Back in 2009 I blogged about one of the first beauty vloggers to really make a big impact in the UK. (Incidentally, the word vlogger hadn’t come into currency back then. I coined beauty tubees which I thought was a good name, but it never caught on.) At that point it looked like it was possible that home made videos on YouTube would become the norm and that the highly controlled airbrushed/photoshopped coverage in the glossy magazines would be eclipsed. I found Lauren’s down to earth less polished approach much more appealing. When I last wrote about her the world seemed to be her oyster with a column in the Guardian and her own range of cosmetics coming out.
Well it hasn’t quite worked out like that. The glossy magazines are still there. They don’t sell as many copies but they seem to be compensating by having even more advertising.
And while there still is plenty of amateur coverage of beauty on YouTube the production values have definitely gone up and the ones who do it successfully are the ones who get corporate sponsorship and who play by the rules of the media. I don’t have anything against the likes of Zoella. Business is business and she has a good product. But looking at her output I don’t think many people are thinking ‘she’s just like me, I could do that!”. Even fewer actually could do that. So YouTube beauty coverage has disrupted the old model pretty effectively, but it hasn’t put the power into the hands of the ordinary consumer. I still think it is an improvement. I’d rather watch Zoella than read Vogue and there are now fewer gatekeepers in the way of the determined and talented outsider who wants to get into the beauty business. But it hasn’t quite proved to be the revolution I would have enjoyed seeing.
I think it is rather a shame. I wondered whatever had come of Lauren Luke, who after her initial success doesn’t seem to have continued to make much of an impact.
Well she is still around, and she is still making videos. She seems to have had a few personal problems, which I won’t pry into. Suffice to say that real life hasn’t let her stick to what made her famous. She has done videos about her experiences which have the same likeable style she brought her makeup ones, but have a darker feel to them because of the subject matter. There is no sign of an ad agency being involved.
It’s a shame things haven’t worked out according to the fairy tale script in some ways. But she still seems to be the person she always was. Maybe that’s more important.
Here’s what I said about her back in 2009.