When she was young, MissGlamorazzi was a tomboy.
Now, 24-year-old Ingrid Nilsen of the famed YouTube beauty channel that has amassed more than 1.3 million subscribers, makes a living being girly and glamorous.
A career as a beauty maven was never her plan: The first thing Nilsen ever wanted to be was a teacher. Then her ambition moved to animation and by late middle school, Nilsen was sure she’d be an architect. In fact, she carried that dream to college, choosing it as her major.
It wasn’t until her makeup-savvy college roommate introduced her to her first high-end mascara during a study abroad in Paris, that she became hooked, diving into the YouTube beauty scene and making it her mission to learn what the pros knew.
After swimming in makeup videos for a summer, Nilsen decided to film her own, but not because she was confident in her ability. With the exception of spiders, being on camera was her number one fear and she intended to conquer it.
“I really made the video to try and make myself a more confident person,” Nilsen says. “So, I made my channel at like 3 a.m. and then posted a video the next day. It just felt good to put the video up there whether people were watching it or not.”
But people were watching and asking to see more, so she kept posting.
At first, by her own admission, her videos were less than stellar. She even removed her first hair curling tutorial citing poor lighting, mumbles and appearing as though she were “in a bat cave,” she says giggling.
When Nilsen signed with YouTube talent network, Big Frame, in August 2011, that’s when things got real, she says.
“It really kind of solidified everything as a business, like ‘OK this is what I’m going to do’,” she says. “They’ve been a big part of helping me grow my channel.”
Since then, she’s taken on brand partnerships with companies like BH Cosmetics and does some sponsored content. She also collaborates with other YouTubers like Tyler Oakley and Elle Fowler, and draws a crowd at events. She is able to fully support herself as MissGlamorazzi.
Nilsen built a brand as she built her following, but branding isn’t just about business to her.
“Building a brand means staying true to who I am,” she says. “And that means having whatever it is that I’m putting out there in the world, truly reflect who I am and the things that I love.”
There aren’t any MissGlamorazzi branded items yet, but within the next five years, Nilsen hopes to launch a product line or a company. Something, she says, that will be sustainable beyond the life of her YouTube channel.
Ask Nilsen to describe herself and you get one surprising answer and two that are just what you’d expect from this cheerful entrepreneur: She says she’s “dedicated, nerdy [surprise], and just very happy.”
Nilsen is motivated to continue growing the MissGlamorazzi brand, which she sees as a way to show young girls they can overcome fears and become whatever they want.
“I was so shy and so not confident,” she says. “And I really just want to spread that message to girls and kind of cultivate a new generation of confident young women.”
Come back tomorrow as VideoInk continues its weeklong special issue on the “Business of Beauty on YouTube.”