Interview With Jackie Aina
This year it will be 8 long but incredible years
Like unreal. I felt like it was something I truly would never achieve and when I did I was still in shock!
In a lot of ways absolutely. Brands seem to just look at a number, not just your engagement or relationship with viewers. Which I believe in a lot of ways hurts creators who may not have the biggest numbers but are still influential and really killing it.
I think the industry is different for anyone of dark skin. Including Asian and Latinx women. Colorism plays a bigger role in how people grow because there are a lot of racially ambiguous content creators who appeal to many different cultures which honestly I do think is quite cool. I get a lot of comments like “I’m white, but I love your videos!” LOL I know in THEIR head it’s a compliment, but I’m like what do you mean but? Do black women leave comments like this on Wayne Goss’ channel? I doubt it. On and off youtube I think people just have a hard time associating themselves with someone who looks different than them. Just because we don’t wear the same foundation shade it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their content. It’s just every single beauty tip may not apply to yo
Of course tweets are always going to be interpreted multiple different ways and that’s ok, but if you know me then you know what I advocate for. I think what people don’t realize is those tweets were not just about me. I repeat: the things I tweet do NOT always apply to just me. I don’t just speak for myself when I say it’s STILL difficult for a lot of vloggers of color to break through, and this is still absolutely true. I hate going to brand trips and often being the only black girl there. I hate that I sometimes get opportunities where I feel like they’re just meeting a quota, instead of wanting to actually work with me for what I offer as a vlogger. I hate that content that in my eyes may seem basic (and I get that there’s something for everyone) but I have to create a video that’s like 10 times more witty and creative to get a third of the viewership they would. We can’t act like in most industries black women [don’t] have to work three times harder. The same applies to youtube. And sometimes it’s exhausting as hell to do 3 times more of the work to get a fraction of the reward. Remember I got my milli, but it took 7 years; some of my counterparts did that in half the time. People also don’t realize that getting to a million subscribers is not the end be all, and it does not stop there. Most also don’t realize how hard it took to get there. Why shouldn’t I aspire to do more than that!? How often do we see women who look like me get brand collaborations and bigger ambassadorship opportunities, aside from just cool brand deals? It’s almost as if people are saying “you got your million now, so be happy”, when it’s not even wired in my DNA to just stop there. Getting to that milestone, while amazing, was supposed to help propel many more opportunities and collaborations on top of that. I’m not really sure why aspiring to do more is sometimes seen as a negative or ungratefulness in our community when there are white vloggers who get opportunities literally handed to them sometimes with not even a fraction of the amount of work as their counterparts. We can’t advocate for more black visibility in the beauty community and then when they get there turn around and be like oh well you can’t complain now cause you made it. I still have work to do, and so do my peers.
I think there’s a lot of stuff I do that people just may not notice. I’m constantly helping contribute, post and share new and up and coming talent via twitter and/or snapchat. I support by watching and being a viewer/regular commenter too. I support black owned businesses. I’m also sometimes a silent supporter. I’ll randomly come across someones Go Fund Me if they have one and contribute to their small business, or school, whatever the cause is. I truly do help where and when I can. I can’t do everything, but at least I make the effort. I haven’t officially announced this but I’ve also been in the works of “sponsoring” 4-5 up and coming AMAZING channels that have been on my radar for a while. I won’t get into too much detail into what I’ll be doing with them yet, but the idea came from my annual Black History Month initiative. This year I wanted to do more than just the usual makeup tutorials, and instead do something to get smaller, but super amazing creators involved.
It’s the next level opportunities like brand collaborations, ambassadorships, and visibility in ad campaigns. (PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong) But have we seen a natural girl get a product collab yet? If we haven’t why not? And like I mentioned earlier, I don’t like going on trips and sometimes being the only black girl there. Also I think what really irks me is in the beauty community if you’re edgy, controversial, and/or curse like a sailor you’re cool, “outspoken” and likable. But a black person would be unprofessional and ghetto if they portrayed their brand that way. I’m really just over the double standards and rewarding mediocrity in the beauty world. Sorry if that sounds messed up, but it is what it is.
I actually say no more than I do yes to the offers I get. Integrity means everything to me and no amount of money is worth compromising the trust I have with my viewers. It really is everything to me and as a consumer and viewer myself it’s what I would expect from a vlogger too.
I go to trips and events with some of the same circles and of course you’re not always going to like and/or befriend everyone there. But for the most part I always know how to have a good time regardless. Sometimes I’m literally in my own little world. It’s not everyday a woman who looks like me gets to where I get so I’ll be damned if I let someone else ruin a good time for me. I mind my business and have a good time, I wish more people these days would do the same do the beauty community can go back to being fun instead of this YAS DRAG HA mess it turned into the past few years.
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. And going back to what I said earlier – integrity means so much more to me. And also I think there’s a way to go about talking about stuff like that. That incident happened almost a year ago, so clearly I’m not mad, nor was it done in a way to blast them (because trust me, that’s not even real tea…). But I do think consumers should know the truth about stuff like that. It also shows that hey, this is the exception to the norm, and our opinions as vloggers are not always swayed by free products, despite what people may assume. Funny enough they recently reached out to me and kind of apologized about that. I think most brands are used to being tip-toed around.
You have to be different and you have to be yourself. People can see right through it when you’re trying to be something you’re not. And don’t create content you don’t genuinely enjoy. Also being consistent will keep viewers glued to you! Even for top creators I watch when they start going on their hiatuses I mentally tune out and start finding other people to regularly watch. So keep the original fun content coming and remember, yes everything on youtube has pretty much already been done but it’s how YOU do it that will attract people and keep them coming back.
HELL YES!!! We are magic, always have been and always will be. But unfortunately we just have to be ready to roll up our sleeves and work harder. I truly just want the playing field to be even. It may never be that way, but a girl can dream!!
Thanks for reaching out, I love you on the gram (HERE) and you’re always adding some fierceness to my timeline!!
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Well Hello! My name is Lisa and you’ve stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I’m a lipstick-loving, high heel junkie, mom, and wife. When I’m not here bringing you the latest in beauty, fashion, hot topics, and bits and pieces of my life with my family, you can find me over on youtube swatching lipsticks and sharing my latest natural hairstyles. Make sure you also follow me on Instagram and Snapchat under my brand name Lisa A La Mode. I’m a real person. I promise.