I've been having a very interesting time lately trying to get back into the swing of things in the career I chose, to enjoy the momentum I have built for myself and to continue to produce amazing art. I have created tens of new videos, images and diaries which are reminiscent of my earlier work and I'm pretty proud of them, but they're not online or being shared with the world. The reason for this, is the sheer magnitude of delusion that this generation seems to have when it comes to quantifying online fame.
For whatever reason the most engaged viewers in this generation, possibly because the majority of millennial people do not have economic stability themselves, believe that having millions of followers on social media equates to being a millionaire. This is not the case and I simply do not understand how anyone can come to a conclusion of the contrary. If anyone is a fan of the RHoBH, you may be familiar with the spin off show Vanderpump Rules which involves Lisa's staff at Sur, engaging in buffoonery to the same narrative as the Hills. All of these people are actively posting on social media to millions, and millions of people. Now I don't know how we can be oblivious to the fact that these people with legitimate daytime exposure on television, with social followings, are living in small apartments in West Hollywood..? How can people see someone on television and still quantify that as successful? Am I living in the proverb of the Emperor's New Clothes or is this complete stupidity... The point is we can actually see that it doesn't equate to much.
This is the thing I just find bizarre with the strictly social media influencers. How are people placing value on the idea of online fame when it doesn't amount to economic success? Example Here.
Now let me break this down further, straight, cisgendered people can choose any time of the day to flick on television, to look in a shop and see magazine covers, to listen to the radio and repeat the lyrics of people with that economic success to aspire to. I see no one on television that's even remotely comparable to myself since the death of Pete Burns, who was on sporadically once or twice a year. So this I'm sure, is consistent with a multitude of trans people or trans women, my age or under. I don't see aspirations anywhere I turn. There isn't even a legal guarantee that the reason I'm denied a mortgage by a bank employee or not have a loan be permitted for a business for people like me, is because some ass clown is taking his day out on me. So the only natural allies we have, are each other. To build financial growth you need people to invest in you and you need to be able to build the foundations of something. And the importance of this? Look at the president of the United States. A business man with no political acumen is signing off the laws of the land. So why can we not as a community develop a sense of logic strong enough to realise that. We need money to change things in this world, as horrific as it is.
The experience I have had online from the very beginning on Five Awesome Trannys, was if you were relatable to the viewer you received a bigger reception from that audience. The people watching 5AT were alternative and into subculture for the majority so the people who created the videos in that field were more interacted with. Examples left to your imagination. So again, if you are relatable to the every day person of which today, the average body size is a size 14, people respond more to it. And as we've seen, when skinny models come out in the media like Christy Brinkley saying that Ashley Graham is overweight, Christy Brinkley is the asshole and Ashley get's the Vogue cover. So this is how the world works. Zoella is trapped in a perpetual state of looking and acting like a 14 year old to maintain that specific demographic. That is interested in specifically cosmetic products for a younger age group, school stationary and children's books. So the basis is if you look and act like the farting, unmade up, regular person you're going to get a bigger reaction because the majority of people are like that too.
Joseph Harwood came onto the scene as a 16 year old with a huge myspace following that was recently deleted, working as a model in an era before there was Andrej Pejic or Hari Nef, but dressing pretty tamely on a channel of people who were mostly alternative and showed more of their personality. So I instantly became the less interesting comparative... and I was entirely aware of why this was and was pretty happy about it! I was consistently told that I wouldn't be able to work if I did a blog so I thought if I stay under the radar but still have a little bit of interaction it would be important to have that for the weird kids that did get it. That's something I felt even then. So I did it despite the advice with full awareness and comfort in the fact I was going to be present but not partaking.
So along comes Michael James, who I have the utmost respect for even until this day. But during this time, he (past pronoun), began to misconstrue the creation of the online character he was living in. His name was not Michael James, I came up with the ideas for the channel and actually was encouraging to use the name Hess to play on the military concept Marilyn Manson was doing. I thought it would be a shocking way to flip the script as from what I understand, his grandmother was the daughter of Rudolf Hess. So we went with the simpler option & I cut his hair, I taught makeup lessons in starbucks before he was proficient and even sewed the clothing. I brought him to models 1 in London, shot the majority of the early series and if you look back you can see it in the older videos. They were fun! But they were my ideas. So give the bitch her credit. As things started to develop, I feel that Michael hid his reality of a horrendous family situation that was ongoing in the character and became an exaggerated version of himself. I can respect why it happened, but not how it happened, because there was no need to diminish me, to elevate his work, whilst I was a friend in his reality. I took the role as the extra in his platform, I didn't have to it would have been simpler to be honest about the whole thing and pointed out every step of the way that a person two years his junior was running the show. But out of humility for his situation I let him take the credit. Until. I found out that he was making the entirety of the adsense money from my footage, and I was not cool with it. Then stock photography images were sold without my knowledge. He then proceeded to become extremely aggressive whilst drunk, inclusive of getting into a physical fight with his tutor during nights I was there to show my support, so the friendship eroded. That's the reality of it, I wish there was something more dramatic like a murder or whatever cos people have consistently asked me about this, but that's the truth of the matter. I don't think it paints MJ in a negative light, I don't think it paints me in a negative light. It just is what it is. So I decided to leave the house share which also included Sphirex, I removed the footage I had shot and carried on with my life as best I could through the circumstances of my family home falling down, which took place when I was 18. The online perception that was created by this rift was that the unrelatable JH, had an issue with the one that was popular online. Which is why I've never had a fair position in this area of YouTube.
That was my entry point and I was mad about it. But it forced my hand because doing the channel AG from our original plan to do it together, and using it as ways to continue to downplay me was not cool. It really was a pack mentality where live streams were made with under the belt comments and I felt backed into a corner where I had to respond to it, and I did so and the truth came out. JH was the creative & the ideas for MJ broke away.
So to clarify, the online world had no appeal to me. I would not have done it had that situation not had happened but I am true to my art. I never expected to have hit three times as many views, or become financially successful from Youtube, I never thought I'd have products in stores with my name on, to be the cover of magazines with both me and my work, to have products on QVC, to be respected for my craft before I even turned 23. I didn't know I'd be drinking out of designer glassware in a home in Palmeira Square with a zebra as a floor rug at 22. I truly believe this, was the universe rewarding me for being sincere and to have shown kindness to the people around me because it was completely unplanned. However, can I just illustrate the point once again, if I had wanted to blow up on social media does anyone actually think that would have been hard for me to do so? I had already manifested it for everyone else, and my track record speaks for itself. Every LGBT friend that I have worked with online I have given the T about making money, helped promote their work or put them on my platform. But I am scared of the exposing nature of doing the online thing for the views. I self sabotage, I have inconsistent posting schedules, I look different in every single video, I don't read the comments, I don't watch other influencers and I have never shared a detail of my life with people. So far. I really come from the mindset that I'm an artist first and talent and positive behaviour is rewarded, which is what has happened. I'm not interested in the interaction on the viral attention of posts. So for me, it's truly conflicting because half of me is resentful that I have to do this if I want to be successful as an artist, a creator or a brand. The other part of me knows I have to. Because it's bigger than me.
So this double edged sword has been the contemplation in the back of my mind whilst I've been recovering from the injury caused to my sight, because I could sign off and never look back and live a fantastic life as of now. I have the ability to work in other areas. So making the decision to get back into the game has been hard because I feel like I'm playing a game where people are cheering for those who haven't yet scored a goal.
My main ambition is to create a brand that represents me. Since 2009, I have designed my own brushes, I've created product, I've also known enough about business that you need money to make money. So I have focused entirely on making money through endorsements. If you were to add up the individual value of what I've earnt from the 850 plus videos on JHMemoires, JHCosmetics and Perfect Androgyny, the prize money I have received, the flights paid for, the value of cosmetic surgery, the value of items I've received... You can work it out. Check out and estimate from just the 190 videos live today. So it really is farcical because I have only seen three other influencers in this sector who've had similar success.
To break the forth wall, management companies want their 50% in some cases for brand deals. So what they've told us from the start is to remove our own contact details from our bio's on YouTube and add theirs. Because any deal that comes through their email they have a legal claim over the percentage. So what they've done is discouraged the influencers to do sponsorships for the most contrary reasons. The consensus is that reviewing something for a fee may be dishonest because people may not like the product but will cash the cheque anyway... Which would be a very valid argument if it wasn't for point two. Affiliate codes. The management networks have worked with Amazon who is the biggest e-commerce in the world, who have an affiliate scheme that if anyone purchases through Amazon's links, you receive 15% of the total cost of the item. The network also receives a percentage. So listing cameras, products and links makes the management money. So taking a fee independently for a sponsored post is supposedly dishonest, but using affiliate links to infer you've bought items through Amazon that have actually not even been purchased, they've been sent by PR teams. Think about it.
Secondly, brand discount codes are also affiliate codes that earn money for the influencers. So every time you see a favourite video where someone is showing a factory produced, mid quality brush like they've pulled a sword from the stone, they earn an income. And never use the brush again. So to cut the long story short, the networks are manipulating the influencers who in the beauty world are generally more creative people and don't work out the business side. So hence why they repeat it, hence why the audience repeats it, hence why people get aggressive in the comments if they think you're doing a sponsorship. So again, had my intention to be popular online, I would have kept my mouth shut and not done any sponsorships, but I'd rather be paid 10 grand a video than have a stranger give me affirmation in a comment. I don't know what your life is like but I come from a single parent home after a horrendous part of ways and being paid thousands can make the difference between having food and not having food. So I don't give a shit if any stranger from the other side of the world has a back up about it. Because I know where my intentions are and I also know what honesty is. Look at the youtubers we are familiar with. Trisha Paytas has had over a billion views when Nikki Tutorials has 650m. Most of her videos have been sponsored... Who's the more successful influencer? Nikki because she get's a million likes on instagram?
So arithmetic with the affiliate codes. Do we really, genuinely think that earning 15% from a brush is going to make these people an economic gold mine? If you'd see the written interaction on things to get an estimation, look at the comments. Work out how much 15% of a $30 order would get you on a video with a million views. Let's say 500 people buy it from the video. That's $2250. Now, let's have a look at the campaign sponsorships these influencers actually admit to doing. Let's say they do one a month. The highest campaign fees at the moment, go up to $20,000. for someone with ten million. To book Zoella to appear at a Westwood show she requires $20,000. 15% of which goes to Gleam, leaving $17,000. 40% of the original fee which goes to tax. Leaving $9,000. Once a month if that. For a year. Even a makeup endorsement that actually reaches television doesn't make $100,000. Which you can figure out after management and tax are deducted.
So please, explain to me how any LGBT beauty influencers are balling because even with a mortgage of a $650,000 house or even with a legitimate product that sells, these people do not make the money that is being spoken about in the gossip blogs. Adore Delano who I've shot with and love, is suing her original management team for only making $300,000 pre tax, with a number one album on the dance charts, tours and a million subscribers on Instagram.
So what I want people to start realising is, cisgender people who are straight who own these companies, who are paying influencers less than £10,000 to be in a diversity campaign, when Gigi Hadid has $4m to do 5 of the same things, aren't doing us any favors. And if we were smart as a community we would figure out how this worked because we need funding to make change. I totally appreciate that reading JH go off on twitter saying that A, B or C have ripped off his work sounds like someone with the mindset of, they are getting more famous online than he is and he's pissed. What kind of dumbo would think that when I've already made substantially more from this by being my own business from the start? That's not the issue. The issue is, if JH is booking a tour that's being advertised by things like Austin International Drag Festival that states dates he's going to be in LA and NY, why would someone who is inspired by JH but has made it to Rupaul's Drag Race... book a similar tour with that tv audience, release the dates the day after someone else's announcement, with the same tour dates. That's absolutely what happened last year and there was interaction that led to this before anyone thinks it's a tenuous link. So that is an actual gripe I have, not just in regards to my own income being stepped on which is reason enough to be annoyed, but as a community how short sighted can you be? This person or the team behind them must be oblivious to not realise that there is power in numbers, there's room enough for everyone and if they did a tour at a different time, two power houses would be winning and progressing the community, together? Which would lead to more work down the line? Which could lead to change? Just stupid! It frustrates me even typing this.
This is the point, I don't see any sign of responsibility in our communities nor do I see people giving the props to the people kicking in the doors to allow each other to reach new mile stones. Marsha P Johnson thank God has finally been acknowledged by our community in the last few years on more of a mainstream level but even in her case we see trans people and drag people fighting over the fact she never took a hormone in her life, which apparently is the deciding factor in a transition... or she's replaced by a caucasian boy in the retelling of the story as a movie. So people get forgotten, the stories get fucked up and in fighting happens as a result of it. It's the most stupid mindset that all downtrodden people have to deprogram. Everyone is conditioned to think that there's only one opportunity to be on top and I'm gonna get it before my that bitch is. Despite the fact that the whole point of working is to achieve a pot of gold. But the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow doesn't have any fucking gold in it because people are worrying about the wrong thing entirely. After this window of opportunity closes, we'll all be back to square one and nothing legal has progressed since. So this is my frustration and has been. And I thank God I've been able to reach all my own personal goals at 25 of becoming a property owner, helping my mum buy a home, have legitimate product in stores, have my credibility in my career and not have had to be a gimmick to achieve it. Because I can start saying this in a way that it doesn't negatively rebound against my work. I'm good to say what I want whenever I want to now.
So if anyone is reading this, it definitely is lined with a sting in it's tail because I want people to wake up. I could sit here and call out people directly who have used my work as a blue print which has caused projects that would have benefited them to fall apart, but the reality is I trust that things happen sequentially and I believe in karmic retribution. I haven't had a mainstream career and I've already won which means we as a community have won. So I'm going to leave it here, I hope this educates people on the silliness thats been going on.
Side note. To rent a private jet from LA to Vegas costs $5,000 which is less expensive than a business class ticket from LA to London. Putting a deposit down on a $150,000 car with depreciative value, means your spending $150,000 on a car that in a year is worth $40,000. Buying an empty house in Calabasas that doesn't have a pool for less than $3,000,000 with a mortgage, does not make you a boss. It makes you insecure about financial instability and gauche. The people who should be aspirational and should be receiving the unanimous love are the activists who don't rant and rave on social media. The people who have broken legitimate ceilings such as two of the richest women in the world, Amanda Simpson or Jennifer Pritzker who are trans and never get mentioned by the mainstream. The people who appeal for legal changes when the spotlights not on themselves like Caroline Cossey. Not people who are racist, who bully other people consistently, who have poor content of character or market themselves as activists with complete insincerely.