People Like Us: Part I
I probably have too many Youtube subscriptions.
No, I definitely have too many Youtube subscriptions.
The bar at the side of my screen is always teeming with notifications for new videos I have yet to go through, and there’s something so satisfying and dangerous about making a point to watch all of them. Needless to say, I feel like I’m a pretty experienced viewer, and the channels I follow consistently are channels I love a lot.
So because Internet-published content is timeless I dropped unto the pages of my bullet journal a plethora of my favorite Tubers’ names, and after having written them all down, I traced a pattern that fed into my interests of promoting diversity and social justice and seeing toti-representation in the world.
POC Youtubers primarily appeal to me because there’s something extra special about seeing someone who looks like you understanding the challenges of finding the right color foundation, dealing with natural hair, or the sometimes treachery of applying eyeliner on monolids. For me, it’s also about embracing my own culture and my own sense of self, and because BeautyTube is filled with non-POC youtubers, it’s nice to see someone who LOOKS LIKE ME for a change, someone who proves that a beauty guru need not be a cis, straight white woman but a woman of color, a woman who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Finding the people that make me feel at home online has, in this way, made the whole Youtube experience enlightening for me. I didn’t come to this epiphany until I actively looked at who I followed; who you subscribe to says a lot more about people than they’d think!
So here are a couple of my favorite (flourishing) guys and gals of color on YT! I collab’ed with my friend Emma on this list: Another Youtube connoisseur. We share a lot of favorites, but we have our different reasons and boy do we rave!
Jenn Im (@clothesencounters)
E: I subscribed to Jenn back in 2014, after she became an independent creator on Clothes Encounters. The first video I watched of hers was her Everyday Makeup Routine, which I loved because there’s this part where she talks about sparse hairs and uneven eyelid sizes, both of which I completely struggle with every morning. I always had so much trouble--especially freshman year of high school--working with and playing up features that weren’t there using makeup I’d JUST began experimenting with, so I could really connect to her in ways I couldn’t connect to other Youtubers. I never saw the others physically drawing in their eyebrows, like I still do myself. I never saw them struggle with short lashes; only that they wanted them to NOT look at spiders whilst I screamed at the screen: “spider lashes are better than no lashes!!!” But I quickly realized that beauty as a collective can’t be defined by lash lengths, eyebrow darkness, or even external appearances at all. That realization is all really due to Jenn’s wisdom! What keeps her really magnetic is how knowledgeable and eloquent and thoughtful she is. To put it all in one: Jenn is this gorgeous fairy punk superwoman while at the same time the best friend you can talk to anytime you’re in the mood for some coffee and loooooong talks about Socrates. Talks about anything, really, because she’s so personable when talking into the camera.
J: I’m always so happy to watch her because she spills good vibes, and I love how she connects to Korean culture: in her Colourpop line, for example, when she brings her name back. Also! Her music and fashion tastes rock.
Stephanie Villa (@soothingsista)
E: Stephanie is the older sister I only wish I had, who’d teach me how to dye my hair and dress cool and enter the dating scene. I probably wouldn’t be known as “Emma”, only as “Stephanie’s Younger Sister” (a title I’d be completely fine with), AND, because I live in the Bay Area, I already feel this connection to her. Not a sisterly one, of course: I just feel very at home on her channel, partially because a lot of the location-based videos (vlogs, palette reveals) revolve around SF and the culture built there by the city’s tight-knit communities, which I haven’t felt in the other cities I’ve lived in. Her eyeliner is always poppin’, too! I’ve learned a ton about applying makeup on Asian eyes. Oh, and her music taste is so nice. It achieves a certain ambience that I dig.
J: Agreed. I’m so in love with her style. The girl is ready to WORK: a modern-day queen. Everything she wears screams power, and I draw from almost every lookbook or OOTW she posts. I’m near-obsessed with leather ANYTHING now. AND WOW I LOVE HER AND JENN’S FRIENDSHIP THEY ARE THE CUTEST EVER. Carry on.
Cassie and Ricci (@ToThe9's)
J: Nearly all of what these girls wear is thrifted. I cannot reiterate how much I love thrifting, and how fascinated I am with used clothing or clothing people pick out from stores. It all holds a story, you know? So it’s pretty great how ToThe9’s style tons of their finds and share their collections. They’re fabulous and so fun to watch!
Chanel, Clara, and Annabelle (@ThePastels)
E: I’m all for color schemes and perfect moments of synesthesia where the music matches the mood and the color--which is why I was so particularly intrigued by the Pastels’ videos on color theory. They’re always serving up color based looks, whether subtle, bold, for the night, daytime; and versatility is always something I look for when I adopt makeup ideas. And this gorgeous trio has within it the best personalities! There’s a dimension to their channel that I can appreciate.
J: Also, as a black woman, it’s so hard for me to find do-able looks that will work with my skin and hair. Annabelle is super helpful and so beautiful! A true queen.
J: Okay, so I take French. Watching Camille is great practice! But seriously, her style is lovely and fairly minimalistic, which I think adds a casual elegance to her outfits. There’s also this whole natural vibe to all her videos that make them sort of meditative and soothing. In other words, the aesthetic is really simple. A+!!
E: Also, I’m in love with her full utilization of Doc Martens and of Zara’s store stock. And her vlogs are so fun. Oh my god I sound like a mom but they are so cool to watch.