More than just a beauty blogger, Em Ford from MyPaleSkinBlog has transitioned into a full-time content creator, who fell into YouTube after being requested endlessly for make-up tutorials but a close-to-home video about her battle with acne made her an instant and overnight success – but she never stopped there…
Starting, like many content creators of the past decade, as a written blog documenting all things beauty, Em Ford’s’ MyPaleSkinBlog audience kept requesting in the comments section that she produce video tutorials. Eventually she “caved” and started dipping her toe into the world of YouTube, quickly realising how much work and competition it was.
Fast forward to July 2015 and Em released a video entitled “You Look Disgusting”. The 3 minute video to date has had over 30 million views. It depicts Em with no make-up and acne on her face, then doing a silent make-up tutorial, all the while surrounded by visuals of real comments left on her social media, ranging from the heartwarming (“You look amazing”) to the extremely offensive – among them, the title of the film.
“The film is detailing the extent of the online abuse for sharing no make-up pictures and opening up and talking about acne online,” Em explains, adding that “It could have gone so wrong”. The words on screen do the talking (with a piano track running throughout) – reflecting the tens of thousands of comments Em has received via social media. “Everything changed overnight,” Em explains, saying it was an “insane whirlwind” once it was posted. To give context, 10 million views of the video arrived within a week of it being posted. After beauty industry maven Kylie Jenner spotlighted Em on Instagram and shared her page, 200,000 followers appeared overnight – “Never underestimate the power of a Kardashian,” she quips.
But Em’s audience are not just bystanders, they’ve changed the way she creates content. The My Pale Skin content has evolved because of her audience, she listens to them and grows with them. In this episode, Em talks about how within her audience there’s a feeling that there needs to be more from the beauty industry and that’s not just products or colours, they want to see change, representation, diversity and inclusivity.
With lots of content creators out there, production qualities naturally get higher in order to stand out. Em talks about how her followers, or passing digital onlookers, may only see 5% of the entire production, assuming that all she does is sit in front of a camera and put make-up on. But, it’s so much more than that, Em explains: “People are really pushing to get that bigger and better content”.
As content creators, Em notes that it’s a position of privilege so there’s an underlying duty to use that to affect change for good.