Jamie Genevieve: Don't call me an 'influencer'

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Jamie Genevieve

In just four years Jamie Genevieve has gone from department store make-up girl to social media sensation, amassing more than a million Instagram followers and 750,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Jamie has a lipstick named after her and works closely with "about 15" of the world's top beauty brands, jetting to locations including The Hamptons, Dubai, New York, Las Vegas and the Maldives.

To her followers, her life is a blur of helicopters, parties and meeting celebrities like actress Drew Barrymore.

It is hard to deny that the 25-year-old is an "influencer". If she likes something, it flies off the shelves.

But Jamie hates the word.

Image source, Jamie Genevieve/Instagram
Image caption,
People are surprised at how down-to-earth Jamie is after following her Instagram account

"Influencer. Ugh. That word gives me the boak," she says.

"It's almost like it's manipulative - manipulating people into buying things. I don't do that.

"I'm not a good liar."

"I won't work with things I don't believe in. I won't promote it unless I like it.

"My subscribers are my wee internet family and I'm really proud of what we have built on telling the truth."

Media caption,

Jamie Genevieve's tips for the perfect selfie

Jamie was born Jamie Grant and grew up on a housing estate in Tillicoultry, in Clackmannanshire in central Scotland.

She says she was a "daddy's girl" who was always outdoors playing.

At the age of 11, she moved to Glasgow and later left school early, determined to work and make money for herself.

And she would appear to have made plenty of it.

Image source, Jamie Genevieve
Image caption,
Jamie with her dad when she was aged 3. She is fiercely protective of her parents and doesn't ever name them in her vlogs
Image source, Jamie Genevieve
Image caption,
Jamie at her grandparents' home at the age of five, and already comfortable in front of the camera

'We worried about money'

Jamie says: "Me saying it has changed mine and my family's lives, that doesn't even touch on it.

"It's the difference it has made in my family not having to worry any more.

"My family have been nothing but supportive to me no matter what I have chosen to do, so it's all come full circle.

"I took my mum and dad to Sri Lanka for Christmas. They'd never been anywhere like that before.

"It's just not having to worry. Because we have worried."

Jamie says she discovered make-up when she was about 15.

"It was so exciting because it was something I really loved," she says.

Image source, Jamie Genevieve
Image caption,
Jamie at 15 - she does not hide the fact she has had botox and fillers - in fact she shares the experiences on her YouTube channel

She worked her way up the hierarchy of Glasgow's make-up counters and it soon became apparent she had a way with people.

"I just loved talking to people and I think that's how YouTube has worked," she says.

"People would come in and they'd sit down for an hour.

"I would do their make-up and we would spend the whole time and everyone would leave and they would always hug me - and apparently that's not normal."

Image caption,
Jamie films her make-up tutorials in her make-up room and Jack edits them for YouTube

Brands pay her to promote their products in her videos and Instagram posts. She also earns from advertising on her YouTube channel.

The opportunities are now pouring in, with a documentary for the new BBC Scotland TV channel called Jamie Genevieve: #Unfiltered due to air on 25 February.

She created her own lipstick for MAC and producing her own products may not be far away.

Jamie expands her constantly-growing fan base by posting weekly make-up tutorials and lifestyle vlogs as well as daily Instagram "look" posts.

Like many YouTubers, she does not divulge her earnings but remembers the first day she "earned more in a day than I did in a month" and says her family no longer has to worry about making ends meet.

How did she do it?

Image caption,
Jamie thinks anyone can be a social media success if the have a niche and they work hard

Jamie often encounters young people wanting to follow in her footsteps.

She says: "It makes me want to apologise to their parents when they say they want to do make-up."

Her own journey to success was not easy, she says - but she was "savvy" and tagged the right people in her posts.

She says: "I worked two jobs. I would go to work, come home, film a video and edit it through the night. Then I'd get up and go back to work.

"And I did that for ages.

"You don't just start a YouTube channel and chuck your job.

"It's about the work you put into it. It's an open platform. Anyone can do it. "

Botox and lip-fillers

Jamie is also unapologetic about her promotion of cosmetic procedures.

Her vlogs feature Botox and lip filler "top-ups" and she has said her followers can clearly see the changes by comparing her selfies.

She says she doesn't mind if there's any backlash because "everyone has a choice".

Image caption,
Despite travelling the world, Jamie and Jack love being at home with their dog Drogba

Jamie's partner both in work and life is her fiancé Jack McCann, whom she met at the T in the Park music festival.

Jack, 25 and a former bricklayer, accompanies her on planes and helicopters around the globe, filming and editing her vlogs and snapping insta-friendly photos.

He's also often seen in her vlogs and has a massive Instagram following of his own.

In the documentary, Jamie is doing a meet-and-greet at Debenhams in Glasgow, where she used to work the make-up counters.

Image source, YouTube
Image caption,
Jamie's YouTube channel has more than 750,000 subscribers

A long line of young women wait for her, a procession of "mini-Jamies" in "a warm brown smoky eye and a nude lip". The staff - some of whom remember Jamie - are amused.

Jamie explains: "They were saying to me, 'Are all these people here for you?'"

She feels she can be more than a make-up instructor to her followers. If she has to be an influencer, she'd rather influence in ways that matter.

Image caption,
Jamie lives with, works with and will soon marry fiancé Jack McCann

"I just want people to feel confident in themselves and not think about other people," she says.

"People come to meet-and-greets with their mum - then their mum comes and sees me after to thank me and says, 'Oh she was really not doing very good and you've really helped her with your videos. She is more confident.'

"If I am helping people like that, that's great to know I am helping people on a deep level.

"And I would love to do more."

Jamie donates many of her make-up freebies to women's shelters.

She says: "Some people might not think that's important but these products make you feel good.

"Imagine you're a mum and you've no money left. That's just a small way we contribute and give something back."

Jamie Genevieve - #Unfiltered - BBC Scotland channel, Monday 25 February at 23:00 on Thursday 28 February at 20:00.

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