Often times, Internet influencers with millions of followers who focus on beauty products and makeup 101 videos give their followers the impression that they only have to use cosmetics from different brands, make random makeup videos, and livestream beauty product launch events to make tons of money. However, that is only one side of their stories.
In this issue of TMTPost Photo Gallery, we capture the stories of two beauty bloggers and get a glimpse of their everyday life. Besides being glamorous under the spotlight and in front of the camera, they also face numerous assessments, deadline pressures, creativity block, and constant makeup sessions, and controversies.
January 30th 2018, Wangjing, Beijing. Beauty blogger Wei Mosi set up the camera and the lighting equipment in her apartment in preparation of shooting a new makeup video for her Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter. Wei has 1.7 million followers on her Weibo and post one or two posts on beauty product reviews or makeup tips on a daily basis.
In the new video, she planned to teach her audience how to do the makeup style of Kim Hyun-a. Besides teaching makeup styles of celebrities, she would also make videos based on her own ideas taking into the consideration of recent trends and fashion.
Wei Mosi started to learn about beauty products and became very interested in this particular field in the beginning of 2016. She would often come up with weird makeup techniques, surprising people around her. That’s why her friends suggested that she could try to become a beauty blogger. At that time, Mo was a station director of the city metro. After having deeper understanding of the beauty blogging industry and acquiring more makeup technique and followers on social media, she quit her job and joined an Internet influencer incubating organization named Wangxing Dream Factory, becoming a full-time beauty blogger. In contrast to most people’s perception, shooting beauty video blogs is not an easy task. Wei would often make special effect makeups, which requires her to put on and remove her makeup constantly. To shoot a video that’s only a few minutes long, it would often cost her half day.
Wei was sorting out the present she had prepared for her followers, most of whom are women interested into beauty products and makeup tips. Wei had been giving out cosmetics from big brands to her fans as gifts on Weibo.
Wei Mosi’s room is full of makeup products. Most of these products come from cosmetics brands that had invited her to make product review videos for them. “Basically, we are using our own face to test the products for our fans,” Wei said. She would usually give out unpacked products to her fans.
Wei Mosi lives in this studio apartment with three rooms near Wangjing SOHO rented by Wei Mosi’s agent company. Two other Internet influencers also live in this apartment. Wei’s families have been trying to talk her into finding a stable job. From their perspective, beauty blogging does makes a decent income, but it’s only profitable when Wei is still young. However, Wei doesn’t see it that way. “I love beauty blogging and I have a goal. I want to establish my own brand one day and make it grow,” Wei said. “I am planning to go overseas and take makeup classes. The truth is there are a lot of options for us in this industry. I can still be a professional makeup artist after retiring from the Internet influencer business.”
Wei Mosi pays extra attention to daily skin care since part of her job is to test new makeup products regularly. “People in this industry are very busy. We have deadlines, and we also need to respond to our clients’ demands and adjust our plans accordingly. It’s not an easy job,” Wei told TMTPost’s Photo Gallery. “One time, I had to work three days straight without taking almost any rest to modify my video to meet my client’s requests.”
For Internet influencers like Wei Mosi, the influencer-incubating company has its own set of KPI standards, which include blog and video views, increase of followers, and their interaction with the followers etc. Brand clients would make product placement decision based on these factors. “Besides posting texts, images, reviews, they also livestream product launch event,” a director at the company said. Bloggers that have outstanding performance can earn from ￥100,000 to 200,000.
Every week, each team would have a meeting on content ideas. Every Internet influencer would brief the team on the contents they would be making, and then they would brainstorm about their ideas.
Beauty blogger Xiong Zhizhi and her agent were making a plan for a valentine special video. Xiong Zhizhi’s Weibo is more about reviewing on products and make recommendations to her fans. Xiong was a fashion designer prior to joining Wangxing and becoming a beauty blogger in 2015.
Xiong’s friends are also under the impression that as an influencer she only needs to post cute photos to make a high income while enjoying a high degree of freedom. Because of such stereotyping, Xiong is often teased by her friends that are not familiar with this industry. The truth is, being a beauty blogger is fulfilling for her, but it’s a challenging job. “We don’t really have a set time off schedule. We don’t have weekends. The KPI standards keep rising and our clients are always pressuring us to give them proposals. It’s very challenging,” she said. Sometimes they put a lot of efforts into making a particular video, but the audience just simply don’t really like it. This makes the influencers doubt about their creativity and ideas.
“Out in society some people would have this fixed mentality believing that Internet influencers are all about being showing off wealth and expensive bags etc. But the reality we are not that glamourous,” Xiong said. After the meeting, Xiong was having a discussion on the new KPI assessment with her colleagues. She was already exhausted from all those work. “I want to have the money to do what I want to do when I am still young and beautiful instead of having all those money when I am old,” the 20-something told TMTPost’s Photo Gallery when asked if she has any goal she believes in.
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Translated by Garrett Lee (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.