The influencer world has completely evolved and transformed in ways none of us could have ever imagined. Today, one 43-minute “tell all” YouTube video can create drama heard all around the world. Vloggers are fighting and the internet is eating it up.
But it goes beyond petty feuds and fueling “tea accounts.” The opportunities that come from social media are endless. Just a few short years ago, it was almost unfathomable that you could make a living by being an influencer, but here we are.
Cydnee Black, a Denver native who currently resides in L.A., started her YouTube channel in 2013 to share makeup and hair hacks. Six years later, she now has more than 740,000 YouTube subscribers with over 26,000,000 views, and an Instagram follower count of more than 320,000.
With the constant influx of influencers (from micro to major and beauty to travel), finding inspiration and a voice to follow can feel impossible. But Black is the shining light at the end of the influencer tunnel. Mixing beauty with self-worth, she has grown her channel positively over the years.
Read on to find out how Black’s life has evolved since launching her channel and the new ways she learned to connect with her subscribers.
Q: How did you get into the influencer realm?
I began sharing my love for all things beauty through posting tutorials and photos on YouTube and Instagram! Back then, I had no idea I would be able to make a living off of doing this — I worked as a makeup artist for M.A.C. Cosmetics and posted to YouTube in my free time! It feels really strange to call myself an influencer because the term didn’t exist when I started. It’s so interesting to see how much this idea has evolved.
Q: Why were you drawn to YouTube?
What made being a YouTuber [at the time] so influential was the fact that you felt you were watching someone relatable. Prior to YouTube, advertising for beauty was done through traditional celebrities and models in TV commercials and magazine ads. I loved seeing Queen Latifah in commercials for CoverGirl, but it didn’t make me want to buy the product. When I watched a YouTuber like Jackie Aina or ItsMyRayeRaye use these same products, I bought them because I felt like I could relate to them. They were normal people like me.
Q: How has the concept of the influencer changed since 2013?
The idea of an influencer has evolved because the lines of what it means to be a traditional celebrity and an “influencer” have begun to blur. Many traditional celebrities have adapted the influencer model and vice versa! It’s no longer just a hobby people do in their free time, it’s become an actual career people aspire to have. Similar to the ways people wanted to become a singer or an actor, people now want to become an influencer!
Q: Overall, how has your life changed since launching your YouTube channel/becoming an influencer?
My life has changed in many ways. The biggest difference would have to be freedom. Launching my YouTube channel gave me the creative freedom to express myself and learn who I am! I never knew sharing my love for makeup online would allow me to see and experience so many amazing things. Most days don’t feel like work at all because I get to create! I still wake up somedays and can’t believe this is my life.
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False Lashes complete any look! Lately I’ve been into really minimal feminine makeup, and fresh looking lashes. I achieved this look using the @ienvybykiss 3D Collection lashes in the style KPEI140! #ienvybykiss #ienvylashes #ienvy3Dcollection, #ad
A post shared by Cydnee Black (@cydbee) on
Q: What do you enjoy most about having a YouTube channel?
I love reading comments where people share that watching my videos has helped them in some way, or that they relate to me as a person! The thing I enjoy least is probably the constant pressure to produce content. There’s so many people creating now, it can be easy to [get] stuck in the thinking that you’re not creating enough.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with your YouTube channel?
I will probably always share my love for beauty on my channel, but recently I’ve began sharing more of my self-development journey with my viewers as well. I hope to continue using my platform to share my journey and inspire people along the way, through peace, love and positivity.
Q: Can you recall one unforgettable memory since launching your channel?
The most unforgettable memory was the first event I ever got invited to. It was a beauty convention; I was reached out to by a PR company to attend. Being there felt a bit surreal! I couldn’t believe that I was actually invited to the same place as so many people that I looked up to. Meeting people you follow on social media is always a little weird because you feel like you already know them even though you’ve never met a day in your life!
Q: What are some products that you used before you launched your YouTube channel compared to now?
In any of my early videos you can see all of my makeup was from M.A.C. After starting my YouTube channel, my makeup collection has expanded to include many, many brands! Both from recommendations and PR. There’s always new launches and brands being sent to me to test out and share. It’s insane! [But] some of the products I used before having a YouTube channel and still use today are:
M.A.C. Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara: ‘I like that the brush is fine, so it really evenly disperses the product on my lashes.’
Nars Contour Blush: ‘I love this product because it’s one of the first bronzer contour products I was able to find for my skin tone! Now there are tons, but this still happens to be one of my favorites. The tone is perfect!’
Q: What about your hair routine?
Through starting my YouTube channel, I’ve learned the art of creating wigs. There are hundreds of wig videos and they’re mesmerizing to watch! There’s is so much that goes into making and applying wigs, and they’re starting to look so real, it’s fascinating! [And] there isn’t a particular brand I use or favor. All kinds of wigs, [from] frontals and closures [to] full lace wigs, as well!
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