beauty

"They take like, 40 minutes for one photo." The truth about beauty influencers.

If the James Charles Tati Westbrook saga is your first toe-dip into the beauty influencing world, you might be getting a certain picture painted for you.

Toxic oversharing, bizarre rules about what you can and can’t post because it might upset fellow influencers, and weirdly obsessive followers in the millions that can be launched at others in the industry if they misstep.

Catch up on some of the drama here. Post continues after video.

Video via Tati

Mamamia spoke to Art Simone, a 26-year-old drag artist and influencer from Melbourne, in order to better understand what the beauty space is really like.

For Art Simone, she admits there are elements of the industry she just doesn’t subscribe to.

For some, their main focus is through a phone and not in a present moment. Everything is about that,” said Art Simone of some of her colleagues. 

“They are lovely… they just aren’t there. They aren’t present. It’s a whole other breed of human being,” she admitted.

At one event she went to, Art Simone recalls a group of other influencers approaching her for a photo.

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“There is a giant drag queen covered in glitter standing in front of them, and it was like they weren’t actually there. They look straight through you,” she told Mamamia.

“It was all about getting the photo and not being with me for the photo,” she explained. “And they take like, 40 minutes for one photo,” she added.

But this isn’t the side of the industry that irks Art Simone the most, it’s the inauthenticity that’s started creeping into some beauty influencer’s work.

Art Simone credits her own skills to YouTube tutorials, “I have no qualifications, that’s where I learnt everything I do,” she told Mamamia.

But there is something about some of these tutorials that Art Simone wants us (non-influencers) to understand.

“A lot of it isn’t authentic. You don’t know what they’ve been paid to say or if they actually truly love something they’ve been sent by a brand.

“If you send me a box of chalk and ask me to make it look good, I can. I can make anything look good,” she said.

“It’s very easy through the internet,” she explained.

 

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???? Hair by @unicorn_manes_bymykey using @manicpanicnyc

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When it comes to the James Charles and Tati Westbrook saga, Art Simone thinks the pile on is disgusting and really scary, but doesn’t think this kind of stuff is going away anytime soon.

“It’s water cooler gossip, and we’re eating up what they’re putting down,” she said.

“It’s like a sporting match where we pick sides and scream at the teams to ‘fight fight fight’,” she suggested.

“I think people forget this is real, it’s not a TV screen,” she added.

She says it’s not quite so bad in Australia’s industry due mainly to the fact it’s a lot smaller and a lot more humble than the American world.

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“A lot of the work is America based so there are heaps more beauty influencers over there. When it comes to beauty in Australia, we just get excited when a product finally comes down here,” she laughed.

 

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While Art Simone loves her Instagram family, she doesn’t do anything to gain their approval.

“I don’t want to curate a feed for people, it’s always been about what I want to express and connecting with like minded communities.”

It helps that Art Simone doesn’t have the pressure of social media being her only or main source of income, she has plenty of work coming from other avenues.

“It’s secondary for me, but it has helped me move my career foward,” she told Mamamia. “It adds some legitimacy to me, it’s like my CV,” she said.

Art Simone is most proud of the fact that the world of beauty influencing has made makeup so much more of a form of self expression than it ever was.

“Its always been on the outskirts, but it was mainly emo kids or punk kids. Now everyone does it, and the internet has done that, it’s fabulous,” she said.

She’s interested to see where makeup trends go in the future because they “come and go a lot quicker nowadays,” but thinks influencer brand partnerships will start to change as the industry evolves.

“I just don’t think brands will keep funnelling the same kind of money into sponsored posts. As an audience we know it’s not real,” she said.

She’s intrigued to see what the future of beauty influencing holds, but as far as her involvement goes, Art Simone says she’s just going to stick to what she’s always done:

“Document my work, document my crazy life and spread positivity and happiness. No bullshit.”

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