There’s no secret that the beauty industry is home to an insane variety of people from all over the world. From the bloggers who thrive off the LA-vibes to the hectic city girls of New York, the beauty bloggers of the world are storming the industry by voicing their art through Instagram and YouTube, garnering over 15 million followers worldwide and pushing for the creation of events like Sephoria and BeautyCon (which has some drama right now, but we’ll get to that later).
Among these influencers is Jenel Young, a young woman I had the pleasure of meeting at a convention in Norfolk, Virginia, while she was competing in a dance event with her friends. Over time and distant communication, she has developed into a blooming beauty guru in New York, making a name for herself and the brands she represents.
If you were to look at Jenel’s beauty setup, you’d find toners from Innisfree, a notable South Korean beauty brand known for their Jeju Island-sourced ingredients, and a Nature Republic Aloe mist. Her makeup supply ranges from L’Oreal to Morphe, a brand that doesn’t fail to grace the bags of makeup-lovers and influencers alike. Her beauty collection combines the local with the international favorites of makeup artists, combining what some people may know and what some might now. With a number of beauty gurus who are steadily gaining public attention, Jenel is someone to look out for as she challenges the standards and fights for her place as a one-of-a-kind artist deserving of a spotlight in the industry,
Please introduce yourself to our readers (where you’re from, when you started your beauty journey, who you typically work with/events you do/what you’re known for).
Hello everyone! Nice to meet you all! I’m Jenel Young, a beauty influncer as well as a performer. I am from the Boogie Down Bronx in New York City. I started my beauty journey in high school and then working at ELF Cosmetics as a beauty advisor flagship store location in Manhattan. I began doing my makeup for school everyday and then working for different makeup companies and freelancing all over New York. I currently work at Sephora SoHo location and I go to mainly K-Beauty or makeup events such as, One Ocean Beauty, Peter Thomas Roth and Soko Glam events. I am known for being a black K-Beauty beauty influencer and networking with big name beauty industry companies and influencers!
Before you started your YouTube channel, what were your goals in the past? Did your impression of the beauty industry change once you got involved?
My goals in the past were to be an actress and performer. I still have this dream as I went to different auditions and plan on continuing down this path! My impressions after getting involved in the beauty community is that it takes a lot of work and grinding to have a voice in this community and something unique about yourself to stand out. It takes lots of pre-planning, hard work and determination.
There are two types of beauty influencers. Some (like lenkalul) don’t often leave messages on their puts, often leaving just product names and small questions for their followers and some leave inspirational messages and speak more on their personal lives. From your posts, you’re more like the latter – what helped you decide how you were going to present yourself to your audience?
I understand both perspectives very well. As I am an extrovert, it’s important to me to connect to my audience and supporters on a personal level because I prefer to have a connection and persona that people can relate to or understand that I am not perfect and we all have struggles as well. I decided this because not a lot of influencers realize it’s not always about selling products but you are a personal brand as well! People especially your followers should relate to you as a person in some way or understand some of your struggles.
Because of beauty influencers like James Charles, Isabel Bedoya, and Jackie Aina, there have been an influx of YouTube drama channels because of the immense popularity of the situations going on amongst the industry. What is your view on influencers who get involved in these situations?
I honestly enjoy drama channels because they give us a different perspective of what happens behind the scenes of the beauty community and all the behaviors of certain influencers. They also very entertaining and help you keep up with what’s going on in the beauty world! I believe influencers are human and put on a stool of perfection when they can make mistakes as well. Sometimes as humans we need to understand that we all can’t be perfect and need to be a bit more forgiving because influencers go through a lot behind the scenes.
You’re very open about your positive outlook on life and choosing to be the best version of yourself. How was your mindset when you first started your makeup channel versus now?
Yes! My mindset was not the best when I first started my makeup/skincare channel and now that I’ve grown as a human I’ve made it my duty to instill positivity into other people’s lives because spreading love and kindness is just as important as receiving it. I realized positivity attracts positivity. So installing gratitude into my daily routine has changes the game for me as well because that’s how I attract more opportunities and growth from my past state of being depressed and not the best mentally.
At some point, did you ever feel like quitting? Mental health is a huge topic in every industry; did you ever feel like you had to hide what was going on in your personal life because it would affect your content?
There are a couple of times where I felt like giving up but I feel my passion and drive to keep going out ways this pretty often. I know in the back of my mind if I give up now, I would only feel regret later. Sometimes being honest with my audience about the difficulties about what I am going through mentally or even taking mental breaks definitely helps a ton. I know it would affect my content if I were to sit there on camera and put on a face people would see thorough it.
Is there an influencer whose methods you follow? Is there anyone whose success is a good model for aspiring beauty gurus?
I am am a huge supporter and fan of Bubzbeauty, Michelle Phan, Jackie Aina and AaliyahJay. These women are perfect examples of empowering WOC of all shades and being bosses and dominating an era of the YouTube Beauty Influencer waves. I got to meet and speak to Bubzbeauty, AaliyahJay and Michelle Phan. I even received PR from Bubzbeauty, a compliment from Aaliyah Jay and a shoutout from Michelle Phan and it made me extremely happy!
How much has the beauty industry changed since you got involved? Has it changed for the better or for the worst – or is it a mix of both where some aspects have improved and some have worsened?
The beauty industry has changed for the better because of the fact that people are now branching into different areas of the industry such K-Beauty becoming more globalized and influencers partnering up with brands and creating products. The only way I can see it worsening is due to the cancel culture that we live in today where if someone makes a mistake even if it was years ago, people are quick to not support someone anymore, which is ridiculous!
At the end of the day, beauty gurus are some of the biggest influencers in social media. What part of this industry do you want to challenge and influence in particular?
I definitely want to challenge the K-Beauty industry and the market for affordable/drugstore makeup. I believe since there is a limited amount of black k-beauty bloggers, that there is room for growth within the industry as well as shade ranges starting to expand within companies like Innisfree. As for drugstore makeup, it’s really important for companies to understand that not everyone has $50 to bust out on a foundation so affordability for everyone is something that I’ve been advocating since the very beginning of my beauty influencer career!
Is there a difference in behavior and attitude between west coast and east coast beauty gurus and influencers?
West Coast influencers tend to be a little bit more chill especially if they are from LA. As a New Yorker myself, we are much bigger in personality which some people cannot handle whatsoever!
Women of color are ferocious when it comes to achieving. They strive to make themselves known, and Jenel has definitely caught public attention with her looks and general presence within the community. As the industry attempts to find those diamonds in the rough, Jenel does her own job of shining from the city streets with her own style and influence.
Thank you guys so much and special thanks to Lesley from Lumiscript for this opportunity! I really hope and pray that you chase your dreams because I’ve literally started from the bottom and depressed from my mental health issues to here now with my community and connections to brands. Believe that you can achieve anything and never wait for opportunities to come to you. Chase after anything you want because you can truly have anything you desire within your life, only if you believe you can! I am a strong believer in the Law Of Attraction and believing in a higher power for your life to succeed as well as yourself. Work on yourself development and write down your goals and work work work! Thank you guys for reading this article! Follow me on Instagram @jenel.young and Subscribe to my YouTube channel, Jenel Young!