That was a nice answer. I almost want to dab at my eye. Okay, how did you get into makeup?
Like I said, I have a background in art. I’ve always loved art — literally, as far back as I can remember. As soon as I could hold things in my hand I was drawing and painting and doing crafts and putting things together, and so when it came to college, I decided to go into design. We did a lot of painting, a lot of drawing, a lot of things with colors. And so I’ve always just been passionate about art. When I started getting into the working field and went on internships, you kind of have to wear makeup because you’re supposed to be professional, and also for me I look quite young, and so I wanted people to take me a little more seriously depending on the situation, depending on what kind of position I was in. So I started wearing makeup on a regular basis basically when I started an internship in college, and I just kind of discovered this whole world that I never really put too much weight into before and it was so fun and so beautiful. It makes me feel confident, and it’s just another form of expression, and I found it really enjoyable and so I kind of taught myself how to put on makeup because there weren’t really any tutorials for Asians. And having an artist background and understanding light and shadow was really the basis for how I started my makeup journey. And then I also love technology and computers and vlogging so when I created my site, it was more just like, well I don’t have any PR connections, I’m not that cool, I don’t know anybody, I’m not networked, I’m from Kansas, but I can go to the store and buy this $4 hair conditioner and tell people if I like it or not, and so I just started doing that and it just kind of grew, and I think people connected with it because, you know, here was somebody who could show them how to put on makeup in a simple way and something that is not too over their heads, and so that’s what is kind of important to me is just being able to help people on almost a one-on-one basis but not actually have to sit right in front of them, you know? Just being able to reach out to people and show them what they can use every single day, I think that’s really helpful.
How much motion or publicity did you have to do to grow your channel?
I literally did none. It actually grew extremely organically. I always just tried to work hard making good content and I — you know, as I said I’m from Kansas, I didn’t have any network connections, I didn’t have any know how. I am really somebody who learned as I went along. One of my things in life that I say is: hit the ground running even if you don’t know how to do something. If you’re at least getting there, you’ll figure it out if you have faith in yourself to just run in the first place and trip when you fall and get up again. I’m not like you cool L.A. people who all know each other and do lots of videos together. I just kind of did my own thing.
Now do you do a lot of collaborations now, or are you still mostly by yourself?
I’ve been really blessed to have made some really amazing friends out here. I mean one of the first projects I even came out to L.A. for in the first place was doing a six-episode web series with Wong Fu Productions, and that was just acting. I was actually the lead actress in this sort of like romantic comedy-ish web series, and that was a lot of fun, and that was kind of my first taste at doing something like a collaboration, and I think that is so amazing just because it’s fun to do but it’s also amazing exposure. I couldn’t have asked for cooler people to work with, or they actually reached out to me, and as I said I’m not that cool — I don’t know how to reach out to really cool people like that, but I think that those things are invaluable. Collaborations are where it’s at if you want to really get deep roots in YouTube. So important.
How did you get into YouTube then? Was it makeup first, then YouTube, or YouTube then makeup?
I actually started blogging. I’ve been blogging for about five and a half years, and like I said it just started with buying things from the drugstore and reviewing it, just because I thought maybe other people might want to hear what real people think about it before they went and bought something. So I was doing that for not quite a year, and I saw a couple of tutorials on YouTube — there weren’t very many gurus; actually gurus didn’t exist. I knew maybe three girls who did makeup on YouTube, and I was like, well I have this blogging platform where I take pictures and I have to write out descriptions and take pictures of every single step while I’m doing the tutorial — wouldn’t it be so much easier if I could just show people? And so that’s how kind of mine started, and so that kind of capitulated into several videos and spending way more time recording and editing because I did not know that YouTube took so much more time, so much time, to record and edit and put everything together and upgrade quality constantly and really be on top of it and have consistent schedule on it, so it was kind of I fell into this monster and didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I think it worked out.
I would say. So now that you’re in the midst of this monster, let’s say, how do you grow from here? Do you just keep doing what you’re doing or will you be expanding your channel at all?
I think everybody who is on YouTube or has any social media platform that they really work behind, it’s always important to try and grow your channel, but honestly for me, my motivation is a little more grassroots and emotional and heartfelt. I really just want to help people so I just try to work hard and do what I can to connect with people, as many people as I can, in a really personal way so I try not to make it a numbers game or anything like that. I know it’s really difficult because it’s like all the numbers are out there, but I do a lot of cross-promotion with my own channels, I’ll use Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, I post whenever I do Manicure Monday I’ll post it on my Facebook and sometimes on my Instagram I’ll take pictures of my nails. It’s really important to be connected and consistent and have good quality, so I generally have plans to grow but a lot of it is just kind of a blessing. You can’t say, “Oh I built this empire,” because it’s really up to people coming and watching your videos, choosing to click on that link and choosing to hit “Subscribe.” It’s not under my control, so I’m just thankful whenever I get a subscriber instead of thinking about how I can get all the subscribers.