Good LORD! Where has she been? I have been literally scratching my eyes out with frustration for over a year to try and explain my issue with the politics of the online world. I have been visibly frustrated by not just the fact my channel was stuck in a weird loop where my work wasn't being promoted, but figuring out why things were unfolding in such an unusual way. Why were certain people being pushed, others not.... so this should explain it a little more comprehensively.
So let's navigate to my Youtube channel and let's first assess what's going on with the metrics of my entire content. So we can see that the majority of my videos by far are generic beauty videos that have more than 100,000 views. The great majority of which are indeterminate of my gender right? So from the outside it doesn't state or show, transgender person doing something wild or sexy. It's an eyebrow, or a lip shape.
I have less than 10 videos out of my public 210 that are relating to my gender, sexuality or dating experiences yet the recommended channels and videos, where I'm found despite the cache, is alongside exclusively trans influencers. Why am I in a box when my work has been on the platform with the general beauty videos the whole time? If I did vlogging style videos or let's just say gender talks, equality talks, sexuality videos, it would make total sense but that's why I have Perfect Androgyny... That's not what this channel was built for so it's completely senseless to the type of content I make.
So let's look at what's in the trending section of Youtube and navigate to the types of videos. So we see Joe Weller, who is one of the UK buffoons who makes videos physically tackling women, doing asinine things in public. He's a viral appeal which is gonna attract kids. We see some of the gleam people aka Zoella + Joella who not only have that machine but they have a lot of media outlets in house that continually promote them from magazines, to UK endorsements that drive articles, to mainstream tv interviews. Then we see the American beauty clique which are specifically beauty and that's the area of youtube which used to be open. So they range from Jaclyn Hill to the racist, to the Nikkie Tutorials. Okay, cute. Question. Why are we seeing these beauty influencers over independent people with the same viewership?
Let's investigate further. Youtube has displayed a rotation of videos that are suggested for you, out of only this selection of people. So instead of organizing content where things are all in keeping, all eyebrows of a certain views, all lip tutorials of a certain views, they are arranged by the people. Again, and again and again. Regardless of the content. So what new influencers have started to do to gain traction, as we can see the example on our right, is create gossip style videos on the people in question as to get listed next to their original videos. Because Youtube places them in this perpetual cycle.
God bless the guy who does the gossip videos he's very entertaining but this goes to show in the most exact sense that your quality of content has nothing to do with your viewership. Because how can you gain the same traction from Youtube critiquing a makeup artist as the actual artist themselves... and STILL THINK that the most talent equates to the most following. The most talented people are being side stepped for people who are working to the system, and I don't want to do that... Which brings to another point. These list of beauty influencers would never be seen as conventionally beautiful. Fuck the media portrayal of the skinny bitch with the perfect face, that's not my opinion. I think they're stunning people over the whole, I love Nikkie's face she looks like a glorious moon. But they're never pushed to the front of beauty campaigns that aren't about virality. The reason I'm pointing this out will make sense in a second if you bare with.
So now let's look at how they are placed in the same rotation and we can do a quick search of the news on google relating to some of the YouTubers that are fronting the beauty community. And here we see outside articles pushing their videos. Now I have nothing against this because if your work is deserved of an article, fucking well done. But these people have PR companies that are being paid. So they write the articles, barter with the journalists or agencies or publications to create a list of whomever, a boy in makeup or a story of injustice in the equality sector, and they link a video... which tricks the system into thinking this video has gone viral organically and this is where it get's completely contrived.
So here... if you scroll through this list of clients on this PR company are not only Youtubers, but YOUTUBE as a brand. And what makes it even worse is? I was signed with these people in the same management network!
So to give some behind the scenes tea, I joined a management network called The Collective, which is based in LA and consisted of the network that places my adverts on the videos. They rebranded and divided throughout the last year it's under new names etc. But during 2015, I was asked to compete for a trip to Dallas and it aligned up with some other work I had going on in LA. I competed, got the opportunity to get my flights covered, I took the flight and I was asked to work with Manny and Patrick who at the time had a very small following on Youtube and a couple of hundred thousand on Instagram. I thought they were both really cute, a little older than me but I liked that Manny knew my work and all the old videos with Michael James and I got breakfast with Patrick.
Now do I think they're particularly viable in terms of the work they do as a makeup artist? In total honesty... I do. I think Patrick is a great talent and I think Manny is very sweet and personable. But I think the audience who follows me from Youtube is unclear on how I started this. I was scouted at 14/15 to work as a model for Dazed and Confused, which asked me to cast for McQueen. I started at the deep end. I have no experience working in retail, I was assisting Terry Barber at Mac Masterclasses at 16. I was in Tokyo on my own posing out for my holiday money at 17. I came home, built my own products with the manufacturers directly at 18. Began building a professional portfolio for clients like Boy London, Irregular Choice, being asked to paint Katie Price and Jonathan Ross. I did magazine covers that are collectors items. I have worked consistently bts on tv, with celebrities like Anna from the Scissor Sisters, Ariana and the Rose, what nearly ten of the drag racers..? Mathu Andersen endorsed my work publicly. I've had praise from Val Garland + Barbara Daly before I had a social media profile. I worked with every brand out there and continued to develop my business, which took me to want to learn makeup from a lab's perspective. So little old JH get's a reference from the biggest perfumer in the world, Roja Dove and I go off to study a biochem MSc and then she wins YouGen. Making herstory as the first trans person to ever win a syco reality contest. I've done mainstream campaigns with brands, I've since launched multiple products in stores and here she is today. So my career path has been self explanatory... So whatever the weather, I have been swimming in the deep end for the entire time whilst being told every step of the way that I didn't fit the image, that I never was the right candidate for the job and I wouldn't be able to do it. I opened doors for my community from the brands that work with us today, to the fact that I've won first. So you can't impress me with people who've worked in a retail position and gone viral from a meme. And with all due respect, it's discrimination. Being an adult man who's chosen to wear some eyeliner and a contour at 23 vs a child of 15 being abused for living in their gender is not the same experience.
So let's skip through the day, I found the entire Beauty Con experience a negative revelation and I found refuge at the bar. It was completely ridiculous that there were hundreds of children screaming about nothing, there were a lot of YouTubers that were entirely different to their personalities online and I had a really uncomfortable experience with another trans influencer. I basically had really bad anxiety and went to chill out in the green room and this person made some very dismissive gestures and was rude to the point that their friend who was in accompaniment with them, left and joined with me to make sure I was okay. So the whole thing was pretty awful and in total honesty, there were a few lovely people there but it was a complete farce. I was being told to take photographs with some sort of Grave Yard person and I had not seen their work before or their views, I don't know if they think I'm the spawn of the devil or they're a liberal so why would I take a photo with them? It became very clear that the basis of this was to gain followers and that is not of interest to me.
So shortly after this, I start to notice quite readily that people are taking articles on what it is to be a 'Boy in Makeup' pushing down boundaries. Now I specifically linked an article that had Bretman, Patrick & Manny on my twitter which was a Forbes article discussing that the girls got brands with less followers on Instagram, that's since been taken down because I linked it to my assistant. Nothing was really being pushed from my own channel because I don't fit the title of Boy in Makeup category. Then there were constant emails coming through about how to fit the trending videos of the time and when I would do something like the Power of Makeup, it would not be inclusive in the search results of videos that were in rotation because they were actively linking each others videos in this particular circle of influencers and it would just frustrate me. Because my content was with the same energy and I was being told that I had to be more everyday by the same network. I just don't think this is conscionable. If there was one opportunity in the media that said, thanks to the people who started this first, or the platform was set up to allow everyone the same shot it would have been fine. It's just not right to the people that started Youtube, that started social media and here lies my irritation. My friend is dead. She is not here to tell her story. The last article came out about Sphi or Syn as the world grew to know her, said trans woman falls into prostitution. Total BS it characterized her experience in a way ill-fitting for her genius.
So from this point, I was emailed by the management stating that the manager appointed to me would be leaving, she optimized my channel into playlists that put everything into a list and then there was a name on the end of each video, I actually posted it here which basically did me nothing. It sent all my videos into a rotation of my own work. So they were not being pushed alongside these other beauty influencers despite being more in context, they were being circulated in the same space and not reaching new people. Alongside this, Drag Race came into full effect and with that season came Fame. Now I found out about Miss Fame a long while ago because if anyone can go back into the depths of my youtube, I did a Tyra Banks inspired tutorial and someone linked me to an image from club Room Service of Fame as Tyra. So I thought her work was done to a high standard and I spoke to her a couple of times via Facebook message, congratulated her on the show and her first song. From what I see, she then went off and had to find a reason to tour as she wasn't shown as a performer on the show... because this is how the drag racers maintain their income. So her technique of creating the buzz for a tour was to do Youtube. Now this is the part that I don't want to ever get misconstrued because I think she's fab, but for whatever reason, coincidence or no coincidence, she put out a consistent stream of the same content that was already there. The transformations into Hollywood icons, the Boy to Girl in the same layout that changed after the show started getting replayed, aka the title of the videos changed, the creative looks that were not really in keeping with her brand that were identical to the videos on my channel, Linda Evangelista, working with L'Oreal in the Brush Contest.
Now I was forwarded this image several times. I don't agree that most of these look like each other, I think there are some that obviously do... For example. The Nina Hagen look I did for the Gozra coffee table look I think is too similar. I think the looks I started on JHCosmetics when I was 18 were too similar. I think there are a few that just don't make any kinds of sense to me but they're all done as beautifully so who cares lol. There are many that are what I would describe as free for all? Like I can't claim ownership of a Liz Taylor Cleopatra look but there were many coincidences not in that photo. So by this time, my frustration was again about being told that my content wasn't relatable and seeing that it wasn't being pushed out, but then someone else was doing comparable looks and was. So I do think there was some intention in this because she also did a direct look that is identical to Fendi Laken's Lana look for the '60s' look tutorial that was the same, she was just doing the looks that were out there. And again, I like Fame! I think she's a dope painter and I liked doing the panel with her at Drag Con. I was linked to a redit article that put a side to side of alot of this so that was brought to me. I'm not going to link it... but it's out there,
So during this whole shebang, I was signed with a direct talent agency called NVC and the reason I took this contract was that of a lovely lady called Amy who now works at Gleam. She headhunted me and I had a great time whilst she was there, but she was honestly a head above the rest of the team and she, unfortunately, left last year to take that position. But we had a great chat at the beginning of this year about moving forwards as I think she get's my content and I love how she works with people. Anyway NVC made a few mistakes including messing up the information about my flights to Germany for Glow Con, I received no details at all of my flights until the morning where I was actually travelling home from Poole as I was working with Lush. I had booked JH the girl version, shaved my beard off in prep for flying and didn't get a detail on when I'd be flying until I was on a four hour train home to Brighton, two and a half hours away from the airport so it was a MESS. On top of this I had no guide at Summer in the City which I would have expected. I also was appointed to a woman for about two months before this happened who incredulously asked me to put into writing a list of all my contacts as to 'reforward and reach out' aka steal them... who then left the company LOL! Needless to say I did not offer her any contacts and I knew it was the forecast of things to come. So I wasn't happy with the shenanigans and we parted ways.
Now 2017 is a new year, I found out I'm in the Google End of Year Highlights and the search page, with none of this virality or PR company or management, which goes to show that somewhere in this stupidity there is a value for talent. And I meet my lovely man friend and a lot of personal changes took place. Now me none the wiser, seeing this gorge man I'm into, start to question more about what he does for work which is a very vague point of convo so far, who cares I'm normally the sugar mama anyway. So surprise surprise, he is one of the biggest music execs in the world, works on the biggest talent shows in the US, you know the ones, is directing sitcoms over here whilst also doing the marketing for Rihanna and Gaga... oh with the Beckhams for good measure. So God has a funny way of twirling me around and putting things in my life that I would never have expected. And yes... he is a Baron. So firstly on a personal level, my friends will know this I'm a highly sensitive creature and I've had a very negative experience dating someone in the forefront of the media, with a few bad eggs in the background. I'm a bit gunshy to this world for that reason and I would never have dated him knowing what he did. But he is my favourite person in the world o the whole thing is like a whirlwind and it's just been like lifting the blinders off. I resolve a lot of shit in April. My grandfather sadly passed, I moved house which I've been fighting to do for a while! And I get a completely different insight into the world of how this works.
So what I didn't know but has now been told to me through this whole system of the agencies in the US, is whilst the lady who redid my channel in that Insta post who was with my management in the American network, she also took with her the 'Boys in Makeup' from Bretman Rock to Manny, Patrick... etc. Half of this American beauty crew. And brought them to APA.
APA with CAA, represent all of the big stars in the world, you can go do your own research to see the extent of what they do. APA was responsible for the Kardashians... They orchestrate tours for platinum-selling superstar artists. They are a jumbo agency and despite no evidence of such on their website, all these influencers we've been bombarded with have been signed to their agency. They have Kristen Leanne, Mykkie, the beautiful darkskin blogger who's just gone viral from the Fenty beauty shade who's name I'm unfamiliar with but I LOVE her. So all the people who go on these lavish trips to Bora Bora or have a consistent viral appeal. Who are even put forwards for campaigns like blood donation for LGBT, something I've singularly been ranting about on my social for the last few years. But here we go back to my initial point about mainstream beauty standards and the people being very out of sync with that. Why are they being taken to the forefront of the media... yet they're not being put into the same money making situations that the celebrities on the books are? We've seen campaigns with Tyra, we've seen campaigns with Katy Perry... we've seen Kim KW. But why have we not seen the influencers themselves be pushed forwards?
Because they are a social media advantage that these agencies can exploit to bring their mainstream talent online press coverage and an interactive fan base. So the people who everyone knows from SNL but won't have a social presence. Or have an active, today social presence. That's why they're all basic because they are chosen not to be pushed to the front of the actual real world where they get paid zero zero zero bitch and the comma, but they're there in the sides to promote and work with the mainstream talent. So wam bam balloyah that's the whole tea with why I've been personally so infuriated by it, and I'm not gonna bother talking about it a single more on my social because, despite all of that shenanigans, you don't need to love me or like my work. You cannot deny that she is a beast in terms of talent and I am pretty enough to compete with the mainstream beauty standards and God has a plan. So I changed my network to specifically about boosting my work in rotation... and when I tell you that my videos were trapped in a loop? They were literally trapped in a loop. All has changed. We're optimizing specifically for the mainstream promotion and it's time to reorchestrate these dumb PR campaigns that have put the wrong people as the face of social when we all know the people who started this shit. And we cannot forget people who are not here to tell their stories.
So how do I describe my mindset at present? I certainly don't want to be involved in this machine if my outcome is to be simply a social media tool for people in the mainstream view. I genuinely don't think that my labels should even have anything to do with my talent. I want to just create art, I want it to be successful in it's own right but I need to do it in a way that paves a path for future kids, but also pays homage to those not with us. So I'm going to leave it on this. I have a funny suspicion this may implode in the next few years, so get your coins. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. I have my brand backed and resolved... so let's see what's around the corner!