What’s it like living life through a lens? DARE’s Natalie Ticehurst met up with Jamie Genevieve to find out
Rewind a few short years and young girls and boys aspired to be footballers, actors, maybe even astronauts. Now ask the age-old question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, and YouTuber is more likely to trip off their tongues. The pull of a well-paid life played out on Instagram is obvious: all-expenses-paid trips around the world, a daily delivery of gifts and access to a best-in-the-business black book of free beauty treatments. It’s a millennial’s dream. But behind the stream of perks and privilege lies graft.
It’s a life understood best by those who live it. ‘There are high and low points,’ Jamie Genevieve explains, when quizzed about her very public career. ‘I would never complain, as people have real issues and, in the grand scheme of things, if you look at the life my job has given me and my family, I’ve got nothing to complain about. It’s not worth thinking about the bad bits.’ From the outside, Jamie’s life looks sugar-sweet indeed.
One of Glasgow’s most recognised exports, the Scottish beauty blogger has amassed an impressive million-plus followers on Instagram and over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube. She’s even starred in a recent BBC documentary, Jamie Genevieve #Unfiltered, so hungry are we for a behind-the-lens look at the life of Jamie. A poster girl for the rise of the internet celebrity, Jamie, 25, sprang from humble roots. Growing up on a council estate in Scotland’s Tillicoultry, she spent her younger years working her way up the rungs of department-store beauty counters, with social media barely on her radar.
The star puts her accomplishments down to having caught the right wave just before it crashed. ‘I didn’t set out to be an influencer,’ she muses. ‘I’ve always been happy doing what I was doing.
‘It was the influence of other people that made this happen – people telling me I’d be good
at YouTube.’ And Jamie is undoubtedly ‘good at YouTube’. So good, brands are clamouring to work with her and have big bucks to do so. But she’s very careful about what she puts her name to, only working with brands and products she genuinely uses and believes in.
Utan is one of those brands. ‘It’s the best tan
I’ve ever used,’ she says. ‘My favourite used to be Utan Coconut Tanning Water but I’m obsessed with my one – it’s unbelievable.’ The product in question is the brand’s new CBD Tanning Water which she helped co-create.
While many are scrambling around trying to make their internet mark, Jamie’s proven formula of success has also seen her invited to film-exclusive content with the A-list. A video of her getting ready with Drew Barrymore has had almost 300,000 views and left her as close to star-struck as Jamie has ever been. ‘Drew is such an amazing person. And because I loved her for so long, I was scared to meet her in case she wasn’t what I thought she was going to be – but she was such
an inspiring, uplifting person.’
Sharing powder puffs on camera with the A-list means being exposed to comments and criticism. Look at one of Jamie’s posts and as well as the kind comments, there will be several criticising her looks. ‘There’s that cheesy saying that you could be the ripest peach in the world, but not everybody is going to like peaches,’ she says. ‘I would never look at someone else and judge them on their appearance. I don’t think that’s a very nice trait. Because my family and friends think I’m a good person, the stuff on the outside doesn’t matter that much,’ she adds.
This feathers-unruffled, share-all attitude is typically Jamie. In a recent Ten-Year Challenge post on Instagram, the difference to the Scottish star’s face was clear. A little lip filler here, a bit of Botox there. ‘A few years ago, I was way more into that stuff than I am now,’ she reflects. ‘I still have a couple of things done, but I’ve let a lot wear off.’ Her tips for anyone thinking about an injectable nip and tuck? ‘Research where you want to go and maybe even get recommendations,’ she advises. ‘Be careful not to go too far. Start slowly till you get to a happy place.’
Warm, funny and unabashedly open about everything, from her recent engagement to long-term boyfriend Jack McCann, 30 – a former bricklayer now employed full time as Jamie’s cameraman – to having dabbled with the nurse’s needle, Jamie’s personality is key to her popularity. ‘I find it quite easy sharing things on the internet – I’ve always been a really open person,’ she states. ‘It’s so amazing to talk about things you might find a bit silly and then get messages from people going through the same thing,’ she beams. ‘Because I’m an open person and I don’t really have anything to hide, I love this life. When you bump into people on the street who watch your videos, it’s kind of like you know each other. Well, they definitely know me, what I’ve been up to and what my dog’s called!’
Jamie knows her power to leverage sales – if she likes something, it’ll sell out – and also over the thousands who consume her content. ‘I feel I’m a bit of role model,’ she explains. ‘I just hope I show people it’s OK not to be perfect all the time. Don’t let people’s opinions get in the way of you trying out something that may not be popular. I want people to feel confident in themselves and their decisions.’
And perhaps that’s the reason over a million people pay attention to what she posts. Jamie is relatable. She’s real.
She could be any of us.