On Sunday 13 March, we headed down to the Saatchi Gallery in London to attend day two of Glamour’s inaugural beauty festival.
The Glamour Beauty Festival spanned the entire gallery and gave attendees the opportunity to sample products, talk with beauty experts, and attend panels.
After wandering around the event and taking advantage of some of the free pampering sessions (yay, manicure!) we headed to the “Beauty x Social Media” panel. The discussion was led by Jim Chapman and featured vloggers Fleur De Force and Estée Lalonde as well as Glamour’s beauty director, Alessandra Steinherr.
— TenEighty UK (@TenEightyUK) March 13, 2016
The room was packed to full capacity and filled with eager, but surprisingly quiet, fans who were both excited to see their favourite YouTubers and hear about how social media has influenced the world of beauty. The panel itself was particularly interesting as it gave the audience insight into how social media has influenced both traditional media, like the magazine, and the new-age media, such as YouTubers.
The panellists discussed their own experiences with social media, how it has influenced their lives and careers, what they see for the future offline, and the pressures that come with it.
Jim asked the panel whether they had begun using social media with the intention of making a living. “I had been doing this for two-and-a-half years and I had no idea that people were making money through their blogs and YouTube channels; I didn’t have anything monetised,” revealed Estée. “So when I started to realise that people make a career out of this, I was just so excited about it, and I just thought, ‘How can I do this?’ Then, it just sort of happened!”
Jim agreed with her point about a gradual growth that leads to a career, noting that authenticity is key. “With YouTube and social media, you can just produce content, and if people like you, they are going to keep watching,” he pointed out. “Essentially, if it feels wrong, it’s wrong. If you have to think too much about it, then it’s probably not ‘on brand’ for you.”
Alessandra, who went through a more traditional route to get to her position in the media, also noted that she didn’t realise the potential behind social media right away. “It was actually through Fleur that I first started to understand the power of Instagram,” she said. “I didn’t get it at first. We were on a trip together and she sort of explained it to me, and then she Instagrammed her dessert, which was a tiramisu, and 20,000 people liked it and I thought, ‘Okay, so this is more than just that. This is people wanting to know about your life.’ I understood very quickly then that Instagram is something I need to get involved with too, just so I can speak directly to my readers.”
She then went on to explain how she has begun to incorporate platforms like Snapchat and Instagram into her own career. “It’s a great research tool,” she explained. “Obviously, Glamour is a monthly magazine and so we work three months in advance and so I can see what my readers are interested in and plan my stories.”
Jim, who is columnist for GQ, liked the increased integration of social media. “I like that it’s kind of legitimate,” he said. “I think 2015 saw a real change and the traditional media has a new respect for us.”
Fleur expanded on that idea, observing that YouTube has turned into an industry in its own right and that now there are all sorts of career paths surrounding what YouTubers are doing.
From there the conversation shifted and began to delve more specifically into the glamorous life of a YouTuber — and the not-so-glamorous parts.
“I tweeted something the other day and I had really good intentions: it was International Women’s Day and I tweeted about being a feminist,” said Jim, making a point about the pressure to always say the right thing when you have such a large following. “I had so many responses that were like, ‘It’s about action Jim, not a statement.’ I thought, ‘This is a tweet. I can’t show you what I’m doing via 140 characters’.”
He expanded on the subject, admitting that the pressure and attention that has come from his social media accounts can be odd at times, especially in offline settings when viewers wait for him outside of his hotel or after long flights abroad. Still, even with the challenges that being a new age celebrity sometimes presents, Jim assured the audience that being YouTuber is the best job in the world, and that he can’t wait to see what the future holds for himself, his wife, and everyone else in the YouTube community.
Already running over time, Jim held a three-minute long rapid-fire Q&A before wrapping up the panel.