‘James Charles’ Instant Influencer’
As a blogger I know how hard it can be to come up with good ideas for new content to keep people coming back, (Today an idea kinda fell into my lap though 😉) and as a YouTuber, James Charles is obviously aware of this too. In his latest social media announcements, beauty influencer and guru James Charles excitedly let the world know that his upcoming Reality Show, developed in partnership with YouTube and BGM (Brian Graden Media), was a NEW, fresh idea and that the show will be hosted, executively produced and judged by Charles himself. As ideas for content go, has he nailed it or is this just another ’bout in the fight for clout’ within the American beauty community? A community that seemingly spins on a drama sixpence? Here’s my hot take …
Aside from being an iconic makeup artist and a star of social media, James Charles can often found at the epicentre of controversy or playing one of the lead roles in the soap opera that is the American Beauty Community. He has made some arguably MEGA mistakes, blaming them on either his age, his lack of experience or mental health issues. However, with the help of his team, a few ‘tearful’ apology vids, new merch, another collab and increasingly zany content (An example of how ‘ZANY’ would be the recent ‘Rapping My Makeup Routine’ upload- I shit you not and THAT masterpiece has 1.3M views), even when Charles’ subscriber numbers were dropping faster than a sailor-on-shore-leave’s bell bottoms, he managed to bounce back, apparently unscathed, with his business in tact! Charles, unbelievably not only sucessfully side-stepped the new social media trend of ‘cancel culture’ but, despite the ‘haters’ and the loss of a number of previously close friends, he now has 16.3M subscribers, a net worth of £9 million, and from his, not-too-shabby, mansion in LA, has been planning this new reality show for over 3 years. But, let’s get a little context and perspective here: Charles also stated that he’d been working HARD on his NEW mini-palette and accompanying brush collection collab with Morphe for over a year and yet these so called NEW releases were exact, but scaled down, copies of those him and Morphe originally launched. Erm … How hard, James? How much work does it really take to produce a re-work of an old, existing idea?
Now, before I spill any more tea a word to, and about, the Sisterhood aka James Charles’ followers, aka stans, aka Sisters, aka subscribers, aka fans. Undeniably the Sisters ARE a loyal bunch who gun for anyone (and that would now presumably include me, despite the objective opinions in this blog) who dares to say anything remotely negative about their God-like-guru. Yep, the Sisters load their weapons with ‘cancel culture’ and shoot from the hip at those who express anything other than hero-worshipping support for Charles. Obviously this kind of fan loyalty is nothing new: in the sixties we had Beatle Mania, in the 90s help lines were hurriedly set up to offer support to Take That fans when the band split up. Now, in an era when ‘FAME’ has taken on a different meaning and made a new home for itself on social media platforms, not to mention fame being an easier to realise, reachable goal for those with very different, or even no, talent, ‘fan’s have a wider and varying stage from which to choose their idols. The historical and hysterical loyalty has, however, not changed at all. So, the passion with which the Sisters stand by Charles is completely understandable. However, given that the average age of Charles’ Sisterhood is 14, their naivety could be a key factor in their allegiance. Older fans would’ve no doubt been disgruntled by the high costs of Charles’ proposed ‘meet and greet’, his merch, his palette and so on. Older fans may have been somewhat perturbed by the Coachella incident, the Westbrook v Charles debacle, the kiss and tells and other dramas involving James Charles. The kids who look up to him, however, simply go to their parents for the cash to buy tickets/merch/collabs, don’t necessarily have a grip on the severity of the alleged Coachella cock-ups, probably don’t watch or relate to Ms Westbrook, and lack the maturity to judge the kiss and tell. These kids live in a time, and spend hours watching content, where drama and tea are ‘the norm’. So, despite the Sisters now undoubtedly having me on their ‘hit-list’, I do completely understand why my name may appear on said list. We ALL need something to believe in, someone to look up to, someone to love. For the Sisters that something and someone is James Charles. Their passions and staying firm in the support of who ever these kids decide to idolise should be encouraged, they are a right of passage!
Ok, having hopefully placated the Sisters, what do we know about the show?
- The show has the working title ‘James Charles Instant Influencer
- It’s set to debut in Spring 2020
- Episodes will be released weekly directly on Charles’ YouTube channel – FOR FREE!
- YouTube is funding the four-part series
- As of yesterday the ‘audition’ process began with US residents, over 18 years with an active YouTube Beauty channel being invited to submit their applications, showing off their makeup skills by 21st November.
- The selected six contestants will participate in various beauty challenges, in front of guest celeb judges, beauty industry moguls and Charles himself, in LA.
- Then show executive producers will be James Charles and his manager, Jake Walsh and co-produced by BGM.
- The winner will receive $50,000 and some very useful, money can’t buy exposure.
- The show will also give viewers a ‘true’ insight as to how the US Beauty Influencer Community actually works
- Charles is super excited and proud to be the first person to do a series like this!
Hold the bloody phone and shut the makeup case. What was that last point? A first? Oh right, so, Simon Cowell has never exectutively produced and judged anything that could be referred to as a reality, competition type show then? I am sure Mr Cowell will be thrilled when he learns that someone has taken his show formats (X-Factor and [insert name of country here]’s Got Talent) into the beauty arena, and tickled pink that someone is so impressed by Simon’s job titles that they have bestowed them upon themselves. And I … OOOP!
Being resident in the US Charles can be forgiven for overlooking a little thing we Brits call ‘The beeb’ (aka The BBC) and their particularly well-recieved BEAUTY COMPETITION show entitled ‘Glow Up’. That series had guest judges from the beauty industry and set the contestants various Beauty challenges each week. Just a minute, this all sounds extreemly familiar. And I … OOOP
In their article ‘James Charles to Host YouTube’s First Beauty Influencer Competition Series…’ Variety’s Todd Spangler even acknowledges that Charles is “… launching a ‘Project Runway’ STYLE reality competition show….” For those who may not know, Project Runway is an American show that invited talented fashion designers to showcase their skills by competing in a series of challenges. Am I the only one who can see a theme here? ‘Project Runway’ is an apple, ‘Glow Up’ a banana, ‘X-Factor’ is a damson, ‘Britain’s/America’s Got Talent’ is a papaya and I’m really sorry to be the pedantic pin that bursts Charles’ “It’s a FIRST” bubble, but ‘James Charles Instant Influencer’ is an orange. Ergo they are all fruits on the branches of the tree that is ‘Reality Competition Show’! Those branches are all very similar, and ORANGES are not, in point of fact, the only, unique or first, damn fruit!
It could also be argued that the FIRST show on YouTube that gave viewers the inside scoop on what life as a Beauty Influencer is actually all about was the very recent collab between Jeffree Starr & Shane Dawson (the latter very much being a NEW beauty influencer) in ‘The Beautiful World of Jeffree Starr’. A fact that didn’t escape the followers of Charles, Starr & Dawson on Twitter as many took to tweeting their own observations & opinions regarding the Starr & Dawson series and its similarities to Charles’ proposed show. Nor did it go under the interwebs’ radar that Charles decided to make this annoucement on the very same day as Jeffree Star was celebrating his birthday. And I … OOOP! (The next blog in the ‘My Hot Takes On …’ series, will probably focus on the Dawson/Starr series, and will be uploaded, if and when Shane Dawson adds the muchly anticipated final chapter).
Last but not least, James Charles’ show will not be a first for YouTube either as I discovered today on the interwebs: YouTube have already funded other collab type shows with various other influencers. And I… Ooop.
Enough, I have made my point. Regardless of these points, I will, like countless others tune into Charles’ new series when it starts in Spring, and I do wish him well in his endeavours, because if nothing else, whilst I have maligned him for taking an existing idea (already evident in numerous forms) and Charleserising it/them, he should be applauded for his enthusiasm, his determination and entrepreneurial ‘reach for the stars’ attitude. Admittedly his lack of experience in social relationships has led to a number of friendships being lost, seemingly never to be rekindled, and as he strives onwards and upwards to achieve his self-set goals, Charles will probably loose a few more pals, as his self belief knows no bounds, and is bolstered by an undeniable, if sometimes misplaced in credit terms, creativity. If it’s done right, however, Charles will doubtless arise from the show he’s set to executively produce, as the influencer with a heart of gold who gave a micro influencer a chance to become much more. Opinions regarding the shows’ success will depend on whether you ‘stan’ with or ‘stand back’ from the man himself.
Thanks for reading,