Ruthie, the 17-year-old makeup influencer behind her eponymous TikTok channel Makeuppbyruthie, set herself apart from the crowd right off the bat. Unlike a typical beauty channel, her videos depart from the glamorous and delve into gore. Her eerie special effects take hours to create, but with 3 million followers on TikTok and 130,000 on Instagram, it’s definitely worth the effort. So far, she’s snagged partnerships with Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, MAC Cosmetics, and Netflix. Read our exclusive interview with the distinctive star to find out how she made it happen.
1. Walk us through your thought process behind the “take off my makeup” challenge you started that now has 300 million hashtag views.
It started out by just being a video where I show the other side of makeup, rather than only showing the glamorous “putting it on” side. Then the idea kind of grew from there. Everyone on TikTok loves satisfying videos—paint mixing, cleaning, etc. I figured the best way to appeal to both the makeup community and overall TikTok trends was to combine the two, and the idea has really taken off!
2. Your gory makeup ideas are extremely popular on your TikTok channel. What do you think makes horror so interesting to people?
I think horror is so interesting because it provides a different perspective to makeup. A lot of makeup is typically super girly themed, but I really love how horror and special effects makeup can be anything you want it to be. Most makeup looks draw engagement primarily from girls, but horror makeup looks in particular really bring a diverse audience because of their versatility. I think that horror makeup also can appeal to a lot more people because of the realism and storytelling that it brings.
3. What do you love about the makeup genre and how would you say you stand out in the genre?
I love the makeup genre because it’s a way where I can truly express myself. I love how welcoming it is and how there really is a place for anybody in makeup. I think I have really formed it into my canvas that I can do anything on. I think I stand out in makeup because I bring a large range to the makeup community, such as normal glam, gothic makeup, face painting, but also horror makeup and SFX makeup.
4. How many makeup drafts do you have in TikTok?
5. What’s the longest time so far you have spent creating a makeup look? Which look?
One of my most recent looks, the cyborg look, is my longest. I ended up spending 10 hours on it total and didn’t finish until 3am—4 hours before I had to go to school!
6. You’re known for sacrificing comfort for an epic makeup look, what was the most uncomfortable/painful makeup look you have ever done?
I definitely push myself to the limit comfort-wise with some of my more adventurous looks! By far the most uncomfortable thing I regularly do is putting liquid latex or even different types of adhesives in my hair line just to get a really finished and clean look. It’s always a pain to get out but the results are almost always worth it!
7. Glow up transitions have been a huge trend for the TikTok MUA community. What would you say makes a “glow up” video so successful?
This might sound like a weird answer but I think a very successful glow up transition is one where you end up looking vastly different than you looked in the first—like a full transformation or evolution. I’ve always loved “glow up” videos that have different levels of transformation, from the hair, the outfit, and of course the makeup.
8. How do you decide which brands to partner with? What values are most important to you in a brand partnership?
When brands reach out to me, first and foremost it’s really important for me to like the product. I value integrity and I never want to promote a product I don’t actually like. I also really value innovation and creativity, so I appreciate when brands are willing to brainstorm with me and allow me creative freedom to create the best sponsored videos for my audience.
9. If you could only pick one beauty icon you are inspired by or look up to who would it be?
Abby Roberts, all of the way! She is my biggest inspiration—her and James Charles are the main reasons I am where I am today.
10. Of all the brands you’ve partnered with so far (Netflix, Dermalogica, Kevyn Aucoin, etc.) which partnership are you most proud of and why?
I’m proud of all the collaborations I’ve gotten since the start, and I’m so incredibly thankful that so many brands, agencies, and artists have been willing to provide me with such amazing opportunities! I really can’t pick one!