Beauty has no gender.
In the last decade, to the public eye, the beauty industry has drastically transformed. Gender inclusivity and men in makeup appeared in full force, with a handful of household names emerging as pioneers of the male beauty industry: James Charles, Jeffree Starr, Manny MUA, Bretman Rock, and Patrick Starr, among others.
Many of the industry’s leading brands jumped on the trend, featuring male models and artists in everything from marketing to product launches and major social campaigns. However, many people in the beauty community believe that these big-name companies treated male beauty boys not as a revolution, but rather as a passing fad.
What are we left with now? There is a drastic opposition between two sectors of the beauty industry: corporate marketing and social media. While major brands continue to advertise with a heteronormative approach, social media tells a different story.
On YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, Gen-Z beauty boys have developed an incredible following and unique brand just by harnessing the power of social media. Despite the lack of gender-inclusive marketing at major brands, these influencers don’t need the recognition of mainstream cosmetics brands to find success. From starting their own businesses to inventing new ways to glam, these creators chatted with VGL about their own personal passions, missions, successes, and what beauty means to them.
Here are four inspiring and powerful artists under the age of 20 who defy the outdated, gendered standards of the beauty industry – and look gorgeous while doing it.
I’m a 19-year-old makeup artist based in Australia, originally from the Philippines. I feel like I’ve been in the beauty world ever since I was born. I grew up with my cousins in the Philippines and most of them participated in drag beauty pageants. As a small 5-year-old kid, I always watched the behind-the-scenes of my older cousins getting ready, applying their makeup, and doing their hair, completely enamored by all the extravagant gowns they wore.
As cliche as it sounds, I’ve always believed in the saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Whatever YOU define as being beautiful, is, and will always be, beautiful. I believe that beauty stems from the inside. Beauty is not defined by how you look, but the way you treat people and the energy you radiate.
In many ways, the beauty industry is both outdated and up-to-date, but there’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to inclusivity. Featuring BIPOC in beauty campaigns, advertisements, collaborations, and amplifying voices NEEDS to be normalized. The beauty industry is progressing in some ways, but it needs to do more to be more inclusive. It starts with us individuals pushing big brands and companies to feature and collaborate with BIPOC.
Social media is such a big part of my life. I believe it gives people a fair chance to be heard and to express themselves through different mediums of art. No matter where you’re from, who you are, and what you do, as long as you’re hard-working and kind to others, you’ll be creating a ripple of inspiration to many. Makeup is an escape for me and social media helps me deliver my work to an audience who appreciates what I appreciate, which is creating art to inspire.
My personal mission as an influencer is to inspire and motivate those who are looking for guidance and who are figuring out their way. I myself took inspiration from fellow Filipino influencers and found the drive to create my own art and inspire others. I always think to myself, if they can do it, then I can do it too.
Lance Aguas (@lanceaguas)
I’m a 16-year-old creator/influencer. I entered the beauty world when I was just 14-years-old. I started posting my makeup looks on Instagram and people loved it!
My definition of beauty is how beautiful your personality is. You will never be beautiful if you don’t have good intentions. Accepting your flaws and imperfections is what beauty is all about.
I think the beauty industry is outdated in its lack of diversity. Many brands keep releasing makeup that is not for everyone. Every brand should have diversity in all aspects.
Honestly, social media is so exciting and scary at the same time. But I’m so thankful for everything it’s done for me. It boosts my confidence as a person and helps me to be a better person every single day.
My personal mission as an influencer is for my followers to accept their imperfections. I want them to know that there’s nothing wrong about having acne. I want to make them feel happy and confident about themselves.
Jakobe Jay (@jakobejay)
I’m a 19-year-old makeup artist and creator. I entered the beauty world during my senior year of high school, through the inspiration of James Charles! I think beauty is so subjective, and my definition of beauty has such a wide range. To me, beauty is in every race, gender, and size.
The beauty industry is outdated and needs to be improved overall by including more BIPOC in ad campaigns and marketing. I think that brands aren’t thinking about us, and how much we actually contribute to this industry.
Social media plays a HUGE role in my life. In fact, it actually changed my life. To me, social media is more than a job or a business. Every day, I wake up and realize how much I’m actually making a change and influencing my audience.
My personal mission as an influencer is not only to inspire BIPOC, but queer youth everywhere to be themselves. I think it’s so important to show not only beauty brands but brands overall that they need to be more inclusive.
Mason Mitchell (@masonnmitchelll)
I’m a 16-year-old self-taught makeup artist. I started my makeup journey on June 13, 2019, and fell in love with makeup. I’ve always loved the idea of being me and expressing myself, especially as a boy in makeup. My definition of beauty is that you are beautiful no matter who you are. I genuinely think beauty comes from the inside. You never want to judge a person because of the way they look. Makeup is a form of beauty and creativity. With makeup, you are able to express your talent and artistry to others, hopefully helping them to learn and express themselves.
The beauty industry can be quite controversial at times, but usually, the community is able to move on and grow from their mistakes. As far as how it needs to be improved, I think that all makeup artists or anyone in the community need to be positive and always support each other, regardless of their number of followers.
Social media plays a big role in my life. I’m not only a makeup artist but I’m also an influencer. I’ve always wanted to be an influencer because I love expressing my feelings to help others grow and be happy, as well as helping others to be themselves! No human should have to hide who they truly are.
My personal mission as an influencer is not only to grow and have a very positive impact, but I want to make a difference in the world that we live in today by helping people. I want to be very transparent with my supporters because being an influencer doesn’t make your life perfect.