Millennial are no strangers to the rise of YouTubers and social media influencers. However, the majority of the world is still clueless about this subcategory of celebrities who are largely self-made. Still, they're a pretty big deal! A large number of this new cast of public figures are beauty gurus, fashion influencers, and social media makeup artists. Slowly, the world has begun to take notice them just as major companies in the beauty industry begun to tap into their newly acquired influence. Among this new group is the makeup artist and YouTuber, James Charles.
If you haven't heard of him, worry not, we're happy to catch you up. Though fairly young, James has already made waves among the beauty industry by helping challenge the expectation that it belongs exclusively to women. He's already worked with a number of large beauty industry companies and quite a few "traditional" celebrities whom you may recognize. Despite the praise James has gotten for helping to break stereotypes and welcome in a new era in the beauty world, the young influencer has also been plagued with quite a few scandals and controversies. James has made almost as many headlines for putting his foot in his mouth as he has for helping make history in the beauty world. Want to know why? Read on!
15 He's The First Ever Male CoverGirl
In 2016, James Charles made history when he was named CoverGirl's first male spokesperson. The moment was applauded by fans of the brand and the emerging generation of gender nonconforming individuals. The news was initially announced on Katy Perry's Instagram page (she is also a spokesperson for the brand) as James Charles was relatively unknown at the time. James' image has appeared on TV and print as well as during social and public events for the brand. Not only was James Charles CoverGirl's first male spokesperson, he is also in a very exclusive group of online influencers signed to beauty brands. Prior to James, CoverGirl had only signed one online beauty influencer, a fellow YouTuber named Ingrid Nilsen. James' partnership with CoverGirl was a big deal for many reasons, not only because of his gender but also due to the way he rose to fame. Needless to say, while many people probably wondered who he was when he first began appearing in commercials, his success was a very big deal for younger generations. It arguably made the brand more relatable to emerging youth, and for James, it was obviously beneficial because it jump-started his career. Unfortunately, James' career has been plagued with a few controversies since then, to the point that some former supporters have asked CoverGirl to replace him as a spokesperson. But more on that later...
14 And He's Only 18 Years Old
James has accomplished an impressive amount in a very short time. Not only did he make history by being CoverGirl's first CoverBoy, he is also one of the brands youngest spokespeople. James was seventeen when he initially signed on with the brand, and now he is eighteen years old. He is so young, in fact, that when he first signed on to CoverGirl he as still in high school, and somehow balancing that responsibility with the new world that working with the brand opened up for him. As his career began to take off he told Seventeen, "obviously I am missing a lot of school different business stuff. It's not the easiest thing in the world. A few nights ago I had to shoot all day long, then I went home and wrote a paper for my government class until three in the morning, then woke up and did a shoot the next morning." James went on to graduate in 2017, so luckily he no longer has to balance school and social media. He's shown no signs of slowing down since then. He has continued his internet presence as a YouTuber and beauty guru, and it's quite impressive how much he's accomplished at only eighteen!
13 He Always Does His Own Makeup For His Shoots
Considering he's a beauty influencer and makeup artist, it makes sense that James would always do his own makeup. Yet as a talent person working with major brands, there are certainly makeup artists available to him for photo shoots, a service that many public figures are happy to have. However, James Charles is one of the few that prefers doing his own makeup. In an interview with Seventeen, James was asked if he does his on makeup for his CoverGirl shoots and he confirmed that he does. He told the magazine; "I'm the first person to do their own makeup for all the shoots, which is really cool. I know some people have done [some makeup] elements in the past, but I'm the first person to go from nothing to full-on glam for the shoots." James is obviously dedicated to his craft, and he seems to understand how important it is for him to protect his brand by continuing to do the work he's known for. James admitted he had been doing makeup for under a year when he caught CoverGirl's attention, which means that by doing his own makeup for shoots he's doing a job usually reserved for people with ten times his level of experience. He's clearly a quick learner!
12 He's Legally Blind
It may be surprising to some that James is legally blind. As some of us know too well, makeup and astigmatisms do not mix. However, James told Seventeen that his poor eyesight actually doesn't affect his work as much as one might think. He explained; "I always wear colored prescription contacts for my looks. I put them in before so I can see during the process. " Seems like a good first step James!
Though James is most often seen with contacts, he occasionally does looks in his glasses as well, like the one above. We can guess why, since he admitted contacts can be rather inconvenient; "After a long day of a shoot, my eyes can feel pretty dry so it can be a pain sometimes." We're not sure if the beauty guru has ever considered Lasik, though we suppose he would have to dorn contacts for some of his looks anyway. Many of James beauty looks are fairly dramatic and they do involve changes in eye color (James' are naturally brown). We can't help but wonder what other sorts of makeup look James would pull off without the help of his contacts, though it may not be quite as glam as what he's used to...
11 He Discovered His Passion For Makeup In A Funny Way
As they say, some of the best things are happy accidents! Okay, so maybe we made that one up, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. Despite the fact that makeup led James to the thriving career he has today, he sort of discovered his interest in it in an accidental way. James admitted to Seventeen, "I used to do hair before I did makeup. At one of my best friend's hair appointments, she was late for her makeup appointment so she asked me to do it...it ended up looking really, really great...so I ordered a basic starter set online and I started practicing on clients... I was like "oh my God, I want to keep doing that" so that is exactly what I did." It's pretty cool that James was able to try something for the first time and do it well right off the bat. It's a strange coincidence how everything seemed to work out; one can only wonder when and how James might have discovered his passion for makeup if his friend hadn't been late to a makeup appointment on that fateful day. James told the magazine that at first, he was focused on doing makeup looks on models. Then, somewhere along the way, he became the model. And a star was born!
10 He's Gotten In Trouble For Saying Some Controversial Things...
You could argue that no brush with fame is truly complete without a scandal. However, James controversies have been a bit more than a "brush." It all started with one very tasteless tweet which eventually led to a (probably) forced apology. Shortly after being named CoverGirl's first male ambassador, James tainted his stellar achievement by tweeting out a joke about Africa. He tweeted: "I can't believe we're going to Africa today omg what if we get ebola? James, we're fine we could have gotten it at Chipotle last year..." After being called out by many fans on Twitter for propelling such an uninformed stereotype, James made matters worse by becoming very defensive. Eventually, he eventually issued an apology, which many believe was because his deal with CoverGirl was on the line. Sadly, he referred to Africa as a "country" in the apology which certainly didn't help things. The Cut reported that James was actually set to travel to the "country" of South Africa before his infamous tweet. South Africa had its last Ebola case in 1996, while the last Ebola case in the U.S. (where James lives) was reported in 2014. Though many were unhappy with James after this controversy, he benefited from the fact that the internet has a short attention span. That is until...
9 ...Which Led To Some Twitter Drama With A Famous Popstar
Unwilling to let bygones be bygones, James recently reignited the controversy himself in a video he did with YouTubers Shane Dawson and Ryland Adams. In the video, Shane Dawson asked him to name the rudest celebrity he'd ever met. James' answer to the question is pop star, Ariana Grande. Gasp. Before you begin removing her from your weekend playlists, you may want to hear the rest of this story. As Buzzfeed reports, James' label of her being rude has nothing to do with their actual in-person meeting. He describes her as "sweet" when they met in person. The trouble started later on Twitter (doesn't it always). Ariana began following James on Twitter after their meeting, and then promptly unfollowed him due to the objection of many of her fans. James DMed the pop star to ask why she'd unfollowed him (still with us?) and according to him she responded; "Hey babe. I just saw a lot of angry tweets from my fans. I would never want to disappoint them, so I unfollowed." James then says that he wrote back a "strong-word message" in which he accused Ariana of "stooping to the level of listening to people bullying [him]." Needless to say, most people found it odd that James would accuse Ariana's fans of "bullying" him when he was the one that had made the tasteless statement which started the controversy. Seems like James learned a tough lesson on not reminding people about your own scandals...
8 He Also Had A Quarrel With One Of The Kardashian Sisters
If you thought the drama was over, we're sorry to say we're just getting started. James also got into it with a Kardashian! After working with Kim as one of the few beauty influencers chosen to help launch her beauty line KKW, their relationship quickly went sour after James called her out over a casting call. When Kim went to Twitter to post a casting call for models to be featured in campaigns for KKW, James took issue with the fact that the casting call was only open to women. James tweeted to Kim; "There are thousands of boys in cosmetics who love you and I'm sure would be honored to slay a photoshoot for you! This is disappointing." Though he has a rep for starting conflicts on Twitter, in James' defense it does seem unfair that Kim would use a male beauty influencer to help launch the campaign for her makeup line and then leave male models out of the casting call when it came time to find models. This was probably a simple oversight, but we can see how it may have ignited "false hope" for male makeup fans that the KKW line would be more inclusive than typical beauty campaigns. We'll give you this one, James!
7 And His "Origin Story" Has Been Brought Into Question
Perhaps James biggest scandal of all is the one concerning his rise to fame. According to Clevver, James rise to the public spotlight began after he posted his yearbook pictures on Twitter. In the posted, he claimed that he brought his own ring light and demanded a retake of his senior pictures to ensure that his highlight "would be poppin." The tweet received thousands of retweets, it was noticed by actress and musician Zendaya and even led to some very high profile appearances for James. The scandal began when James' former BFF and fellow beauty guru Thomas Halbert tweeted a series of text messages between him and James in which James admits to lying about bringing a ring light to the photo session. Thomas later apologized for releasing the texts on Twitter, he claimed he was not in his right state of mind when he decided to expose his ex-friend. He then tried to do some backtracking to explain away James' deception. Still, the damage was done. James admits in the text messages that he lied about his senior pictures. Though this may seem like a small thing, the truth is those pictures catapulted James career, they led to the success he has now, and it forces many to question if he would be successful now if his lie hadn't led to the social media attention it did.
6 He's Been Featured On 'Ellen'
One of the people James received attention from after tweeting those senior pictures is none other than Ellen DeGeneres. This was a big deal for many reasons. Only an exclusive group of social media influencers have been featured on Ellen's show, and James was among those to receive the honor. Of course, his historical deal with CoverGirl made the appearance all the more meaningful. However, the interview actually prompted many to question whether James deserved the honor considering the scandal with his senior photos. Furthermore, James proceeded to recount the story about his famous senior photos on the show (albeit stumbling through the whole thing). Many people seemed to consider him a fraud because of the ordeal, and there's even a video on YouTube titled "James Charles Lying to Ellen DeGeneres For 1 Minute Straight" which has over five million views! Only James (and his friend) really know the whole story behind the pictures, but it's clear that the whole controversy made a lot of people lose their trust in James. For what it's worth, we hope that James has a good explanation for the whole ordeal. How could anyone lie to Ellen??
5 He Really Did Not Like The Movie 'IT'
When it comes to drama, James does not discriminate. He's fought with a pop star, a Kardashian, and now...children? To be fair, James Charles is only eighteen, so Finn Wolfhard and Wyatt Oleff are not too much younger than him. James first got into a Twitter fight with Finn (of Stranger Things and It fame) when he tweeted, "Ok five minutes in and It is already awful, stay tuned for updates." Finn then responded by questioning why James was on his phone in the movie theater. According to Popbuzz James proceeded to delete his original tweet. Think that's the end of it? You thought wrong! James then went on to post a makeup tutorial inspired by the It character Pennywise. Ranker reports that this then set off Wyatt, who starred in the movie alongside Finn. Wyatt tweeted, "When you decide to exploit a movie that you hate for money and attention cause why not." Zing. As usual, James added fuel to his own scandal by posting the tutorial for It after getting into a fight with one of its stars. However, James' mistake from the beginning seemed to be forgetting that there are people behind public works. As someone in the public eye, it seems odd that he would forget about the hundreds of people that work to bring films to life and dismiss their work after only giving it five minutes of his time. He also seemed to forget how much more visible tweets are only you're verified...
4 He's Seen The Down Side Of Fame
As you can probably tell from his plethora of scandals, James has definitely experienced some of the not-so-pleasant aspects of fame. In addition to getting caught up in career-risking drama, he's also encountered people interested in him for his fame. When his career was initially taking off, James tweeted about an unfortunate experience he had with a guy he was interested in. He tweeted that the guy wanted him to tweet about their potential relationship so that he could gain followers. Since James did tweet about the whole thing, we suppose he sort of got what he wanted? James also told Seventeen that he's had guys express an interest so that they could show their friends that they were talking to someone popular. He told the mag, "It's definitely not the easiest thing in the world to talk to guys, or really anybody because you never know who's really your friend." It's a difficult realization that sometimes people are more interested in what they can get from you than they are in you, and it's unfortunate that James now has to be on the lookout for people that simply want to take advantage of his popularity. Hopefully, he can manage!
3 He Also Likes To Sing
Hairstylist, makeup artist, CoverBoy, and now...singer? Well, we feel that may be thinking ahead, but James has definitely expressed an interest in singing. James has been known to occasionally post singing videos with friends on his various social media pages. He told ABC News, "I've been singing literally since I was born. Makeup is where my career is going but I would love to also indulge in music, it's still one of my absolute favorite things in the world." James did seem to pick up makeup fairly quickly, especially since we know that it wasn't even his original focus. Perhaps he'll pick up singing just as quickly? It's clear that James has his sights on many different future endeavors, though he's just started, he's apparently already planning his next move after his career as a beauty guru! Nothing wrong with diversified interests! Considering the fan base he already has (and the large number of YouTube musicians he could probably partner with) this seems like a plausible future venture for the influencer. Who knows? Maybe he'll do a duet with Ariana Grande...or not.
2 His Mom Is His Biggest Supporter
James doesn't always get the best messages on social media. Between all of the people peeved that he's a boy wearing makeup and all of the people peeved about his endless scandals, his Twitter mentions are not always the happiest place on Earth. However, he has at least one person in his life willing to stick with him through it all: his mother. She has clearly dedicated time to respond to some of the negative comments James gets on his social media. When one Instagram user wrote on James' page, "Your mother and father must be ashamed" she went ahead and replied, "I'll repeat myself...quite the contrary!!!" Teen Vogue reported that James brought light to his mom's defensive skills by tweeting, "someone come get my mom she's fighting people in my Instagram comments." We're glad to see that James' mom has his back, as it can get very overwhelming having people endlessly criticize everything you do on social media. Despite the controversies James has gotten himself involved in, he evidently has to deal with people that would criticize him even if he were an angel. Hopefully, James' mom is able to find a way to defend her son without excusing his negative actions...
1 He Is Unapologetically Himself
As you've seen from this list, there are many things one could say about James Charles. One of these things is certainly not that he's a wallflower! You can probably tell that James has a very bold personality. He marches to the beat of his own dream and isn't afraid to defy the status quo. Obviously the negative side of that is that he is outspoken even when thousands of people are calling him out for being in the wrong, but hopefully, he will improve in this aspect as he gets more accustomed to being in the public eye and grows up.
James is part of a generation that is helping to normalize a form of self-expression that didn't use to be available to boys, and it's clear that he's an inspiration for many. The fact that he's already made history is very impressive, and hopefully, he is able to maintain a positive legacy. James is unapologetically himself and this is certainly not something that is easy to do, especially with so many people watching. He told Seventeen, "I always preach self-confidence and knowing your worth." James' confidence and certainty are evident, and we're definitely noting it as something we want to emulate!