YouTube beauty star Em Ford, of My Pale Skin Blog, is no stranger to the glaring world of beauty & fashion. A former model, Em is now working full-time at a creative agency pursuing her passion for storytelling and filmmaking. She has since developed her own beauty channel on YouTube — her adjoining blog celebrated it’s one year mark in January 2015. Em’s cheeky and straightforward video tutorials have attracted a sizeable following of 200K+ subscribers and 15M total video views.
Recently there has been an uptick in body acceptance movements, where models and YouTube influencers with seemingly unattainable standards of beauty speak out regarding body shaming, often revealing themselves “sans fards.” While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, the polarity of social media comments is startling.
Em recently garnered attention with her YouTube video campaign #YouLookDisgusting. This blisteringly candid behind-the-scenes reveals the internet’s response to her video where she reveals herself with and without makeup. Her message is clear: “One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we’re so used to seeing false images of perfection, and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing: you are beautiful.”
Despite her popularity, Em’s success is far from a fairy tale. Disillusioned by the modeling industry, and going through an intense period of self-esteem issues stemming from devastating personal experiences, Em used her passion for beauty as a creative outlet to break through her depression. Suffering from acute acne, Em’s YouTube videos reveal how perfection as seen in the media is an unrealistic expectation for both women and men.
Reaching close to 12M views in a week shows how such an honest theme resonates with a broad audience. What’s shocking isn’t her transformation from acne problem skin to flawless complexion, it’s the nature of the comments. When she reveals herself without makeup, ugly comments such as “WTF is wrong with her face,” “her face is so ugly,” and the titular “you look disgusting.” As the video transitions into her makeup application and eventual finished look, the comments are saccharine: “you look amazing” to “you’re so perfect.” As deplorable as the primary comments may be, the comments take on an even more derisive tone, “this is amazing but so gross,” “this is false advertising,” and “this is why I have trust issues.” Em resolves to stand fast against these cyber bullies, proving that words do cut deep, but they won’t bring her down.
#YouLookDisgusting is a captivating viral video campaign that sheds light into the world of beauty bloggers and YouTube influencers. Despite an endless stream of compliments and fans, cruel words over the internet do matter, and that in the end we are our harshest critic. Ms. Ford’s message to us is “you are beautiful – no matter how flawed you feel, no matter how upset you may feel about the way you look or how hard you find it to make friends, or be confident. Believe in yourself, and never let anyone tell you that you’re not beautiful – not even yourself.”
The world of beauty and fashion is in constant metamorphosis with rapidly changing trends. Enthusiasts, brands, and professional social media beauty gurus like Em Ford utilize their YouTube video platforms and channels to reach their fans with enormously vast reach, shares, follows, and engagement.