How Jess Greenberg Changed Her Look To Become A YouTube Star
Images via YouTube

I was married in a previous life.

My ex-wife had a tween daughter when we met and over the 4 years we were together I watched her daughter grow from wearing awkward hoodies to very tiny tank tops. As grade 10 hit, her wardrobe changed overnight. Zippers didn’t go to her kneck anymore, they stopped halfway up.

It’s an interesting growth in self-awareness to watch in teen girls as first they become embarrassed by their body changes and then seem to become empowered? I don’t know if that’s the right word.

Jess Greenberg is a YouTube star from London. She’s got a great voice and puts out powerful, interesting, and unique covers of popular songs on her acoustic guitar.

Jess has been YouTubing for a long time. She started when she was in her mid teens

Jess is now 18, and over the past couple of months, her look has changed a little bit.

Her talent hasn’t changed, Jess still can play and sing with skill.. but.. tanktops? Push up bras? Well, wouldn’t you know it, while Jess’ early videos which brought in 280 000 views her new look has click throughs measuring in the multi-millions.

Is it smart? Is it slut-shaming to bring it up? Is it just what happens when kids grow up? I had a peek at this sort of transformation with my ex-wife’s daughter. It was not something I’d want to go through from start to finish and I’m glad to be the dad of 2 boys.

FWIW, Jess Greenberg‘s Highway to Hell video has more than 5M views as of this posting. That would be about $10k in Adsense revenue from one video, that is if she gets to keep all the money by performing the works of other artists.

I’d love to hear the opinion of fathers of daughters? How do you teach your girls self-respect? Do you have a problem with Jess’ videos?

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23 Comments

  1. Kip Hakes September 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    As a father of a girl – I would probably cringe.. BUT. If I look at 16 year old me compared to 18 year old me, there’s a fair bit of difference. Alright, I’m not wearing a strappy top and push up bra, but you know, she’s probably aware more of how she looks and the nerdy 16 year old version of herself is in the past. Good on her for being talented!

  2. nicolthepickle October 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I think this is sad. I would not want my daughters to do this and I would do my best to teach them that modesty is a good idea.

  3. Drew October 6, 2013 at 9:47 am

    “Is it slut-shaming to bring it up?” Well yes, when you post the link to the image just before it, it sort of is.

  4. Katie November 21, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Interesting that Kip thinks she looks “nerdy” at 16. I think she looks perfectly normal. This illustrates the types of views that men thrust upon women. It’s kind of a “police create hippies/hippies create police” dilemma.

  5. AwwwwYeeee November 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I dunno, I thought she looked better at 16. Maybe it’s because she was 16.

  6. Al Friedberg March 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I would be more concerned if she sucked, but she doesn’t. Solid player and singer who seems to be very comfortable with her sexuality. I am a father of a grown independent daughter and a professional musician. Wearing the outfits she chooses no doubt ads to her YouTube hits, but she has talent. And she knows she’s totally hot. I don’t see a problem here.

  7. KR March 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Not just tanktops and pushups, but lots of makeup and a tan to go with it.
    This is how it starts, ladies and gentlemen…can anyone say Miley Cyrus?
    First time I saw the Highway to Hell video I thought to myself “No way that chick is really singing that- she’s lipsyching.” The earlier video looks totally authentic to me, not just because of the clothing and lack of beauty products, but because of the simple setup of the video itself.

    Sure sign that if she wants to be taken seriously she should get back to her roots. All I could see on the new video was the ‘jiggle’. Sad.

  8. Jessie Pinkman May 29, 2014 at 6:14 am

    She actually went to my school until last year or the year before. She didn’t get slut-shamed to my knowledge, but she was universally known as ‘Jess with the boobs’. It was just a bit startling to bump into her in the hallway and be like ah. Faceful of boob. Just what I needed on a Monday morning. (I hasten to add this is at an all-girls school.)

  9. Martin the Viking June 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Well, she really is a dime a dozen singer and guitarist. Really. Go to your lokal church choir or youtube, and you’ll find girls with a more interesting voice than hers.

    She IS gorgeous, though, and while I personally prefer her natural “un-made-up” self, she obviously got our attention.

    I’ve only known of her for 14 minutes (youtube accident), and the only reason why I googled her was her striking tits (at least I’m not hiding behind the “soccer-dad-needs-to-justify-his-youtube-history-by-blowing-dust-off-the-ancient-‘fellow dads, should we lock up our daughters?’ ” personae)

    This discussion is more about male sexuality than anything else. There are thousands of talented girls singing covers on youtube. The fact that a few of those thousands eventually decide to put on a tanktop to boost their hit rate has more to do with statistics or nature’s gravity than a sloppy personal moral.

    A lot of men seem to forget that woman have a sexuality too. We don’t make a fuss when our sons take off their shirts and leave the house with a bare torso on a hot summers day, even though it might make the neighbour Missus all hot and blushy. I don’t know why Jess’ tank tops should be more morally debateable than Iggy Pop’s dripping torso.

  10. LARRY STANG July 4, 2014 at 1:29 am

    I’m a professional singer-guitarist-entertainer in Miami, Florida. I have an eye for extraordinary talent and have always picked superstars before they made it big. Everyone should mark these words : this girl has a rare, pure, charasmatic talent, and will become a MAJOR superstar, —-and, very soon! She reminds me a lot of the gorgeous and talented superstar singer-guitarist Carly Simon, who had so many great hits. Check her out on YouTube, and you will probably draw the same comparison.

  11. Aussie41 July 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Is it equal rights when people are telling others what they can or cannot wear?

    Like racists like Sergio Redegalli Glass Artist in Newtown NSW wanting to ban the Burka because they claim women are forced to wear it, but wanting to ban it aren’t you in fact forcing women not to wear it?

  12. Beth July 16, 2014 at 12:12 am

    As a 19-year-old girl musician, I have to say I find it downright depressing that females in our society are only noticed for the way they look, and not for who they are as people. Clearly Jess is talented – her videos had plenty of views prior to her amping up her image. But that’s just it – why do young women today feel like they have to look like supermodels in order to succeed? Even when they are just as smart and talented as men, they are held to ridiculous standards. We expect them to look perfect all the time. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the ideology that we subscribe to, which holds that women are objects to please men. It’s pretty disgusting, really. I challenge humans to dig a little deeper and pay more attention to female musicians for their actual talent and not for their appearance. There’s a reason why many female celebrities can’t sing for beans – they gained their fame because of how they look. It’s not their fault – they’re just playing the game. Because that’s how females really succeed in our society. Of course there are plenty of crazy-talented female musicians, and these are the ones I look up to. But I find it sad that they are shunned to the sidelines while skanky stars with no real musicianship take the spotlight. We, the consumers, are the only ones who can change this.

  13. Jay Fletcher July 29, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I have a 12 year old daughter (well, is 2 months she is 12) and a 22 year old son, and I am also a professional musician. I have been playing music as a job – studio player, studio owner, sideman, singer, guitarist, songwriter etc ad nauseum – since I was 21. I am now 55. I have not “done it all” but damn near. I have played the blues bars for pizza and tips, and lead a live TV show band nightly. Cool, got my creds out of the way.

    Creds? Yep. I am someone who can speak from experience about having kids. I can also speak from experience about the music biz. This girl is stunning, no doubt. (And I am a man, so I can also speak from experience about this…lol) Her guitar playing – from what I have seen in i guess the 7 or 8 vids I watched – is ok, but not incredible. Her voice is good, but I dont hear her own “voice” yet. This should not come off as being negative, just at the moment IMHO – her main asset is her looks. She cant help that she has that face, that body, that sex appeal, but she can decide how to use it. And coupled with her (as yet) average talent, she is possibly making a smart move. She is getting noticed. And, yes, any press is good press, even if it is bad press. Bad press is much better than no press.

    If she has a loving family behind her, or some good friends, or just plain anyone who is genuinely on her side, she is on a good path, if her plan is to make it in show biz. She needs to write her own songs, or get someone to write for her (p.s. Jess……. I write) but covers on youtube will only be a passing moment in time. If she comes out soon with a bunch of good original stuff, well, she is in a great place. If she just shows the cleavage to Hendrix songs (but, I must add, GREAT choice of material) or w/e, she will have a great career as a bar singer. And that is NOT a great career.

    So, Jess, get some good original stuff, get some good musicians to back you up – they will be easy for you to find – and get crackin girl.

    If this was my daughter (yes, I will get back to the REAL topic) I would be writing her songs. The look, the cleavage, the comments about “hey babe, want my d**k?” that appear in her youtube vids, well, as a dad, yep, I would have my problems. But if she is using this as a means to an end, more power to her. Sex sells, and you have to sell to make it. But this biz can chew you up and spit you out faster than you can say “TITS” and that is a reality.

    I think it comes down to who she has behind her, as well as what they know. She is getting talked about and viewed worldwide. Many people are convinced she is a great singer. And she aint bad. Not everyone is falling into the crevice… If she gets some singing coaching (sorry, she is good but there is room for more) and a good guitar teacher, she can hone those skills, cause she really does have talent. What she is missing RIGHT NOW, is originality.

    As a man, wow, she looks great. As a dad, uhhh, baby, do you really have to???? As a musician, Jess, keep it up, and work HARD, ALWAYS try to improve, further yourself as a musician. DONT just figure “I got it, the world owes me”.

    Parents, you got to let your kids grow and go. It is our job, from the moment they are born, to teach then to leave us. That aint easy, and is often painful. And if your child want to get into music, acting, modeling and the such, be ready for a lot of challenges as a parent. (I see what I put my parents through. But they were supportive) They have to make their own mistakes and fight their own battles. But if we are there for them, and if we did a halfway decent job of making sure they know we love them, and they can count on us, they probably will come around when the going gets tough.

    We cant really ask for more.

  14. lalo July 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Don’t be naive. Her fame is due to her beauty and the sexy way she sings and plays the guitar. That’s all

  15. Jake August 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I stumbled upon her cover of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s ‘pride and joy’ and was thoroughly awed. I play guitar and would love to play like her. I didn’t click the link because of the tank top. I really wanted to see that video.

    Personally, if she is taking advantage of her looks to get hits (and possibly money off of youtube) than do it. That wouldn’t be a new occurance in the media world. Its us (viewers) who are the dopes for allowing good looks to be what determines who gets paid in te media world. This girl is smart because she knows what is going to get views/subscriptions. And she’s using that. She’s going to get some raunchy comments and slut shaming but above all of it, she’s talented and someone is going to see that in a world where you generally have to be beautiful first.

    Cut throat industry.

  16. Steve odell December 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Speaking as a father who has raised a daughter;(without a mother)..You do all that you can to instill curiosity in deeper subjects that you feel will benefit your daughter later in life, but, there are factors that are beyond your control. The teenage years bring out behaviors that one could never have seen coming. These changes are likely to drive a wedge between you and your daughter, but alas independence is the ultimate goal that you want for your daughter, so you try to work around it, trusting that your lessons will someday rise to the top. The outside world plays a big role in what your daughter ultimately becomes. This is a circumstance beyond your control.In the end, you trust in the fates, realizing that her life will continue evolving. My daughter married a guy that works hard to provide and loves her enough to entwine his life with hers. Again I trust in the fate that my lessons will rise to the top. Life is like that.

  17. fred blowey December 12, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Well, let’s face it, Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, etc, all use their body image to help boost their revenue. Yes they are all talented. I think Jess is being competitive at all costs.

  18. Jimi December 20, 2014 at 4:14 am

    It searched Google and YouTube for Jess’ original songs. It would be cool to hear. It can’t think of any pop stars today that can play that well and sing lead-if they can play-baring the Jack Johnson types. She rarely looks at the frets while playing which a good indicator on her skills. Her voice seems as good as most pop stars. As was mentioned-hopefully someone will hook her up if she has trouble writing original material and crush it.

    Sex sells- especially in that biz woman or man- oh well. That shouldn’t hold her back especially if she uses it right- it worked with Crow and Jewel.

    She taught me a few songs. Now I can “be up all night” and play funky. So thanks Jess- I will probably buy your album if there is one and use it with other great guitarists albums to teach my daughter how to play some songs.

  19. kelly April 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Well reading all tge coments I have 2 daughters of my own 11 and 15. They are both very good singers but are intimitated by superstars. I think Jess is a very good role model for girls to gain self awarness of their own bodies and not be ashamed if they do or dont look like Jess. Has anybody stoped for a moment to think about how Jess feels about herself. It is shows that she has so much self confidance to do what she is doing If people judge her because of what she wares then they are ignorant to the fact she has a right to do whatever makes her happy and proud of herself. I think if this helps her obtain the career she wants then good for her. I do agree if she had the right coach and mentor she would sore as an artist I wish her all the best in her search for happiness and I would be proud of her if she was my daughter for using all of her God given gifts of Talent and Beauty to live a full life. Do all you people that have negative remarks have the same opinion of Dolly Parton Thou Shalt Not Judge. Just enjoy the music and the joy it brings to Jess herself

  20. Stephan B. Feibish May 25, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Lately, I’ve started the day listening to Highway to Hell by Jess Greenberg. I just put in on and walk away to perform early morning chores. She is listened to because she has talent.
    (She knows how to yell 🙂

  21. Pingback: Jess Greenberg – “Rock and Roll” – Idol Features

  22. musicman December 30, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Would hate hate HATE this if my daughter dressed like that. I have raised two. One is now adult, and my step daugher is 14 so she is entering this critical zone in her life. Neither was (or is) ever allowed to dress anywhere near like that.

    Now, as far as Greenberg goes, sadly, this is what the music biz is, and she figured out what she has to do in order to make it.

    I can’t say I fault her. If she really wants to make it, she probably has to do this. The music business is total crap now. Records are sold based on looks and hype. If she makes it big, she will be able to gradually change her image if she really knuckles down and insists upon it. It won’t be easy. The sleazebag record companies will be dead set against it. But as long as she builds a following who will listen to her and not just ogle her, she will be able to get rid of this image.

  23. Arnieus August 31, 2018 at 8:20 am

    She may get critisized but not by me. It is just branding. Her new look is why we even know about her. It is show business after all.