By Yetunde Adeyeri
Glamour Magazine US has released its 2019 Women of the Year All Year list, celebrating 12 influential women in the beauty industry and YouTuber, Jackie Aina was awarded the Power Influencer of the year.
Jackie Aina is a 32-year-old American beauty YouTuber. She advocates for visibility of People of Color in the cosmetic industry. After studying medicine for two years in college, Aina joined the United States Army Reserve. While she was stationed in Hawaii, she found that she had a knack as a makeup artist and was hired by MAC Cosmetics. According to Entrepreneur, Aina “kept getting told at makeup counters that the trends she wanted to try wouldn’t work for her complexion”, and so she started creating videos “about the products and looks she loved that could work for anyone.
She has partnered with e.l.f. Cosmetics, Too Faced, Sephora and Sigma Beauty. The Nigerian- American YouTuber has worked with high-end beauty brands including Too Faced and just launched a new palette with premium beauty brand Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Speaking about why they chose Jackie for the honor, Glamour writes, “The 32-year-old social media star isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Her blunt beauty commentary, as well as her sense of humor and infectious personality, have earned her more 3 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.2 million followers on Instagram. From singing her “Jackie” theme to referencing memes left and right, she films videos that are impossible to watch without cracking a smile. While she started her channel with a traditional tutorial style, she really hit her stride when she let her personality shine through. ”
Jackie admits that she really hit her stride when she decided to simply be herself and show the world who she really was. In an interview with Glamour, she explained, “I just thought, What if people really got to see how weird and crazy I am?”
Glamour continues with their praise of Jackie and the tireless work she does with brands in regards to diversity and inclusivity. “Aina brings an unparalleled joy to a space that can sometimes devolve into pettiness and drama. Instead of engaging in the internet’s prevalent call-out culture, she voices her thoughts with the intent to create change. This has included calling out brands when they aren’t being inclusive, holding other influencers accountable, and addressing colorism in the industry with conviction.”
Jackie reveals that she hopes that brands will heed her words of advice, “I truly mean this wholeheartedly, whenever I talk about brands, I want them to actually implement that feedback and use it to their benefit.”
Not only is Aina calling on brands to do better, but she also weaves necessary discussions of cultural appropriation and representation into her videos. Her viral “colorblind makeup tutorial is evidence that viewers watch, and appreciate, content that directly addresses these issues. Aina recalls that early on in her career, a subscriber approached her and told her she had previously hesitated to wear red lipstick because her skin was too dark.
But Aina, through her channel, had shown her she could feel beautiful. “It’s always the ‘thank you for teaching me that dark skin isn’t punishment and isn’t ugly’ moments that tell me I’m doing something worthy,” she tells Glamour.