According to Forbes, the rise of social media is helping cause the downfall in television, which is re-shaping how the platforms are being used.
Millennials are taking advantage, using things like YouTube and Facebook as jumping off points for business endeavors.
“There’s something unique about YouTube in particular,” Nathan Gibbs, an assistant professor in the journalism and mass communications department at Abilene Christian University.
Because of this, a new definition of the word “celebrity” and these stars are setting the trends and driving opinions.
“The media industry itself is a kind of controlled format, where businesses own the companies and they distribute programs and shows that they think people will wanna watch. This puts that on its head because the people are in control of it,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said viewers love the authenticity of YouTube stars.
“Be themselves, but to kind of be a more outgoing version of themselves. I think there’s something about being authentic that people are drawn to. It’s a little bit like makeup. You’re putting on makeup but you don’t want people to notice it,” Gibbs said.
If you ask Abilene-native and YouTube sensation, Jasmine Brown, she will tell you she never expected to get so popular through her channel, but is definitely soaking it in! She also likes being her own boss.
“I really like coming back home and seeing how much people are noticing me when I got to the mall, like ‘Oh, it’s Jasmine!’…or ‘Jasmine Brown, can I take a picture with?’ and I say yeah,” Brown said.
At just 22 years old, she is already making an impact worldwide, with more than one million YouTube subscribers, which is about 8x more than the population of Abilene! Her Instagram page is not too far behind, with more than 800,000 followers.
“I think it’s cool that people are now able to use social media and platforms to make it their job and be entrepreneurs like myself,” Brown said. “Growing up, I knew I wanted to model. I used to watch America’s Next Top Model all the time and Tyra Banks was like my favorite, but I never thought I would be modeling or doing what I do now. I do a lot of hair and makeup.”
KRBC last spoke with Jasmine Brown, back in 2016, when she was leaving Abilene to pursue her career in modeling and continue her YouTube channel, in Los Angeles. This year, Brown is starting her first cosmetic line. It was released in January in stores throughout the nation like Ulta, Target and Walmart. She explains that there are two different kinds of her new lashes.
“One is called ‘JB’. This one is my night lash and one is ‘Curly Queen’ and this one is more of a day lash. It’s the one that I’m wearing right now,” Brown said.
*A step-by-step video on how to put on Brown’s Eylure lashes can be found here.
Since then, Brown has worked with many different makeup brands, from drug store make-up to high-end make-up, like Too Faced and Benefit Cosmetics to Maybelline and CoverGirl. She said her platform originally grew from posting videos about hair.
“I realized that people actually like makeup and they ask me ‘Hey, can you show me your makeup routine?” I’m like ‘I do the same makeup everyday, but I’ll do it.’ That’s when it started growing,” Brown said.
Brown said 80 percent of her followers on YouTube are females. The ages range from 15 to 24, but more so teens. She said she loves being able to be someone young girls can look up to.
“It is easy to turn on your phone and shoot video. Right. It’s not that hard to do but to make it something good that people want to watch is another story. So, really just being engaging. That’s the key,” Gibbs said.
Over the years, YouTube has become not only a way for people to get entertained, but also learn a few things a long the way. But a large part of millennials don’t watch TV and do not care much about mainstream celebs on what they have to say about products or services. They trust people they can relate to more.
“A lot of that is growing and universities need to be watching the trends and adapting to prepare students to be ready for that,” Gibbs said.
Another Abilene YouTuber who is utilizing social media is CatAleah. She is not only sharing her passion but teaching people as well.
“I do have a breeding trio of sugar gliders and I sell the babies pet-only, which means before going to new homes I get them neutered,” CatAleah said. “It’s very important to me to help educate people and how to care for exotic animals.”
“It’s not that hard to do but to make it something good that people want to watch is another story. So, really just being engaging. That’s the key,” Gibbs said.
Brown said, regardless of what you do on your journey to stardom, you will definitely have setbacks and naysayers, but they should not be a seen as a setback. She joked that before she left for LA, she worked at a Dillard’s store. She said she was actually fired for wanting to take a day off from work to attend a modeling event in Florida. Her boss simply told her that if she wanted to follow her “little dream” that she did not need to return to work. Essentially, before she left for the event, she was already fired. Brown has not looked back ever since.
“I wanted to go to a modeling job out in Florida and they didn’t want me to have off that day, but I’m kind of glad that I did get fire because I went and followed my dreams and that helped me just get more experience of what I wanted to do and now I’m doing even bigger than that.,” Brown said. “Never give up on your dreams because you don’t know how far you can go unless you try.”
One thing she said has been a factor in her success is staying true to herself and her followers.
“If a brand comes to me with like a product that I already know or don’t like, or I had a problem with and is giving me an X amount of money. Even if it’s really big, I’ll decline just because I’m not going to lie to my followers and my supporters just for money.”
To follow Jasmine Brown on social or to learn more about her, follow the links below:
YouTube: Jasmine Brown