’s my favorite.”
  5. He works a six-day week: “I take Saturdays off,” he says.

Write to Alex Fitzpatrick at alex.fitzpatrick@time.com.

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