Beauty Youtube star Jackie Aina’s mission is to encourage those “often overlooked on social media.” As a woman of color, she was invigorated to start her YouTube channel in 2009 after looking for both a creative outlet and online community to “learn about new makeup techniques for darker skin.”
She says it was challenging to “get people engaged in my content as a darker skin-toned woman.” Explaining that “Most people naturally just assumed I only do makeup tutorials for African American women, not realizing that we come in so many different shades and you don't have to necessarily look exactly like someone to learn a new tip.”
However, her followers and subscribers quickly loved the message she was sharing. Now Jackie’s turned her “hobby and side-hustle” into her “baby and passion,” boasting over a million subscribers.
The woman is also hilarious (her Twitter bio lists her as "Le Bronze James), unafraid to go barefaced, and often addresses the diversity issue the cosmetic industry faces, calling out brands that are “the worst EVER for POC.” Saying as a beauty vlogger it’s her job to side-eye what’s not working.
Her fans are constantly championing Jackie to have a line of her own, something that she’s set as a career goal for herself.
She’s weathered the troll storm on social media a couple of times, recounting a particularly dark time in her life. While in trade school, one of Jackie’s best friends and roommate was killed in a car accident. “Since she lived with me at the time and we shared rent, I had to figure out how I was going to afford rent for the month while being on unemployment and collecting limited earnings from YouTube,” she shares. “I mustered the courage to start a GoFundMe account to get support outside of my closest friends and family and the support my followers was tremendous, but the hate was too.” She says people accused her of using both her friend’s death and her schooling as a way to exploit money from her followers. Both of which were “grossly untrue.”
“I was used to troll comments, but that was on a different level and it was very hard to not to take it really personal. Not only did I lose my friend, but to also be accused of it for personal gain was really hard to deal with at the same time. I think that was the first and last time I got a real taste of just how ugly people on social media really could be, but it made me tougher and I got through it! Luckily the support and encouragement of my real supporters kept me going and I will never forget the way they all rallied together to help support me.”
Now she advises to use prayer and positive affirmations to hoof it (with the help of God) through the hard times. “Do not go out of your way to read negativity about you,” she says. “Block out negative energy as best you can. The people who truly love you are there to criticize you when need be, not random trolls on the internet.”
That experience likely shaped how she feels about female empowerment: “It means uplifting one another before we assume the worse about each other; having each other’s backs!”
She also says that nine times out of 10 she would support a female-owned business before a male-owned business. “Women are just easier to work with and get the job done!” she says. “And we're so used to being pre-judged we are rarely ever given a chance to prove our worth.”
Adding, “I love and value myself a lot more to ever go back to where I was when I first started my channel. I was so, indecisive, easily triggered by things, and not as confident in my career as I am now!”