With 1.76 million YouTube subscribers, over 335,000 Facebook followers, 667,000 Instagram followers and an astounding 2.1 million TikTok followers, Vinny Thomas – who goes by Mr. Thomas English on social media – is entertaining, funny and just a pure joy to watch. His videos are literal child-like glee.
“Just because [I’m] an adult doesn't mean I'm any more or less deserving. And it's also that kind of viewpoint of as adults, you can't necessarily have things that bring you that much joy. Adulthood is not the best. It's quite bleak at times.
“The more I do this and the bigger I've grown with it, the more I realize that the only people that really care about what you're doing is yourself. You can go into a place dressed in a Disney costume and you may get a look here or there, but the bulk of the time everyone's just more concerned about what they're doing.”
Vinny is a Disney influencer – specializing in blind box openings, going to McDonald’s to
purchase Happy Meal toys (sometimes in the aforementioned costumes) and other Disney-related content. Being from Britain, he also includes comparison content of different scenarios between the British and Americans. This content has not only gotten the attention of followers, but of some big name brands as well.
“The first PR I ever got was for the Lightyear movie that came out last summer. Mattel sent me this whole kind of interactive box where I had different compartments with different toys in there for the movie and had the whole design of it. I still have it.
“That has so much sentiment value to me. I grew up with the Toy Story movies. I love Buzz Light Year, and that was my first ever big bulky PR. If [I’m] sent stuff by a company, especially if it's Disney, Mattel, any of these big brands, I try my best to just share how I actually feel.
“I feel like there's an influencer route where you can be like, look what I got sent, but instead [I'll say], you'll never guess what. I look back at where I was five years ago and if anyone would've told me these big companies are going to send you this unique package that doesn't go to anyone and everyone completely for free, no strings attached, I would be absolutely buzzing beyond belief. I still connect with that and I think that's what makes it accessible to people. This is an actual person, this is how I would react if I got something like this delivered on my doorstep as opposed to feeling like they're being sold a product necessarily.”
Vinny is extremely down to Earth – and humble. This is one of the many reasons why I think he is so successful.
“I think I've become successful because I feel like it's a combination of things. I think there are aspects to me being a teacher that really helped me set my own standards and my own guidelines with what I do and don't post. It's very much I operate my social media. I used to operate my classroom where if you have one student that's causing a scene and you stop the lesson to focus on that negative, it's going to bring the whole morale down. And that's very much what I do in my social media. I'm focusing purely on the positive. I have strict guidelines of myself where if I'm having a bad day, I just won't film. I refuse to fake it and put on the, oh, I'm really happy when I just want to crawl into my bed and just do nothing today.
“There's only room for growth and improvement. I want to grow alongside my audience. And that's why when I stepped away from teaching, I [didn't] want to just continue to make teacher content because I knew that worked in the past, but I want this to be present. I think it's that level of authenticity.”
Vinny started out as a English teacher, with the related classroom content.
“I'm a social media addict. I remember back in the MySpace days [wanting to] have the best MySpace profile. And then when YouTube came out, when I was in high school, I used to post videos of me singing -- and I can't sing. I'm very much tone deaf. I remember just being obsessed with it from such a young age and [thinking] wow, the thought that you can make a video and post it online and people can see you, that's just so interesting to me. For the longest time it was not the most popular thing to do, and there was a lot of why would you do that? And a lot of bullying and stuff that went alongside [it].
“But it was always something that I very much kept in the back of me as a hobby, as something that I enjoyed to do. It was just this kind of back and forth of do I want to do this on a public scale? Especially once I went into teaching, I [thought] I can't do this because you can't be a teacher and a YouTuber at the same time. There's no way, especially being from England, it's a lot more strict over there. So I [thought] do I want to be a teacher or do I want to try and do YouTube -- YouTube doesn't pay me and teaching does and have a paycheck? So yeah, I did that -- continuously made videos, sent them to my friends [and] family, and we would always laugh about it and everyone would be like, oh my gosh, one day you are going to be like a vlogger.
“You're going to be someone we can tell. And then the pandemic here, I would send videos to my English department. I was still an English teacher and my head of department [said], why don't we just all post these publicly? All of the students are off school, they're all remote, but they're always on TikTok. This could be a good way to engage with them. Just post your videos publicly. So I did, and luckily my principal was really chill and [loved it]. This is amazing. And then it just kind of spiraled from there. I had one random idea one day of being like, let me do an England versus America alphabet where I compare different words with the same letter, like aubergine versus eggplant and all things like that. And then it was the second video in the series got 200,000 views and at that point a thousand views was high for me. So I thought, wow, this is pretty weird. And then it just kind of catapulted from there. I just continued to make videos. I did videos on teaching England versus America differences. Then I slowly forayed into Disney and then from there I just went into lifestyle.”
As for what’s ahead for Vinny and his content?
“Continuing to make content that brings me joy. Especially over the last year I was on a comedy tour all around the US I think between 80 to a hundred shows. And I just got to a point where I just want to be at home and being able to focus on making my content because I'm very much my baby. And when I'm away and I have to adjust things and not do what I want to do when I want to do it, it makes me sad. I want to continue doing that. I just hope to continue to grow my audience. I'm excited about Halloween. I definitely want to integrate more lifestyle things and at some point I may try and put together my own comedy show, but that's like down the line. I want to relax a little bit first.”
You can find Vinny at: