Saturday, January 29, 2011



As the saying goes, you learn something new every day.

So I’m watching some YouTube videos about a certain brand of purse that I like, when I stumble across a young teen doing one of those “What’s in My Purse” segments. These are quite common on YouTube, people telling all about what they carry in their handbags, where to get this stuff, what they use it for, etc. I’ve watched a few of these before but this one was different. I was really impressed with the girl in this video—so well-spoken and sincere, not to mention absolutely darling. In fact, with her long blonde hair and delicate features, she was so pretty that she could probably be a model.

I watched some of her other 80-plus videos, and soon discovered that she is what’s known in Internet-land as a “beauty guru”. She and others make instructional self-help videos sharing their knowledge and insight in the world of makeup, hair, fashion and all-around coolness. These young ladies and women don’t need experience, many are self-taught. Apparently all you need is a winning personality, a desire to help people, a good camera and lots of makeup. There are even online articles and websites with tips on becoming a famous YouTube guru. Who knew? (Hey, that rhymes!)

So, back to the girl: her user name is “beautyxxgoddess”, and her real name is Mimi. She’s a fairly young teen, only about 14 or 15 in the videos (she started out while still in braces), but in my opinion presents herself well and seems mature for her age—despite sometimes using the typical teen words such as “like” and “totally”. Her videos are clear and close-up, and offer a wide selection of beauty-related topics; besides showing us what’s in her purse, she also tutors us on subjects such as “Every Day Summer Makeup Routine”, “Favorite Lip Products for Summer”, “Outfit of the Day”, “Fall Nail Polishes!”, “My Skincare Routine”, “What I Got for Christmas” and the ever-popular “Curling Irons 101”. She even gives us a detailed tour of her bedroom. Apparently these are popular on YouTube, too—people showing their rooms, even opening their closets and drawers for all to see. While watching some of these, I have almost felt like a snoop, until I remind myself that they put this stuff out there willingly. Still, I find it amazing that they show so much online. I do like looking at girly stuff, though—always fun to see how people decorate their rooms!

Also from what I have learned is that if a guru becomes real popular and gets lots of subscribers to her video channel, she will also magically have free beauty products sent to her and even get paid for promoting and demonstrating them. These “sponsorships” is what lures a lot of people into trying their hand at becoming an Internet star. Mimi is lucky; she has close to 50,000 subscriptions. That’s a lot! To put it into perspective, I have zero subscriptions. And I’m “Cindybin”! Yet barely anyone watches my meager selection or even knows who I am on YouTube. So that tells you just how popular Mimi is. Even if you’re not into hair and makeup, I’m sure people tune in just because she’s so adorable.

But not everyone fancies her, I have also found out. I’ve read some of the mean comments after Mimi’s videos, and I even found a message board dedicated to YouTube beauty gurus with a long thread where people do nothing but bash her. Page after page, these kids and grown adults put her down, call her a spoiled rich girl, annoying, bored-looking, flat-chested, stuck up, etc. Some have even spread her personal information. And the LANGUAGE many of them use—it’s just unbelievable. I saw four-letter words all over those boards. I was so incensed I made a post on that site defending Mimi and chastising them for their foul language (which I’m sure went over REAL well) and then left. I realize that when you are on the Internet you are open for criticism—look what happened to me on those old Yahoo boards just for speaking up against marijuana and trying to dispel misconceptions about low-carb diets! But what they said and did is uncalled for. She’s just a kid! They distorted her words and were just so cruel. I’m sure Mimi is not perfect—nobody is—but I never got the impression that she was stuck up, bored, or even remotely annoying. I showed a few segments to Mr. Bin and he agreed with me completely that she seems professional, sweet and sincere.

In one of her videos, she gives tips on becoming a YouTube beauty guru. Among them she stresses the importance of being yourself.

“Don’t try to take traits from other people that you think are cool, because people are going to pick up on that and it’s going to be really annoying,” she says.

Mimi also advises investing in a good-quality camera and to look presentable.

“I know when I first started out I wore t-shirts,” she says. “I didn’t do my hair or anything like that and it’s just more fun to watch. If you’re going to watch a beauty guru, you want to watch them for fashion and makeup and hair and all this stuff, so you kind of want to see them looking cute.”

Lastly, she admonishes any teens aspiring to be a video star to let their parents know.

“I had to tell my mom after I got my first sponsorship. How was I supposed to explain to my mother why there were free products showing up at our doorstep? So, try to tell your mom before you start making videos. I think for the majority of the time she’s going to be okay with it but I know that a lot of other parents aren’t, so just kinda be careful with that,” she says.

Getting paid to make videos. Hmm, that sounds kind of nice. I do plan on making a video soon about my dog purses, but maybe I should become a beauty guru. Only trouble is, I’m not much into makeup, I do nothing with my hair, and my idea of fashion is a t-shirt and sweat pants. Real glamorous. Not to mention one close-up and I’d break the camera, and that would be the end of my career. Oh well. I guess we can’t all be beauty goddesses. Otherwise there would be nobody to watch to get those fascinating tips and tricks!

So here are a couple of Mimi’s segments. There are other gurus out there and I might feature some of them in future “video picks”, but I think you’ll enjoy these for the time being. Have fun—and go easy on the eye-liner!

Makeup Collection and Room Tour:

Back to School Makeup Tutorial:

What’s in My Purse?