You might have seen me mention it in a few of my earlier posts, but one of my assessments this term at Uni has been to pitch, interview for, and write a feature on anything of our choice (fashion related, of course, I am a Fashion Journalism student). It didn’t take me long to figure out what and who I wanted to write about. After starting Uni I’d gotten into the habit of turning to watching beauty tutorials, hauls, vlogs etc, whenever I was stressed (procrastinating), free (procrastinating) or bored (procrastinating) and found a number of channels belonging to talented young girls under 17.
I am not one to judge, I’m one to encourage people to do what they want to do – if anything, there was just jealousy that these girls were better at doing their makeup than I am now, nevermind when I was 14. I could see the controversial side though, seeing how people would wonder if it was affecting their education, if it’s a safety risk and how they were affording the products.
Anyway, what better way to find out than to ask them directly? And this assessment was the perfect opportunity. I had to pleasure of interviewing Aylish, Elouise, Nicole and Sophia for this project, and I’d like to thank them yet again for agreeing to help. It was a pleasure.
The feature can be found below the cut.
YouTube’s Young Protégés
‘Vlogging’ is a word that has become unknown too few in the past few years, beauty vlogging itself has evolved into an industry of its own. We’ve seen YouTubers such as Zoe Sugg (Zoella), Tanya Burr and Fleur De Force rise into internet icons, turning their hobby into a business, landing big brand sponsorships, cosmetic lines, and book deals. They’ve also influenced hundreds to start how they did, including teenagers as young as 13.
I interviewed four girls between the ages of 15 and 17, the four of them showing outstanding confidence in front of a camera, speaking to thousands on the internet. Nowadays, their age isn’t viewed as ‘young’ anymore, however with some of these girls as young at 13 at the start of their career, is it not controversial having children, girls especially, broadcasting their lives to strangers on the internet?
For Eloise, who is currently 16, her interest in vlogging became apparent much younger than 13, telling me she started filming her holiday when she was 10 but only became aware of the YouTube trend in 2012, following in her brother’s footsteps who started his channel first. She saves up the money she earns to pay for her camera equipment and products, gaining her editing skills through basic practice; “I literally just started out messing about with different effects on iMovie. I used to edit videos but then rewind them to create a cool effect”.
For 15-year-old Sophia, her channel was started weeks before her 13th birthday and has rapidly grown since, and unsurprisingly with the maturity she shows at such a young age. Sticking strictly to both her study and upload schedules. “School work comes first for me which viewers know,” She says, stating that as much as she would love too, she doesn’t believe YouTube is a long-term job, and would much rather study to work in the media industry instead. She earns money from ad revenue on her channel and chores to afford the more expensive products she uses, but despite being so young, works with brands and receives a lot of the products she uses to for free in exchange for a review.
Also 15, Ailish, a Scottish beauty blogger, has a slightly more unique backstory as to how she started her channel; “I watched one Youtube, “Momoscafe”, who was a craft channel and it really inspired me to start making charms”. At first, her channel was just focused on her charms before she branched out into makeup, gaining a large following and recently hitting a new milestone of 25,000 subscribers. She’s confident in her skills, earning money for products from doing people’s make-up, and even film, editing and producing a showreel for her dance teacher and is debating becoming a freelance make-up artist or something in the film industry after school. Like Sophia, she puts her education first, currently studying for her GCSE’s and admits that she doesn’t upload as much due to it being more work than she anticipated, but prides her subscribers on being patient.
The eldest of the girls, Nicole, is 17, but started her channel three years ago after filming and uploading her first video on her IPad despite the lighting being “absolutely awful”. Through practicing herself and watching tutorials, editing has become 2nd knowledge to her now. She describes herself as having a ‘’bit of an addiction to makeup, oops” and spends most of her pocket money on it but is more interested in studying Psychology at University this year, finding it difficult but still managing to fit filming and editing into her A-Level revision schedule.
The four of them aren’t particularly concerned about showing so much of their private life to the internet, and neither are their parents. Sophia explained that there was concern from her parents at first, due to starting the channel at age 12, however they became more confident as they saw both Sophia and her channel grow. Their family haven’t just stayed behind the camera either, appearing in the girls’ vlogs, enjoying just as much. Ailish spoke about how her parents travel to England with her so she can meet her online friends, and celebrated alongside her when she hit subscriber milestones.
It’s easy to see why anyone, especially parents would be concerned about their children posting videos on the internet, however these girls are smart enough to know the best way to deal with the hate is to ignore it and move on. Eloise mentioned people at her old school, before she became home-schooled would laugh at and imitate her, until she started a new channel and they stopped, but stated she thinks the more you do something, the less she cares what others thing. Nicole also explained she doesn’t get much hate, but gets the occasional question asking about why she’s wheelchair bound. “Therefore, I usually reply by explaining my situation without going into too much detail and the responses tend to be really positive which I’m thankful for”.
Despite the girls all having different goals and interests, there’s one thing they all share; their love for their followers. They describe it as a community, where people grow with each other and where there’s little judgement and enough support to go around. Just from watching their videos, the confidence I see in these girls is outstanding, and it’s something refreshing that should be seen in more teenage girls their age, and if doing something they love is the way to do that, then what’s the harm?
Find their channels on YouTube:
Eloise – Florale
Sophia – Floral Sophia
Nicole – Beauticole
Ailish – Itsailish