She sparked the biggest debate on YouTube this year so far, now Sprinkle Of Glitter talks to TenEighty about rejecting conventional beauty formats, being managed by Gleam and balancing family life.
“I used to work in an office – and hated it,” admits Louise Pentland as we sit in a quaint Northampton café. “It was the worst office job ever. I spent a lot of time thinking about YouTube and probably wasting company time… Sorry to my old boss!”
Louise explains that initially she made her YouTube videos on the sly. “I didn’t really tell my friends because they’d just say: ‘Ooh, another one of Louise’s wacky ideas’. But when I got pregnant I decided to quit my job, and by then my channel was making enough to support me, so I never went back.”
While juggling full-time mum duties, Louise has built her Sprinkle Of Glitter empire, which includes her blog and YouTube channel, as well as a day-to-day vlogging channel appropriately named Sprinkle Of Chatter. Despite her huge online following, her internet activities remain largely a mystery to her friends.
“Even now, I don’t mention it unless they bring it up”, she admits. “It’s so hard to explain. I have such a big group of friends within YouTube that I don’t feel like I need to share it with my home friends.”
We take a minute to appreciate the Michael Buble playing in the café before Louise talks about beauty vlogging. “I’m not a make-up artist. I don’t do tutorials – and there’s only so much you can talk about when reviewing stuff, so I do less of that,” she says. “There’s a lot of technique critique too. I think as long as you’ve got a product on to your skin, it’s fine. But for some people it’s not, because that’s not how the artists do it.”
Louise’s Sprinkle Of Glitter channel is signed to the Style Haul network, but she’s keen to point out her focus is more on lifestyle and beauty from within. “I’ve done a few tutorials for brands and was awful at them”, she admits. “I like doing hauls and chats, I think I’m better at those and they’re better for my audience. I did a beauty tutorial called How To Look Average, which was OK, because I didn’t have to achieve too much!”
“The Kylie Minogue experience was an awful day. She saw my snot!”
It’s easy to see why viewers are drawn to Louise’s down-to-earth nature in her videos. Tales of publicly pooing herself and having a breakdown in front of Kylie Minogue have been documented on YouTube for the world to see. They’re humorous experiences – but not fond memories for Louise: “The Kylie experience was just an awful day. She saw my snot. She saw it. My snot!
“Everyone has had a day like my ‘Kylie day’ but they may not have talked about it. As soon as I open up and talk about it, people can relate. Kylie tweeted me the next day asking how I was feeling. I was like ‘Great, thanks Kylie Minogue.’ I don’t ever want to meet her again,” she laughs.
Louise isn’t afraid to speak her mind in more serious videos when it feels right. Her video YouTube Culture, uploaded in May, inspired a wave of video responses from creators including Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie), Hazel Hayes and Alfie Deyes. Excited to have opened up the debate online, Louise tells us how the idea came about.
“I’d wanted to talk about the whole thing since February but was too scared because I didn’t want to offend people – I knew it was controversial. Dan and Phil told me not to post the video because it would cause a shitstorm,” she admits.
“Then I went to Playlist Live and freaked out. It was so intense and there was never a break from it. Ben Cook and Jack Howard convinced me to make the video. Once I had been to ITAtube and realised it was just as intense as Playlist, I just did it.
“I wanted to use my platform to tell people that I did want to meet them all, but that they shouldn’t scream at me or shove phones in my face to take pictures, because it freaks me out!
“Then I went to LA for VidCon and it was like a dream! They’d all listened. I spent so much more time outside meeting viewers than I had at any other convention because it wasn’t intimidating and everyone was just really gentle and relaxed and nice. It was amazing,” she says, smiling.
Things are still far from perfect between well-known content creators and their fans. YouTubers as role models is still a hot topic and since her initial video Louise’s stance has slightly changed. “I have seen so many video responses and also a lot of fans had some really interesting things to say. I read them all on Tumblr and I still don’t want to be anyone’s idol.
“But now I believe there is a difference between idol and role model – in my original video I classed them as the same. I’m still not an idol – you shouldn’t idolise anyone”, she says.
Charlie McDonnell has confessed that he refers to popular content creators as celebrities, not as ‘YouTube famous’. Louise is still making up her mind. “I’m not overly positive towards it just because of the term celebrity. What does that even mean? I’m OK with being well-known and I love going to red-carpet events – the dresses and the glamour… But the term celebrity is just a bit empty to me.
“Viewers only see a small portion of my life,” Louise explains. “It would be easy for me to say that I’m a great person but actually be awful. I’m not, but it’s important to remember there’s always a side to YouTubers you don’t see.”
“I’m not about to put my whole relationship on the internet. I don’t think that’s healthy for us”
Louise’s husband Matt joins us in the cafe and conversation moves on to family life. While friends including Louis Cole or US family ShayTards share every moment of their daily lives with viewers, Louise does like to keep some parts of her life private. “I share so much, like my time with Kylie Minogue – so I don’t want to share my marriage with people.”
Matt is a school teacher and is keen not to become a spectacle at school, but has recently started his own channel and been in more Sprinkle Of Chatter videos. Louise explains: “This is just my adult marriage and isn’t really for my fun YouTube channel. I’m not about to put my whole relationship on the internet because I don’t think that’s healthy for us.
“But I think it’s good that my daughter Darcy will have things to look back on if anything were to happen to me or Matt. I don’t have much from my childhood, apart from a few pictures,” Louise explains. “I only really have my dad – my mum passed away and I would have loved to have more to look back on.”
Despite this, Louise maintains her cheerful manner. “I appreciate all the good things I have now and I’m honestly just grateful for my lot. It’s a bit sickening!”
A positive force for Louise is talent management company Gleam Futures. Having been signed up at the end of 2012 after a recommendation from Tanya Burr, a beautiful relationship has blossomed. “They do all the business stuff for me, but they’re so supportive and are happy to be on the end of the phone when you need them.”
Contrary to popular belief, Gleam do not have creative control over their YouTube talent. “They facilitate opportunities and guide us,” Louise explains. “But we’re a lot less controlled than people assume.”
Louise has made it no secret that she initially struggled to make creative videos. She confesses: “I’ve never been technically advanced. Last year I went to YouTube school, which was three weeks of workshops. After that I bought a fancy lens – although I don’t know what it is, I do know it’s a nice one. I am trying, but it’s really hard.”
The low-sheen of Louise’s videos is arguably part of their charm, but in some situations she still seeks help from her friends. “If I want something doing well, I ask Jack Howard and he’ll do it for me. Dan [Howell] and Phil [Lester] actually edited a video for me when we did a collab once, I’m OK with that,” she says.
Having met Jack, Dan and Phil at Google-run creative courses, Louise explains how she met other friends such as Zoe Sugg, known by viewers as her ‘bestest chummy’. “I met Zoe through her blog. We became really good friends and talked every single day. Then we went to a ChannelFlip party – because we used to be signed to them – and there were loads of boys there. I just remember thinking ‘What?! There are boys on YouTube?’ because I thought it was all girls who did beauty stuff, and cats on skateboards,” she said.
“We got talking to Alfie [Deyes] and Marcus [Butler] and sort of forced our way into that group. We’re all signed to Gleam now so I call them the Dream Team. Every time I see them I say it and they’re just like: ‘Stop!’ I’m never going to stop, I’m living the dream.”
“I know when you see a big bunch of pretty girls you’d think they’re bitchy – because I would!”
Among content creators there’s a perceived boundary between Gleam and the rest of the YouTube community. Louise struggles to understand why everyone can’t be friends. “Gleam YouTubers are all very nice to each other, while the community has a lot of banter. At first I didn’t really understand the banter and a lot of crying happened, but now I get it so I’m OK with that. I don’t think there needs to be a divide, though.”
The beauty community is a notable group within the YouTube universe. Admitting that people often have preconceived ideas of her friends, Louise explains: “All the beauty girls are surprisingly nice. I know when you see a big bunch of pretty girls who talk about make-up a lot you’d think they’re bitchy – because I would! But they’re not.
“They’re very welcoming – they don’t mind having a slightly fat one who doesn’t do tutorials in their group!”
When she’s not filming videos and spending time with her family, Louise travels with YouTube friends. “Obviously we all have work things to do, even when we’re travelling, but that’s OK. That said, it’s nice just to relax together”, she says.
Commenting on her group’s dynamic, Louise reveals: “Some of us are more party-esque than others. Zoe is not so much of a party animal. If there’s a bar and music, I’m there – as are Joe [Sugg] and Caspar [Lee]. which is why I get on really well with them.
“When we travel, we all have our own rooms – so if it gets too much or anyone wants some alone time they can just shut their door. But it’s like going away with all your friends and having a massive sleepover, just in really nice hotels…”
Many of Louise’s friends have started projects outside of YouTube. Zoe Sugg is writing a novel called Girl Online, Tanya Burr has a make-up line, and Jack and Dean are performing live shows. “It’s so exciting to see the avenues people are taking,” Louise smiles. “I look forward to 20 years on when everyone will look back and talk about making our little videos.”
Louise revealed she’s planning a live show for November 2014 in her hometown Northampton. “Jack [Howard] and Dean [Dobbs] have a live show, so I want to do The Sprinkle Of Glitter Experience. It’s just chats, funniness, motivational stuff. I’m really excited,” she giggles. “I’m going to have a test run and if it works I’d like to do more of that.”
Despite this, Louise is still committed to her YouTube career. “I want my channel to keep growing because for me it isn’t a stepping stone to something else. YouTube is just something I want to do.”
As hard as the journey has been for her, Louise has always managed to be positive and shares that warmth with her audience. As she and the community enter the unknown, Louise is positive about what’s to come.
“I like the phrase ‘All ships rise in high tides’,” she reflects, as we finish. “That is a nice one. Put that in the article.”
Photos by Olly Newport.
Find more pictures from this cover shoot in our exclusive Tumblr Photo-Set.
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