Social capital has become a major consideration for many people, even for those of us who don’t have plans to become internet stars.
Even when our social media followers consist entirely of friends and family, it feels good to share special moments and sometimes even the more mundane aspects of daily life.
But starting an online brand and making it your profession is a different story entirely. If you’ve ever tried to get a YouTube channel going, then you already know exactly how difficult it can be.
There is a huge amount of competition on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram, so it’s even more impressive when a truly original and unique content creator rises above the fray and finds success.
Twinkle covers makeup, skincare, and general beauty tips, as well as creating vlog-style posts about more personal topics. With nearly 700,000 subscribers on YouTube and approximately 60,000,000 total views, it’s hard for a viewer to imagine Twinkle as being anything other than extremely successful.
But during our interview with her, Twinkle told us all about the days when she was still a small fish in a big pond, and what it took to grow her channel into what it is today.
We also talked about the unrealistic standards set for internet celebrities and the positive dynamic between creators and fans.
You’ll find our full interview with Twinkle below.
What has it been like to create a community of followers and fans? Did you expect your channel would take off so quickly?
It’s definitely very challenging to build a community starting from zero subscribers. It felt like forever and I’m still just getting started.
I thought it would take me at least a decade to hit 100,000 subscribers. The secret to building a community on social media means being real always and producing the best content you can, consistently. It’s the best feeling to have a group of people who genuinely love and watch you for who you are.
Sometimes I really think about how this is my reality. I can be crying, ranting, and talking about my broken toe and fans comment “We’re here for you.” Insane, right? Everyone talks to me like I’m their best friend and I would never want to change that. I genuinely think that I have the best audience, and sometimes my comment section is way more entertaining than my own content.
People always message me about ways my videos help them through a bad day. Little do they know that their comments make my entire week. However, it definitely gets harder to please half a million people every day. With every video you make, you set the bar higher. My channel blew up right after I finished university. I remember thinking, “Wow, 70,000 subscribers? There’s no way I can rely on that, I need to find a 9-to-5 job.”
Just as I was thinking that, my Worst Reviewed video blew up. In a matter of three to four days, my views went from six to 7,000,000. I did not expect any of this to happen overnight. I still remember looking at my notifications that day, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
As someone who reports on the beauty sector, do you feel there are certain expectations for your content and the way you present yourself? Have these expectations ever been constricting?
I love creating different makeup looks so I don’t think I’m ever going to completely stop doing tutorials on my channel. However, I have to say that the makeup industry on YouTube can be draining and exhausting because it can get messy very quickly.
It’s really weird to me how people sometimes ask influencers to be authentic, more honest, less filtered but at the same time when you show your real self, people want to change you. I have friends who do whatever they want, they get fillers and botox and live their best life, and they get rude and mean comments every single day.
On the other hand, I’m terrified of needles and blood. I watched this big YouTuber the other day talk about having tiny lips and how people ask her to get filters because her lips were non-existent. This is too funny. There’s no way you can win! In the beauty industry, everybody is really serious, you need to have the perfect lined lips, perfect eyeliner, perfect blush, perfect blended contour, and you need to look your best every single day, which is something I can never live up to.
That’s why I choose to stay away from only doing makeup tutorials. I like to add a little bit of a Q and A and story time to make it more light and lively. People always look up to influencers to address things that happen worldwide which is completely insane to me. People expect more from influencers than their political leaders. We can not be the voice for every single movement, it’s pretty irresponsible to expect that.
Have you enjoyed your experiences working directly with brands?
I absolutely love working with brands. A lot of times I get messages from fans who own small businesses and ask for a little shout out, and I love helping them out when I can!
The very first brand that reached out to me was WUNDER2BROW, they were the first brand to send me a free PR card when I had little to no subscribers. I think I had almost 4,000 followers on Instagram and it was a big deal to me back then. I was just starting off my channel and felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. When I was just about to give up, I received an email from them and still remember that moment to this day. I screamed so loud in my house and was super happy about it, I couldn’t sleep!
Has your approach to making videos changed at all since you first started?
Oh wow, definitely. If you watch my older videos, you can see how nervous I was and how I wasn’t used to talking in front of the camera. I was even shy to share my videos online and promote them. So, I would just post them on my story saying “Hey guys if you want you can watch it,” and that’s how I used to promote my videos.
I wasn’t confident enough and I don’t really think that was the real Anncy. Sometimes I would say inappropriate things and was very sarcastic in my videos. I would edit those parts out because I felt like I needed to follow this perfect YouTube personality and be nice, be cool, be a lady, not cussing, and follow this cookie-cutter personality.
I pretended to be somebody that I wasn’t and it got really exhausting. Some days I’d slip up and my real personality would sneak through. So I stopped pretending and the real Anncy came through after a little over 100,000 subscribers. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the fake Anncy.
How did you first get the idea for the Worst Reviewed/Best Reviewed series?
I remember my friend and I were watching YouTube videos and in my recommended box I saw this girl who made a video all about the worst salon she visited and how it was the worst experience of her life.
It was really funny to watch and it was a very interesting concept. She went by herself and she got this whole makeover done. I remember looking at my friend and I told her I wanted to do this but that I wasn’t confident enough to do it by myself. She said she would come along, and I was super excited to film it.
But after a few days, she told me she was super busy, so luckily I had another friend who wanted to hang out that day so I decided to pick her up instead and then we headed to the salon. The rest is history.
What is your favorite aspect of being a content creator?
My favorite part about being a content creator is the fact that I can share everything and anything I want, including the ups and the downs. I love talking to an audience and seeing this more as a hobby than a job so it’s the best feeling to generate income from something you actually enjoy. It’s never ” Ugh I have to film a YouTube video now.” It’s more like, “oh my god I literally cannot wait to film this and edit it once I’m back home!” I would not change it for the world. I’m also extremely thankful for my super amazing audience! They make me crack up feel so supported.
Has your channel given you the opportunity to meet or talk to other creators and YouTubers?
Fun story time: I used to watch this YouTuber named Lailli Mirza and her sister Alizey, the only funny and interesting YouTubers back in the day who were from Dubai that I could relate to. They drove past the same street that I drove through and went to the same mall that I went to.
They also have the same opinions as me about everything! I absolutely loved her channel and watched it religiously every single day. I remember she was vlogging open in public and I thought to myself, “How is she that confident?”
That same day I looked at my friend and told her, if she can vlog in public, I can too! So the next day, I purchased a camera. Two years later, I’m actually close friends with her and we meet every other day to film content and help each other grow. This is still so unreal. I have so many other internet friends and this really has made it the best job in the world.