Charli D’Amelio Lost a Million Followers This Week

TikTok sisters Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are facing massive backlash after appearing to disrespect their personal chef and generally act pretty brattily in a new YouTube video uploaded to their family channel.

Internet commentator Dennis Feitosa was first to notice that Charli has lost about a million followers since appearing on “Our First Mystery Guest | Dinner With The D’Amelios” earlier this week.

UPDATE: Charli D’Amelio nearing losing 1 Million followers in less than 24 hours. She started Wednesday at 99.5M an… — Def Noodles (@Def Noodles)1605805456.0

The offending video sees the family of influencers try out a new “mystery dinner guest” format. Their first episode features none other than James Charles, who actually comes across as delightful and polite. The same can’t be said for Dixie (who vomits up a snail that Chef Aaron May includes in a traditional paella dish), or Charli (who cynically complains about how she hasn’t cracked 100 million followers yet.) Commenters also called out the sisters’ parents Marc and Heidi for failing to point out their daughters’ bad manners.

Charli hasn’t commented on the backlash, but Dixie made (what else?) a brief TikTok that doesn’t exactly apologize so much as attempt to clarify that the clip of her throwing up has been taken “out of context.” She says that the family has been working with Chef Aaron across multiple upcoming videos, and their relationship is strong: “I love chef, and I was never disrespect him in any way.”


-video…anyways, not posting this for any other reason than to share the truth of something that was ridiculously blown out of proportion…

♬ original sound – Dixie D’Amelio

The food, for the record, does look awesome. On the other hand, Dixie wouldn’t be the first teenager to turn her nose up at fancy cuisine.

Related | The ‘For You’ Age: How TikTok Conquered 2019

What’s less relatable is definitely her sister Charli complaining about that objectively massive follower count. As James Charles quips in the clip, is 95 million not enough for her? But the more experienced influencer (who has dealt with backlash of his own) came to her defense on Twitter this afternoon:

this charli situation is NOT sitting right with me… 100M followers in one year & y’all expect her to know how to… — James Charles (@James Charles)1605811592.0

If there’s anything stans hate, it’s to be treated like numbers rather than human beings. And while it’s unlikely that TikTok’s biggest star will be taken down by a minor controversy like this, it’ll be interesting to see how future episodes of the series fare.

Photo via Getty

Lil Nas X Shuts Down Trolls ‘Sexualizing’ His James Charles Collaboration

Lil Nas X isn’t here for the trolls “sexualizing” his new collaboration with James Charles.

It all started on Tuesday after Charles uploaded a YouTube video of himself doing the “Old Town Road” singer’s makeup. And while the focus should’ve been on the duo’s far-reaching conversation and Nas’s incredible “Holiday“-inspired look, it turns out that an unfortunate number of people were more fixated on their sexualities, with some even going so far as to make snide jokes about them hooking up.

That said, it didn’t take long for Lil Nas X himself to shut it all down by leaving a little piece of wisdom beneath PopCrave’s tweet about the collab. And his perfect response to all the hate?

“2 gay men can do things together without y’all sexualizing it,” he wrote. And honestly, he couldn’t be more right.

See Lil Nas X’s tweet for yourself, below.

2 gay men can do things together without y’all sexualizing it

— nope (@LilNasX) November 17, 2020

Photo via Getty

Tati Westbrook Is Being Sued For Fraud By Her Business Partner

Tati Westbrook is being sued by her business partner for fraud, according to new court documents.

Over the weekend, E! News reported that the beauty YouTuber and her husband James were accused by Clark Swanson of fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and gross negligence over their nutritional supplements company, Halo Beauty.

Related | James Charles Addressed Dramageddon With a TikTok Challenge

According to the lawsuit, Swanson alleged that he originally owned 50 percent of the vitamin line. However, ahead of the company’s 2018 launch, the Westbrooks supposedly convinced him to give them two-thirds of the business so that Halo could serve as Tati’s “umbrella brand for all her beauty launches — cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, all of Tati Westbrook’s beauty products.”

“Ms. Westbrook claimed that the product did not matter, she could still sell a ‘shit product’ to her loyal followers,” Swanson’s filing read, claiming that Tati also said “fellow YouTube personalities like Jeffree Star, Manny Mua, James Charles and Laura Lee would endorse the product,” as they’d allegedly “turned down lucrative advertising deals with rival competitor Sugar Bear Hair out of loyalty to her.”

As we all know though, James Charles’s endorsement of Sugar Bear was partially what led to Dramageddon — a controversy kickstarted by Tati’s infamous “Bye Sister” video, in which she said Charles didn’t stand by her before accusing him of using his fame and power to sexually manipulate straight men.

However, in Swanson’s suit, he said that Tati’s video “undercut” her previous promises and “claim to influence.” Not only that, but he also alleged that both Tati and James “actively interfered with Mr. Swanson’s efforts to grow Halo Beauty” when he was meeting with other manufacturers and members of the cosmetic industry.

Swanson then went on to claim that Tati’s launch of her own beauty brand was done “without his knowledge.” He is reportedly seeking unspecified damages from the couple and is requesting that the case goes to trial.

Read E! News’s entire report, here.

Photo via Getty

Introducing Morphe x Nikita

That’s right, Morphe x Nikita is finally here. Just a year and a half after unveiling Dragun Beauty, her own vegan and cruelty-free makeup line, 24-year-old Nikita Dragun (known to her millions of supporters under the solo standing moniker of Nikita) has collaborated with a fellow beauty industry titan. The collab launches on Thursday, November 5, and Morphe will also start carrying select Dragun Beauty products.

No stranger to the world of influencing, Nikita first embarked on her beauty guru journey by uploading her first YouTube video back in 2013. Since then, the Belgium-born, Mexican and Vietnamese influencer has come out and lived proudly as a transgender woman, coined the term “P*ssy Stunt” (AKA one minute-long videos in which Nikita puts on her bad bitch face, a skin tight outfit that makes you question whether she’s getting enough oxygen and heels taller than the Eiffel Tower as she makes any walkway her catwalk) and amassed millions of subscribers and followers across various platforms due to her flawless makeup artistry.

Related | Nikita Dragun Wants You to Live Your Fantasy

Nikita shares over Zoom call that while she was “fully prepared to be ass-chapped at Coachella, have Halloween, and then go into the Morphe launch,” her life, like everyone else’s, took a much needed pause due to the unfortunate evolution of the pandemic. But it soon picked right back as she stated that this year is the busiest she’s ever been. Thankful that (so far), the internet is immune to COVID-19, she has been one of the lucky ones who can continue on working “normally.”

Having adapted to the mask-wearing society, Dragun proudly admits that though she now puts more focus into making sure her eyebrows are snatched and not a single drop of eyeshadow goes rogue, she still continues to wear a full face of makeup. Because even though we can’t see what’s underneath the mask, she knows and loves a good lip look. With that being the case, a full face of makeup and a face mask do not necessarily live together in holy matrimony. While experimenting with ways to combat her makeup rubbing off onto her mask, she has gone through many a round of setting spray and powder — and even tried placing tissues behind her mask as a barrier. The least tedious solution has been opting for a skin-toned mask, so that when the foundation inevitably rubs off, you won’t even be able to tell.

Deep in the process of putting together the Morphe x Nikita launch, mask face has been the least of her worries. During our chat, Dragun reveals that despite fielding many collab opportunities, she’s particular about who she teams up with. Nikita’s journey with Morphe began back when she modeled for one of the brand’s lipstick collections. Being able to team up with Morphe felt like a “full-circle moment.”

Their long standing relationship also provided the perfect space for Nikita to come in with a great deal of creative freedom. The culminating 35-shade palette can be honestly described as a true collaboration, with some key input from Lipsticknick, encompassing shared vision and strength without compromise on either end.

Related | Snitchery: The Girl Who Can Change Her Face

With the year paused, Dragun has been able to settle down and reflect on all that has happened since her career took off. When those who purchase a palette open it for the first time, they’ll be met with shade names like Nicholas, Estrogen, 703, MTF (male-to-female) and others paying homage to “the different phases” of Nikita’s life. Having grown up in the 703, or Northern Virginia, using the name Nicholas, Dragun wanted the palette to serve as a connection between herself and those who choose to dive into the fantasy as their brushes dip into the various shadows and become a gateway to whoever they wish to become that day.

Strong female characters have always served as a source of “inspiration to garner confidence” in Nikita’s life, which is why names like Shego, Katana and Azula will also pop up in the palette. Amongst the 35 shades, Nikita’s favorites are the first two “wedding row” shades and the center shade, “metamorphosis,” that she describes as looking “like a portal” due to its marbled texture.

Her passion for makeup and wanting those who have a Morphe x Nikita palette in their possession to be able to “create any fantasy they want” comes from her own use of makeup as a tool for expression in a world where she did not have control over the body she was born in to and the way people perceived her. As a young child witnessing her mother and sisters “going into the bathroom one way and then coming out the most confident versions of themselves,” Dragun noticed the power that makeup could have. In an even more personal sense, makeup supported Nikita along her trans journey as it allowed her “to become the woman she envisioned inside of [her] head.”

Coupling her love for art with the shapeshifting power that comes from wielding a makeup brush, Dragun wanted to help pass that same “freedom” she has had along her journey as well.

Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers

With the palette also comes the release of a seven-brush collection. Denser brushes will help to place shadow, while “fluffy brushes will help to blend it out.” With the two kits in hand, Dragun would go under oath to say that “if you go dropped off in the middle of nowhere on an island, you will be okay.”

Photos courtesy of Morphe x Nikita

James Charles Received ‘Death Threats’ Over His JoJo Siwa Video

James Charles said that he received death threats over his latest makeover video with JoJo Siwa.

Last week, the beauty vlogger posted a new YouTube video in which he replaced the former Dance Moms star’s signature glitter and hair bow look with a stunning highlight and smokey eye. And while you’d think that most people would love to see such a dramatic makeover, it turns out that more than a few fans were less than enthused about the collab itself.

Related | Jojo Siwa Responds to Asbestos Makeup Controversy

Soon after the makeover was published, Charles revealed that some online commenters were disappointed by Siwa’s appearance. But why? Well, according to him, it was because he had initially teased the video by saying it was with “someone [he had] waited two years to work with.”

“I was so excited for [it] and now I’m getting death threats because stan twitter assumed it would be their fav and it wasn’t,” he tweeted. “There are a TON of huge artists I’d love to film with one day, be patient!”

Charles then went on to explain that part of the backlash stemmed from the fact that he had liked a few tweets in which fans said they wanted him to collaborate with their favs, including artists like Cardi B and Ariana Grande.

“I also would love to collab with their favs,” he clarified, though he went on to add that he would’ve gotten backlash even if he did collaborate with these high-profile stars.

“Today would’ve been full of ‘stay away from her’ tweets,” Charles said, before concluding, “Anyway leave me alone.”

See his tweets about the backlash, below.

I said today’s collab was with someone I I waited two years to work with & I was so excited for and now I’m getting death threats because stan twitter assumed it would be their fav and it wasn’t 😂🤡 there are a TON of huge artists I’d love to film with one day, be patient! 💞

— James Charles (@jamescharles) August 21, 2020

I liked a few tweets from fans saying they wanted me to collab with their favs because I also would love to collab with their favs 🙃 if I DID collab with their favs, today would’ve been full of “stay away from her” tweets anyway 🥺 leave me alone

— James Charles (@jamescharles) August 21, 2020

Photo via YouTube / @JamesCharles

Jeffree Star Breaks His Silence

Since all the drama with Shane Dawson went down, and since people have begun calling out YouTubers for their inappropriate past behavior, influencer Jeffree Star has remained silent. But now, he’s speaking up about beauty world drama, his friendship with Shane Dawson and the accusations made against him.

In a new 10-minute video, entitled “Doing What’s Right,” he began by saying that he’s been practicing self-reflection and admits to “speaking out of anger, out of frustration.” He said, “For the first time in a really long time, I’m really reflecting on my behavior and mine alone. And I’ve come to a lot of realizations, and it’s been really important to actually understand everything that I was a part of, that I did wrong, and really start a new chapter for myself.”

Related | Jeffree Star ‘Embarrassed’ of His Involvement in the James Charles Feud

“2020 has been really crazy and I have added to the chaos,” he continued. He spoke about his old video, “Never Doing This Again,” wherein he addressed his feud with James Charles. He admitted to not being able to live up to his promises from the 2019 video. This time around, he talked about “the situation” again, and officially apologized to James once and for all — without calling anyone out or even mentioning Tati Westbrook. “It’s disgusting, it’s awful and none of it should’ve happened. So, James, I am truly sorry for my actions and my behavior.”

And while Westbrook predicted that Star would release receipts for secrets he’s kept about other YouTubers, he said that he isn’t about to reveal any text threads or messages that “allegedly” exist. “I will not be entertaining it. My lawyers are entertaining it behind the scenes, but I will not be,” Star said in the video. “I know this may sound shocking coming from my mouth, but when you accept that you are the problem, you can become the solution.”

For a brief moment, he also acknowledged the larger events happening in the world right now, mentioning the deaths of and lack of justice for Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain. He then said that these are matters much worth giving attention to. Star said, “I think drama and the beauty world — which I definitely have been a part of — It all has to stop.”

Related | Morphe Will No Longer Work With Jeffree Star

The makeup mogul later addresses his friendship with Shane Dawson, saying that he’s not cutting him out of his life or distancing himself, and that his silence was meant to support Dawson. “I know Shane from now. I don’t know Shane from 10 years ago, and he doesn’t know me from 10 years ago.” He continued, “Now do I agree with Shane’s past actions? Of course I don’t. And does he agree with my past behavior? Of course he doesn’t. I know the amazing person he is today, and you don’t abandon your friends.”

He then talked about the Jeffree Star brand, and said, “I am so fucking proud to own an inclusive makeup company.” He claimed that he’s always advocated for small businesses, and has always welcomed included people of all colors, shapes, sizes, and gender identities. “I know that a lot of people try to deter from my message, and sometime’s I’ve deterred it myself through negativity and drama, but that won’t be happening anymore” Star said, “I always stood up for what was right, and I always will.”

He ended his video thanking friends, fans and supporters, adding that this time of self-reflection has been necessary. “This has been me silent for a reason. I’ve been really, really working on myself, and I definitely was distracted.”

Watch the full video, below.

Photo via Getty

Tati Westbrook Says Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star ‘Manipulated’ Her

Tati Westbrook has accused Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star of “manipulating” her into calling out former protégé James Charles during last year’s Dramageddeon 2.0 saga.

On Tuesday, the beauty YouTuber uploaded a new video blaming the duo for turning her against Charles and encouraging her to post her viral “Bye Sister” video — in which she claimed Charles had not supported her brand and insinuated that he’d made sexual advances toward straight men — from May 2019. However, Westbrook has now apologized for “[listening] to the wrong people” and buying into “all the poisonous lies that were fed to me by Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star.”

Related | Why #ShaneDawsonIsOverParty Is Trending Again

“Believing those lies and letting myself be gaslit into making that video is one of the biggest regrets of my life. The information they were giving me was terrifying. I was told there were a lot of victims that were going to come forward,” Westbrook said, later claiming that she never called Charles a “predator” or a “danger to society.”

“I did not lie in that video,” she continued, before adding, “My video was not made with any malice. I did not publicly air any of the horrific accusations that were being made behind the scenes.”

According to Westbrook, both Dawson and Star were “both bitterly jealous of James Charles’ success” and wanted him “out of the way” for the launch of their Conspiracy Collection. She also said that the duo pushed her into making the video during a time when her “guard was down” due to her own personal issues with Charles over his sponsorship of a competitor’s product.

As for why she waited until now to say anything, Westbrook said that she was “terrified” of social media and “the people that used, coerced and manipulated me into uploading my video in May of last year.”

“Every day I’ve struggled quietly trying to rebuild my now poisoned reputation,” she said. “The heartbreak that was born from the scandal still lingers, and I feel it won’t ever have the opportunity to completely heal until I uncover the truth from all parties involved and their motivation of it all.”

Westbrook then explained that while she and Charles reconciled in December after comparing notes, they “agreed to wait patiently until it was safe for me to share my story.” She also apologized to YouTuber Jackie Aina for not defending her after Star was called out for past racist transgressions.

Related | James Charles Addresses Tati Westbrook Drama in New Video

Not only that, but elsewhere in the video, Westbrook went on to allege that Star is a co-owner of Morphe and that she believes he has the power to “blackmail” others in the beauty industry.

“My opinion? He’s going to go off, guys,” Westbrook said. “And I don’t think anyone — I don’t think he will hold back. And I think we need to be prepared, to understand that we need to forgive the people that he is holding hostage with veiled threats of exposure. We need to be prepared to forgive them. Otherwise, this won’t stop.”

As such, Westbrook said that she is taking “serious security precautions” against potential information leaks and, because of that, she would not be sharing any evidence right now, per her attorneys’ advice.

Following Westbrook’s latest video, Dawson hit back at her claims in a since-deleted tweet and an Instagram Live, in which he called her video “insane” before accusing her of being “manipulative” and “fake crying.”

Shane Dawson freaking over Tati’s new video on IG Live

— ingrid (@weathxrgirl) June 30, 2020

Additionally, Dawson’s fiancé Ryland Adams took to his own Twitter to dub Westbrook’s video “a master class in manipulation.”

“The only was [sic] to save her reputation was to side with the person she tried to ruin,” Adams wrote. “Make no mistake. This 40 year old woman choose to post a video on her own accord.”

Tati Westbrook – a master class in  manipulation. The only was to save her reputation was to side with the person she tried to ruin. Make no mistake. This 40 year old woman choose to post a video on her own accord. She riled up Shane before doing so to have one of the biggest

— Ryland Adams (@Ryland_Adams) June 30, 2020

Star has yet to respond to Westbrook’s video. In the meantime, watch the entire thing for yourself, below.

Photos via Getty

Kameron Lester Criticizes Jeffree Star’s Tokenization of Him

Beauty influencer Kameron Lester is opening up about he felt tokenized and silenced while working with Jeffree Star.

Last week, Lester took to his Instagram Live to detail why he would no longer support Star or his makeup brand. Beginning by telling the story about their relationship, Lester explained that while he once modeled for Jeffree Star Cosmetics, he felt tokenized and like Star’s promises to support his career never came to fruition.

Related | Shane Dawson Debuts Jeffree Star Series Trailer

“I just felt like it was never a friendship, it was never a friendship in the beginning to start with, it was always just something like I was the kind of like the token black kid,” he said, before talking about how Star once put him on the spot by asking about his feelings toward James Charles.

“I was uncomfortable, there’s people around me, and he was so blunt – just out of nowhere asked me ‘do you like James?'” Lester recalled, also mentioning that this occurred a few months before Charles’s highly publicized feud with Tati Westbrook. “James helped me with my career when I first got into the beauty space and tell my HIV story – like, he’s been very supportive of me.”

However, after Lester said he didn’t have a problem with Charles, Star allegedly responded by saying, “‘Well, you don’t fucking owe him forever.'” Lester then felt even more uncomfortable the next day after he witnessed Shane Dawson — who was working on Star’s online documentary series — “cursing” about Charles via a FaceTime call with Star.

“I remember Shane Dawson called and he was going off about James Charles and… Just like cursing James out. And I was just kind of taken back, because I’ve never seen Shane Dawson like that and he was just going in on James,” he said. “From there, I knew Shane Dawson wasn’t really the person he was perceived [to be] online.”

Not only that, but after the incident, Lester said that it felt as if Star and Dawson no longer wanted to work with him — something that was made all the more evident by Star casting his ex-best friend instead of him.

“I felt like he was trying to send the message in some way that I was replaceable as a Black boy,” Lester said. “I felt like this was a game. Even with Shane Dawson posting me on his platform, I was grateful. But I felt like it was kind of to silence me to be like, ‘We’re gonna keep giving you breadcrumbs and hanging you by a string and manipulating you so you can stay quiet.’ I felt always silenced.”

That said, according to Lester, he was afraid to talk about what happened for so long, saying he “fears for [his] life” and that he “was so paranoid and so scared” of Star.

That said, he said that “moving forward, I will no longer just be the token Black person.”

“I will no longer just be the Black boy that is there to make you look good or speak up for you,” he said, “Because it’s not reciprocated.”

Watch Lester’s video for yourself, below.

View this post on Instagram

Speaking my personal truth.

A post shared by Kam 🤍 (@kameronlester) on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:03am PDT

Photos via Getty

James Charles Is Looking for America’s Next Top Influencer

The Wild West days of beauty YouTube are long over — cue the tumbleweeds. No longer can you pop on a nude lip and gain millions of followers in the blink of one heavily-lashed eye. These days, influencers have to set themselves apart with quirky editing and clickbait titles, while finding some way to make their content memeable — or TikTokable. Finding a point of view and a way to break through the noise is vital for securing attention, brand deals and an actual career.

It’s qualities like this that beauty megastar James Charles was looking for when he cast his new reality competition, Instant Influencer, premiering Friday on YouTube. Charles launched the casting on his own channel, challenging his 18 million subscribers to impress him enough to be flown to LA and compete for exposure, prize money, and a coveted James Charles video collaboration. Six were successful.

“There’s so much more that goes into being a successful influencer,” Charles tells PAPER over the phone from California. “Of course, you have to have at least some level of talent. What’s really important is having a strong camera personality and being able to interact with people and being able to sell products and being able to work together and come up with trendy ideas and always start new things.”

This acknowledgement that an influencer’s main job is to influence, and therefore sell, is refreshing (if depressing) to hear out loud, and a major aspect of the show. The pilot episode’s first main challenge tasks the six contestants with filming and editing a video for a product, and the judging hinges more on their ability to inspire viewers to buy it than their makeup artistry. An influencer’s mission, Charles insists, is to inspire their followers to take some kind of action.

Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers

“You have to have a loyal fan base that is supporting what you’re doing,” he explains. “Even if it’s not necessarily selling a product, it can be literally having them swipe up to a YouTube video or wanting them to check out your new website or check out like, the podcast that you just got started on.” For Charles, “selling product is really almost like a metaphor… for being able to engage with your audience.” It’s “by far the absolute most important [part] of being an influencer, because if you don’t have an audience that cares about what you’re promoting or selling or driving people to, then you have no job.”

If anyone can teach these skills, it’s Charles… with his millions of loyal followers (he’s currently the most subscribed beauty guru on YouTube) and ability to create and sway beauty trends. The show’s coterie of guest judges (joining permanent judge Norvina, creative director of juggernaut beauty brand Anastasia Beverly Hills) wield similar power. Paris Hilton, often called the original influencer, is the show’s first guest judge, and between her trademark catchphrases she imparts the very real business savvy that has helped her build an empire.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

“She went into the industry a long time ago and has always had this whole like, ‘That’s hot,’ branding around her,” Charles acknowledges. “But one thing that I know she’s really working on this year and in the future, is breaking down that wall and showing people that she’s a real awesome, humanitarian, business woman, philanthropist that really just cares about a lot of different projects and stuff. She’s a really just cool person who’s real and isn’t always in that character. I think we really got to actually see that on the show.” He only saw this side of her when the filming started. “Even when she set up to bat and the cameras were rolling and she was actually talking, giving the contestants feedback, I was like oh my God, this is everything, because that’s honestly not what I expected.”

Charles is also clearly hoping to show a different side of himself. Instant Influencer is launching almost exactly a year after his internet-breaking rift with fellow beauty gurus Tati Westbrook and Jeffree Star, and while the timing of the launch isn’t intentional, it does have him reflecting on how much his life and career have changed in the year since.

“Obviously I went through probably the worst internet scandal in history last year,” he says. With the unhesitating candor that has enamored so many fans, he admits these past twelve months were “probably the worst” of his life. ” But Charles has come out the other side of the scandal with some welcome wisdom.

Related | The Blessed Return of Winged Eyeliner

“I’ve learned so much as a person and I feel like I’m a stronger, smarter person from it, and I’m almost grateful that it happened in a way because I just feel like it really improved me and the way that I interact with my friends [and] everybody in general,” he says, For all his fame and controversy, he’s still disbelieving that any of this is actually happening. “I’m launching a freaking show. I literally have my own show,” he laughs. “I’m just more than anything grateful, that there are people out there that are willing to support no matter what people go through, that want to know the truth and care more about the truth rather than just like stupid internet scandals and rumors that people made up.”

Still, Charles teases that he’s not above using his history of public dustups for entertainment value, hedging that one of the show’s future episodes might challenge the contestants to deal with their own internet scandal. Will our instant influencers get canceled? “Perhaps,” he says in a knowing tone.

No reality TV competition is complete without some entertaining drama, and Instant Influencer will have its share of that, as well. “There’s definitely a few of them, that’s for sure,” says Charles, who also served as the show’s executive producer and would regularly get cuts back from the editing team and find himself shocked over what he’d missed. “We were watching it back and being like, ‘Oh my God, like when did that even happen?’ There’s definitely a few pretty intense moments on the show that I think viewers will be excited and a little bit shook [by].”

While he promises plenty of drama, Charles is also hoping to reinvent some of reality TV’s crueler tropes. Starting with eliminations. On Instant Influencer, the departing contestants find out they’ve been sent home when Charles visits them himself to break the news, an intimate touch that the beauty guru felt was important to add.

“We really want to make the show focused on education,” he insists. “If we send somebody home, it wasn’t because they sucked and it was not because they were doing something wrong in the competition and we wanted them out. It’s really just because we wanted to pick the best of the best and see who really has what it takes to be a beauty superstar and who can literally take over the industry.”

Related | My Year With Big Lips

Even those watching can learn from Charles and his fellow judges, with more and more people turning to content creation as both a distraction and in search of a potential new revenue stream while stuck in quarantine. “People are consuming more content than ever,” Charles acknowledges, explaining that his views across platforms have been up since the coronavirus pandemic began. But ad revenue is down, and smaller influencers are feeling the brunt of brands funneling their money elsewhere. While Charles doesn’t think the influencer economy as a whole will suffer, it might need to evolve to survive. “I think it might be an interesting catalyst to see other ways for influencers to monetize their platforms and their audiences.”

Charles hopes that his show will evolve how viewers perceive influencers, and gain the industry more respect. “That’s something that’s going to take a really, really long time — there will always be people that don’t love the job or just don’t really understand it, and that’s okay,” he proclaims. “I really hope that by people watching the show, that they can see like all that really goes into it. Regardless… I just hope that the people who really care about being an influencer are able to watch the show and get some insight information and helpful tips, more than anything.” And if Charles can live his Tyra Banks Top Model fantasy along the way… well, that’s just a bonus.

Photos courtesy of YouTube Originals

James Charles Responds to ‘Mugshot Challenge’ Backlash

James Charles is under fire for taking part in a triggering viral trend known as the “Mugshot Challenge.”

Yesterday, the beauty influencer posted a photo of himself made up to look like he had a black eye and bloody nose — something that led many to say Charles was trying to “glamorize abuse,” physical assault, and domestic violence.

James Charles slammed for promoting the new #MugshotChallenge, which encourages users to post ‘mugshots’ with fake injuries.

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) April 6, 2020

“Ya know whats not cute? Doing up your makeup like this & tiggering alot [sic] of people who suffer from ptsd of abuse,” as one user wrote, while another person added that the challenge was “extremely triggering for survivors of abusive relationships & those attacked by police.”

there’s nothing funny about domestic violence

— َ­ (@bocababyloves) April 6, 2020

This isn’t cool. Don’t glamorize abuse for likes. #domesticabuse #isntajoke

— Paddy🦋 (@blugoddessrocks) April 6, 2020

Ya know whats not cute? Doing up your makeup like this & tiggering alot of people who suffer from ptsd of abuse. This isnt a super cute fuckin trend you and everyone else should be getting behind much less participating in. Completely distasteful. Disappointed but NOT surprised.

— •Nikki Marie Photo• (@NYCNolita) April 6, 2020

You literally glamorized getting assaulted. Which happens to something extremely triggering for survivors of abusive relationships & those attacked by police. Not only are you and the others (that are getting heat too) romanticizing abuse but you’re triggering millions of people!

— Britney (@wambeyaa) April 6, 2020

Following the backlash, Charles deleted the photo and tried to defend himself by writing that “hundreds of other influencers and artists have done something similar.”

“I deleted the mugshot trend because it was never my intention to trigger anyone & it’s a waste of time trying to have an open discussion with people who hate me regardless,” he said. In another since-removed tweet, he also asked why the cover of The Weeknd‘s new album After Hours — which features the singer with a bloody face — wasn’t seen as “glorifying violence or abuse.”

despite the fact that hundreds of other influencers and artists have done something similar, I deleted the mugshot trend because it was never my intention to trigger anyone & it’s a waste of time trying to have an open discussion with people who hate me regardless ✌🏼

— James Charles (@jamescharles) April 6, 2020

James Charles is so lame. The Weeknd wasn’t following an internet trend. He also wasn’t romanticizing being arrested for retweets

— tÿlor (@guerillabIack) April 6, 2020

Charles then continued to double down on his post in subsequent responses, replying to one user who argued that the trend itself was “triggering to many,” by writing, “I do understand that but this dumb trend has nothing to do with domestic abuse. what about action movies? halloween? special effects? simple bloody noses? this is nothing new.”

I do understand that but this dumb trend has nothing to do with domestic abuse. what about action movies? halloween? special effects? simple bloody noses? this is nothing new

— James Charles (@jamescharles) April 6, 2020

Not only that, but Charles responded to another fan who recounted her own heartbreaking experience with abuse by writing, “hi babe, I’m so sorry that you went through something so awful and traumatic. it’s a TikTok trend going around where people post their ‘mugshots’ and has nothing to do with domestic violence whatsoever.”

hi babe, I’m so sorry that you went through something so awful and traumatic. it’s a tik tok trend going around where people post their “mugshots” and has nothing to do with domestic violence whatsoever. love you

— James Charles (@jamescharles) April 6, 2020

Despite all this though, Charles has since clarified that his initial response was “not an apology.”

this is not an apology lol

— James Charles (@jamescharles) April 6, 2020

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Photo via Getty

James Charles, Trinity ‘The Tuck’ Taylor Feud Over Tucking Panties

On the heels of pushback related to his “insensitive” coronavirus joke, James Charles also got into a heated online exchange over tucking panties with none other than Drag Race All Stars winner Trinity “The Tuck” Taylor.

It all started over the weekend when the beauty YouTuber decided to tweet that he had “tested positive for having a fat ass.” And while a few people used it as an excuse to be thirsty, Charles’ joke ended up falling flat with many commenters, who reminded him that “we’re in a pandemic” and that “people are dying.”

tested positive for having a fat ass 😰

— James Charles (@jamescharles) March 28, 2020

Right. We’re in a pandemic. And James kept on making insensitive jokes CONSIDERING his influences on kids and, well, you.

— Yna Maureen (@elijahjms) March 29, 2020

This is beyond insensitive, people are dying

— Kristen Marie (@JustKristenHere) March 30, 2020

On the other hand, his tweet also ended up provoking a number of roasts from people who quipped that he was “misdiagnosed” or a “false positive.” Amid all these comments though, Taylor’s read — in which she asked, “Fat ass? Girl who diagnosed you? Hellen Keller” — was the one Charles decided to push back against.

“Damn, she must’ve mistook the lumpy silicone in your face as Braille instead of reading my actual test results,” Charles tweeted back at Taylor. “My mistake…. speaking of mistakes, how’s your crown?”

Granted, the sparring didn’t end there. In response, Taylor accused Charles of trying “to break in people’s lines at drag con to meet [her]” and ask for “free product (my tucking panty) for a like and a post.”

Subsequently, Charles ended up refuting Taylor’s assertion by posting a screenshot of his past DM to her, in which he offers to Venmo or PayPal her for a few pairs of tucking panties for Coachella. He also wrote, “You were one of my favorite queens & I was ready for a fun read back but this was weak.”

And though Taylor said that she remembers him “asking in person” at DragCon, Charles tried to end things, but not before writing, “Nah, I needed it for Coachella & haven’t been to DragCon in over a year. If you’re gonna read me, at least come correct.”

“Not sure why you’re taking this so seriously, I actually really enjoy your work and thought the initial tweet was playful!” he said. “Wishing you the best.”

See their exchange, below.

Fat ass? Girl who diagnosed you? Hellen Keller?

— LumpySiliconeCrownedQueenMistake (@TrinityTheTuck) March 29, 2020

Damn, she must’ve mistook the lumpy silicone in your face as Braille instead of reading my actual test results 😢 My mistake…. speaking of mistakes, how’s your crown?

— James Charles (@jamescharles) March 29, 2020

Free? Where?? 🤨 You were one of my favorite queens & I was ready for a fun read back but this was weak 😢

— James Charles (@jamescharles) March 29, 2020

Nah, I needed it for Coachella & haven’t been to dragcon in over a year. If you’re gonna read me, at least come correct. Not sure why you’re taking this so seriously, I actually really enjoy your work and thought the initial tweet was playful! Wishing you the best ❤️

— James Charles (@jamescharles) March 29, 2020

Photos via Getty

James Charles Deletes Video Imitating Latinx TikTok Star Rosa

After substantial online backlash, James Charles deleted a video in which he imitates Latinx TikTok character Rosa.

Last week, Charles found himself at the center of yet another controversy after posting a Snapchat video in which he mimics a clip called “POV: Rosa finds out her 8th period partner is gay.”


POV: Rosa finds out her 8th period partner is gay😭😂 ##fyp ##viral ##foryou

♬ original sound – adamrayokay

You started off so well, then slowly flopped the accent 😂 Regardless can’t be mad, love some Rosa content @jamescharles @ADAMRAYOKAY

— ElPapiChulo (@ElPapiChulo0612) February 22, 2020

However, Charles’s imitation — accent, mannerisms, and all — was quickly met with accusations of racism and appropriation, as Rosa is a character created by Latinx creator Adam Ray Okay.

From eye-roll reaction GIFs to criticism surrounding the “gentrification” of Rosa, many people responded directly to Charles online, writing things like, “I hope you know making fun of a latinx accent like this is racist and that when the OG Rosa does it it’s not cause he is Latinx. Tired of his white ass profiting and making fun of POC.”

“When you are white and you attempt to do a Latino accent but you just end up sounding even more white,” as another person wrote. “Sorry but I did not need to see James Charles ruining my accent on this Tuesday morning. Rosa doesn’t deserve this.”

the most unfunny video on earth like I’m frowning like this is such a buzz kill.. like….

— tr#y (@Troyyxy) February 25, 2020

@jamescharles I hope you know making fun of a latinx accent like this is racist and that when the OG Rosa does it it’s not cause he is Latinx. Tired of his white ass profiting and making fun of POC.

— BERN-EBOY 2020 (@HectorUCalzada) February 25, 2020

James Charles reenacting Rosa’s videos but making her sound white… this is gentrification… can we ever have something to ourselves

— 🔥 (@stephygrande) February 25, 2020

When you are white and you attempt to do a Latino accent but you just end up sounding even more white 💀💀💀

Sorry but I did not need to see James Charles ruining my accent on this Tuesday morning. Rosa doesn’t deserve this.

— ꧁ ᴀᴀʟɪʏᴀʜ ꧂ (@PsychoShortcake) February 25, 2020

Me when James Charles did an impression of Rosa

— Sunny (@that_sleep_life) February 25, 2020

And though Charles never directly addressed the backlash, he did eventually delete the video and subsequently followed up with a cryptic tweet in which he asked people to be kinder online.

“I get that a lot of people don’t like me. I’ve learned to accept & understand it – but the extent that some people on this app are willing to go in attempt to ruin my life is truly sad,” he wrote. “I hope one day people find a way to feel validation without having to bash others for likes.”

See his tweet, below.

I get that a lot of people don’t like me. I’ve learned to accept & understand it – but the extent that some people on this app are willing to go in attempt to ruin my life is truly sad. I hope one day people find a way to feel validation without having to bash others for likes.

— James Charles (@jamescharles) February 26, 2020

Photo via Getty

Is James Charles Actually Dua Lipa?

In a recent video, James Charles addressed what many fans have been wondering for a long time: is Charles actually Dua Lipa? The resemblance between the beauty influencer and the pop star has been a popular topic in memes, tweets and articles.

After a quick comparison of their singing voices, the influencer puts the rumors to rest, before transforming himself into his celebrity doppelganger. “We have seen a lot of Dua Lipa’s iconic musical moments and we’ve also seen some of my less iconic musical moments so I think it is safe to say I am, unfortunately, not Dua Lipa,” Charles says.

Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers

Charles starts the video wearing dark contacts and a green turtleneck to mimic Dua’s style. He then goes on to apply face tape, which is strikingly similar to Dua’s facial structure. Once Charles perfects the face tape, he moves on to the actual makeup application.

After studying Dua’s style on Instagram, noting that she prefers bright colors on the eyes and a fairly even base, Charles attempts to emulate a makeup style that is unlike his own. He uses bronzer to contour the sides of his face and his nose, in order to better replicate Dua’s face shape. After some highlight and blush, Charles moves on to the singer’s signature full eyebrows, utilizing brow gel and marker to achieve the look. The final steps of the transformation include recreating green eyeshadow look seen on the singer, applying a light nude lipstick and laying a blonde wig. What’s a good pop star transformation without a wig?

Related | Dua Lipa’s ‘Physical’ Causes Collective Gay Meltdown

By the video’s end, Charles is “shocked” at the outcome of the transformation. But his fans are really the ones gagging. Personally, we see Dua Lipa impersonation tours in Charles’ future. You never know when the pop star might need a temporary stand-in.

Photo via YouTube

NikkieTutorials Comes Out as Trans

Popular Dutch beauty YouTuber Nikkie de Jager, AKA NikkieTutorials, has come out as trans in a new video posted today. She revealed the truth to her followers under duress, saying that blackmailers had threatened to leak her very personal story to the press.


“Today I’m sharing something with you that I’ve always wanted to share, one day, but under my own circumstances,” de Jager explained in the video, titled “I’m Coming Out.” “And it looks like that chance has been taken away from me. So I’m taking back my own power.”


She continued: “I can’t believe I’m saying this today but damn it feels good to finally do it… when I was younger, I was born in the wrong body. Which means that I am transgender. Filming this video is scary, but it feels so liberating and freeing.”


The YouTuber went on to explain that she was born biologically male, but has known herself to be a woman since birth. She has been presenting as a woman since early childhood, and began the transition process at age 14 by taking hormones and growth stoppers. She’d fully transitioned by 19. “I transitioned while on YouTube,” she said. “Saying that now sounds so crazy to me. I have literally grown up and transitioned into me in front of all of you.”


Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers


She recounts a mostly supportive home and school environment, citing her mom in particular as her biggest supporter. “When my mom was pregnant she told me she was convinced that she was having a girl,” she recalled. “Little did she know, she was actually having a girl.”


Still, she was understandably afraid to tell her 12.4 million YouTube subscribers the truth, for fear of judgment. “The earth is full of labels and I never felt comfortable with labels,” she said. “I wanted to be my own person… You don’t want to be known for that single part of your life. But still, you have to, and that is so hard. And many times I’ve had to tell close friends my true story and it’s heartbreaking, especially after transitioning after going through everything and closing that chapter.”


The vlogger pre-emptively answered a few fan questions, such as whether her (cis) fiancé Dylan is supportive. Thoughtfully, she turned her own experiences into advice for those in similar situations. “When Dylan and I clicked, he didn’t know,” she explained. “He knows now, but I wish I told him sooner… If you’re in the same situation, if you’ve truly fallen in love with someone, you have to tell them. Take it from me. The sooner the better.”


Related | Nikita Dragun Wants You to Live Your Fantasy


De Jager went into more detail about the blackmailing towards the end of the 17-minute-long vlog. She said she had wanted to come out ” under my conditions,” but “apparently we live in a world where other people hate on people who are truly themselves.”


At first she found the threats frightening, but then rose above. “They wanted to leak it because they thought I was lying, or scared to tell my truth,” she said, flipping the bird for the camera. “But I’m not scared. To the people who wanted to blackmail me, this one’s for you.”


Photo via Getty

James Charles Thinks TikTok Is a Dating App

James Charles is pivoting to TikTok to find love, announcing in a video today something he calls, “TikTok Bachelor.”


“I am 20 years old and I am 5’10,” he says introducing himself. “I live in Los Angeles and I am a beauty YouTuber so sometimes I look pretty and when I don’t look pretty I have a pretty fun personality to make up for it. I’m a very hard worker, but in my free time I like horror movies, escape rooms, singing with friends, eating at new restaurants and I have fun nails for back-scratching and cuddling.”


Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers


Explaining the impetus behind picking TikTok as a dating platform, he says, “I made one major observation after downloading TikTok a few weeks ago and that is that this app is pretty much a dating app.” So Charles’ TikTok is his public attempt to get “wifed up.”


“Everyone on here is either in a very cute relationship or is painfully single and unfortunately for me, I fall into that second group of people — surprise, surprise,” he adds. “So, I want to play TikTok Bachelor.”


To apply, all you need to do is make a duet to respond to Charles’ TikTok or simply leave a comment. “This may be the biggest mistake of my life, but who knows what could happen?” he wrote in the caption. While the video hasn’t received many public responses yet, it’ll be interesting to see if Charles does end up finding love through the platform.


The influencer has been vocal about his attempts to find love. In December 2019, he was flooded with criticism for allegedly listing himself as “female” on Tinder in order to supposedly match with “straight men.”


Related | The ‘For You’ Age: How TikTok Conquered 2019


“I deleted dating apps from my phone last week because although I’ve CONSENSUALLY met some great people from them,” he wrote in response. “Unfortunately I receive a lot of harassment from people who only match to take screenshots or make videos & a spectacle of me, thanks to people like you who will not let these FALSE ACCUSATIONS die down.”


Photography: Jeiroh Yanga for PAPER

From How-Tos to Hauls: 10 Years of Beauty YouTube

On 21 September 2009, a 27-year-old single mother from a coastal town in the north east of England became the first beauty YouTuber to launch their own make-up range in Sephora. “By Lauren Luke” was a collection of five skin, lip, and eye palettes by the eponymous creator, ­a former taxi driver who boasted just over 300,000 subscribers at the time. Luke rose to fame by posting easy-to-follow tutorials on her channel Panacea81, mimicking celebrity looks with popular videos such as “Rihanna & Angelina Jolie cat eyeliner eye make up tutorial,” “TAYLOR SWIFT ‘Love story’ Soft bridal make up tutorial,” and even “AVRIL LAVIGNE punk goth emo make up tutorial lesson inspired look.”


To modern eyes, these videos are alarmingly amateur. There are no contouring brushes in sight, Vaseline is recommended as an eyeshadow base, the camera shakes and often refuses to focus. Perhaps the biggest proof that the past is a foreign country comes in a 2009 Forbes interview with Luke. When the journalist writes that her videos “create the perception that anyone can really look like Kylie or take a piece of her look,” they are referring to Minogue, not Jenner.


Related | PAPER’s Top 10 Songs of the ’10s


A decade later and it’s a beauty influencer’s world — we just live in it. Luke recently admitted she earned just £5,000 ($6,550) total from her deal with Sephora. This November, when the second most-subscribed beauty YouTuber in the world, Jeffree Star, launched the Conspiracy Collection with YouTuber Shane Dawson, it sold out in less than 24 hours and earned an estimated $35 million ($10 million of which went directly to Dawson).


In the last decade, we have gone from everywoman beauty YouTubers applying foundation with their hands and smudging their eyeshadow with an index finger, to billionaire beauty gurus creating cut creases with their own range of eyeshadow brushes (link in the description!). How exactly did we get here, and what was the highly pigmented fallout along the way?


Big beauty brands began paying attention to YouTubers after the relative success of Luke’s Sephora launch. In spring 2010, 22-year-old guru Michelle Phan was hired as Lancôme’s “official video make-up artist”, a role which involved showcasing its products in one video a month. She was the first online make-up artist to be hired by a big brand, even though she had just over half a million subscribers, a number that would be considered paltry today.


Related | PAPER’s Top 10 Albums of the ’10s


A host of now-famous fashion and beauty gurus had first joined YouTube about a year earlier, from Bethany Mota to Kandee Johnson to Zoe Sugg to Tanya Burr. In 2011 – without so much as a whisper from the press – Burr’s then-boyfriend’s sisters, Samantha and Nicola Chapman, launched their Real Techniques make-up brush range. While make-up brushes have existed for centuries, the Chapmans’ affordable line revolutionised make-up application for the general public.


“The majority [of women] have grown up using triangle wedges, eye applicators, powder puffs, and even their fingers to apply makeup,” reads the official Real Technique’s website. Recalling how the brand was born, it goes on: “Now that YouTube was coming alive as a way to learn the pro secrets, brushes seemed like the perfect fit.”


The early 2010s were an era when YouTubers stopped parroting trends and started creating them. Celebrity tutorials slowly became less popular, and “how tos” paved the way for “hauls.” Suddenly make-up videos were less about what you could do with the products in your local drugstore, and more about conspicuous consumption. In Michelle Phan’s first ever make-up tutorial, she doesn’t even name the brands she’s using – it’s all about application, and she simply instructs viewers to “find your favourite lip gloss”. In a “My Summer Favorites” video uploaded six years later in 2013, Phan links to 54 different makeup, fashion, and accessory products. The make-up alone (not including skincare) has a combined value of well over $400.


Related | James Charles: Sisterhood Is Stronger Than Subscribers


While regulatory bodies now ensure that online influencers use the hashtags #ad or #spon when they have been paid to promote a product (and declare when their links are affiliated), no such rules existed in the early years of vlogging. Low production values meant many young viewers believed YouTubers were their friends, trusting their recommendations – after all, they were practically there with them, in their bedrooms, learning how to look like Lady Gaga. Yet a lack of disclosure slowly created a sense of distrust – on gossip forums, viewers began questioning why vloggers suddenly praised a brand of make-up wipes they previously slated, or why a mascara they “loooooved” was still sealed.


In hindsight it is fascinating that this distrust didn’t pave the way for greater authenticity, instead leading to our current era of polished and professional beauty YouTubers flaunting unobtainable lifestyles under the hazy white glow of a ring light. As #ad and #spon became more commonplace, viewers weren’t turned off by the rampant profiteering, but instead saw purchasing products as an opportunity to support their favourite personalities. “My wallet: crying. Me: Shut up this is Shane’s moment,” is a comment with 3,600 likes on Dawson’s YouTube video revealing his new Conspiracy Collection. “I’ll never wear these but I had to buy one to support the effort that went into this,” reads a tweet with over 11,000 likes.


If Lauren Luke represents the early, amateur days of beauty vlogging, 20-year-old James Charles represents what it has become now. Charles created his YouTube channel in 2015 and rose to popularity in 2016 when he shared a highlighter-heavy yearbook photo (that was later revealed to be photoshopped). Charles’ career has been dominated by controversy, from ill-advised tweets about Ebola to his recent falling out with fellow guru Tati Westbrook. But nowadays drama doesn’t damage profits, and is instead a route to further success. Though Charles lost one million subscribers after Westbrook condemned him on her channel, he has gone on to regain all of them while simultaneously earning coverage across the international press.


In 2019, beauty vloggers are firmly involved in the tea trade. Money is no longer made just by launching lipsticks, but also by selling secrets. A whole new genre of channels has emerged that profits from spreading gossip and spilling tea about YouTube gurus. AdSense money accumulates quickly under videos exposing stars, and later, videos of those same stars apologising.


We no longer watch make-up tutorials to learn how to do our make-up — we watch them to be entertained. Tutorials have fallen prey to the same algorithms as the rest of YouTube, meaning clickbait (“Puppy Picks My Makeup!”) prospers. Perhaps this was inevitable – perhaps we all mastered our winged eyeliner in 2011, and no longer needed online teachers. Regardless, over the last decade, beauty gurus have transformed the very concept of a normal make-up look, a normal make-up collection, and the normal tools you should use.


Over the last decade, YouTubers have gone from showcasing five products on their face to creating tour videos of their overflowing make-up cabinets, opening drawer after drawer of lipstick. The effect on young fans can be confusing and upsetting – anti-haul YouTuber Lucia Tepper has spoken out about how following beauty gurus as a teen left her buying make-up every time she left the house and exacerbated her anxiety. Beauty gurus themselves have also been emotionally affected. In a video entitled “Why I Left” in June 2017, Michelle Phan explains why she logged off a year earlier. “Once, I was a girl with dreams, who eventually became a product, smiling, selling, selling,” she said.


Lauren Luke still uploads to YouTube, but her most recent video has just 4,000 views. In a video posted in early December, she answers questions from fans, one of which is how she feels about the YouTube beauty community now. “I know it’s not the same as it used to be,” she says. “I do believe when I first started it was innocent, there was no money involved, it was pure, it was innocent, it was creative, it was having fun… It still is that now, but I think for a lot of people it’s very money-driven.”