Pink Shirt Couple
Alyssa Eckstein and Cayden Christianson gained 25 million social media followers as The Pink Shirt Couple. Now that they’ve broken up, what will happen to their following?
Cayden (Cayda) Christianson and Alyssa Eckstein, known to their millions of YouTube followers as “The Pink Shirt Couple“, have officially broken up. The Arizona-based former couple, who amassed more than 25 million followers on social media, announced their split on Saturday. In a video, posted to their channels, the pair told their audience the news: “We did break up as a couple,” Christianson, 23, shared. “We’re still really close as friends and care very deeply about each other.”
The influencers, who met in 2021 while on the swim team in college, have seen mega success as joint content creators. They began by creating individual video content before they started dating. Then, they got in on trending challenges together, before finding their shtick – posting silly videos they wanted to be appropriate for all ages, all while wearing matching pink shirts every day. Some of their videos document the couple learning new things, like Eckstein taking a martial arts class for the first time, or the pair finding out what happens as they attempt to wax the fuzz off of peaches.
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The pink shirt gimmick didn’t hurt, either. Cindy Marie Jenkins, a social media expert and founder of OutThinkMedia, says it all started when Christianson “got a lot of compliments on his pink polo shirt” and Eckstein joined in “for fun”. They likely saw a significant bump in traffic and decided to keep doing what works. “It really matches their content and appealing nature,” she explains of the cheeky, light-hearted videos. In a video posted on 8 October 2023, the former couple addressed questions about why they wear matching outfits, and showed off their completely pink-cloaked closet. “We tried to do fashion,” Eckstein explained at the time. “A potato sack could’ve dressed better than us,” Christianson added.
Jenkins says the former couple’s success absolutely wasn’t accidental, but well-executed. “Part of their strategy arose from attending VidCon in 2022 after having micro-influencer success with Rubik’s Cube Awards and individual content,” says Jenkins. “In 2022, YouTube wanted to compete with TikTok and launched YouTube Shorts.” Jenkins says that’s when the couple switched gears to creating “specific YouTube Shorts content”. She also says that the couple, specifically Eckstein, dug into analytics and educated herself about what drives traffic, which they’ve opened up about in their videos.
It’s very hard to be a couple and business partners and ‘show’ your relationship online all the time, where you have to be positive for the camera – Cindy Marie Jenkins
The hard work paid off, and now, those followers are invested. “Pls tell me it’s a joke,” reads the top comment on Instagram. “I think it’s real,” another commenter notes, adding they suspected something when Cayden “wasn’t in any of the videos for a long time”.
Knowing their followers would have a lot to say about the split, the former couple used the breakup announcement video to explain what would happen to their joint accounts. Christianson, who shared that he wasn’t as invested as his former partner in creating content anymore, said he will be the one to step aside. “I started taking advantage of her and letting her do more work,” he said in the video, explaining he had felt uninspired by their collaboration.
Eckstein, then, will be the one to keep the PinkShirtCouple name. She tells BBC Culture that she has no bad feelings towards her ex, and is excited to keep at it. “For what’s next, I am still making content on the main channel as long as the viewers feel that it is OK,” she shared. “I have so many big ideas, and my goal to make amazing content to inspire people to be themselves still stands.” Eckstein also says that, post-breakup, she plans to lean into inspiring people to get into volunteer work. “The content is going to be similar, but different, establishing who I am as an individual,” she says.
While Christianson and Eckstein were successful as content creators during their time together, Jenkins says that the challenge they now face is not at all uncommon for paired-up influencers. “There are many couples who get big and grow their influence as a couple, especially when they’re young,” she explains. “But it’s very hard to be a couple and business partners and ‘show’ your relationship online all the time, where you have to be positive for the camera.”
Christianson will be using the name ThePinkShirtSingle for his content moving forward.
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