Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Hill, KathleenLights, and Manny Mua have achieved great successful from their YouTube careers, and this ‘rise from obscurity to pop-culture stardom is hardly unique on YouTube’ (D’Souza, 2015). However, it is uncommon. Unfortunately, many, often deserving, YouTube and Instagram personalities will never achieve this status (D’Souza, 2015).
For many, YouTube is capable of providing sustainable full-time careers. Majority of YouTubers make a lot of their money from the advertising sold on their channels, which increases with the number of subscribers (D’Souza, 2015). Billions of dollars are spent each year on advertising on YouTube, allowing creators to generate an income. However, generating a consistent revenue from YouTube, let alone securing business opportunities as Jeffree, Jaclyn, Kathleen, and Manny have, is much more challenging, and accomplished by only a very small percentage of YouTubers. This is a consequence of the number of major challenges faced when trying to make a full-time career on social media. The first challenge faced by those trying to establish a career as a full-time social media beauty guru is the extremely competitive nature of the industry. There is over 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube, of which 97% are generated by the 45,000 beauty-focused personalities on YouTube. The second challenge is getting your content noticed. The reality is that most videos on YouTube get little to no attention. The third challenged faced by YouTubers is that these content creators only ever see a small portion of what advertisers pay. Even though billions of dollars are spent each year on YouTube, YouTubers have to accumulate a substantial number of subscribers and views before they see that money. Another challenge to that pertains to achieving success on social media as a beauty influencer is the perpetuation of conventional beauty standards and status symbols. As observed by Alice Marwick (2015, p.139), ‘While Instagram makes it possible for “regular people” to attract the mass audiences historically limited to broadcast media, the Instafamous tend to be conventionally good-looking, work in “cool” industries… and emulate the tropes and symbols of traditional celebrity culture, such as glamorous self-portraits, designer goods, or luxury cars’.
Aside from the monetary challenges of sustaining a career as a full-time social media beauty influencer, many people often underestimate the time and energy devoted to achieving a successful career in the industry.
From my experience as an aspiring beauty influencer on YouTube and Instagram, the time and energy to set up, film or photograph, edit, and promote my work can be exhausting, and I only do this as a hobby.
Currently, I am not paid for my work, I do it simply because I find it enjoyable, but this means having to fit it in between a part-time job and two university degrees. From meeting others with the same aspirations, through YouTube and Instagram, this is the case for many aspiring beauty influencers.
Unfortunately, many social media beauty influencers will never reach the same status as the likes of Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Kill, KathleenLights, and Manny Mua. However, it is still a rewarding career, and hobby, for many people. If you would like to gain an insight into the life of an aspiring Social Media Beauty Influencer than read my following post, in which I have interviewed Michelle, of @allthingsbeautymichelles on Instagram, on her experiences.
All photos used are my own.
D’Souza, K 2015, ‘Move over Hollywood, this is the age of the YouTube star’, San Jose Mercury News, 13 October.
Marwick, A. E. 2015, ‘Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy’, Public Culture, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 137-160.