James Charles And The Odd Fascination Of The Youtube Beauty Wars

by MR Magazine Staff

In a recent Monday, the beauty influencer James Charles made his way up the pink-carpeted steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as a first-time attendee of the annual Costume Institute Gala. Charles, a nineteen-year-old who has become known in the past three and a half years for sharing makeup tutorials on his popular and lucrative YouTube channel, was wearing a diaphanous Alexander Wang top, custom-made of scores of safety pins, coupled with a pair of cinched and shiny black trousers. His face was painted and contoured, as it often is, to dramatic effect—his skin matte, his dark eyeliner winged, his lips a deep taupe. Compared with the other celebrities at the Met, like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, Charles was a relative nobody. But among beauty vloggers on YouTube whose followers number millions—many of them Gen Z-ers fluent in the medium—Charles is a superstar. When he began his career, Charles was an unknown gay teen-ager who dabbled in makeup while living with his parents in a small town in upstate New York. And though his fortunes have risen exponentially since then—he served as the first male spokesmodel for CoverGirl, came out with his own makeup and athleisure collections, and reportedly made millions along the way—his persona, which captivated early fans, has remained unchanged. Read more at The New Yorker.