Social media is no longer simply a networking tool. For many, it’s literally a cash cow. Case in point: Jeffree Star, who has managed to monetize YouTube as few others have. He currently has over 11 million followers on social media and more than 1.2 billion views.
The 33-year-old Internet celebrity, makeup artist, entrepreneur, and musician is also the founder and owner of Jeffree Star Cosmetics. His social media journey began on Myspace, where he became the most followed person on the site in 2006. In 2009, he released an album, Beauty Killer, which included a collaboration with Nicki Minaj. In 2014, he founded Jeffree Star Cosmetics, promoting the makeup brand on YouTube.
According to Star, he amasses $150 million a year, alleging that some brands have offered him up to $165k for promoting a product. Though his reported earnings seem unlikely, the MUA has addressed how beauty influencers make money for simply trying cosmetics. He recently tweeted, "Remember how I was going to film a video exposing makeup brand deals? The brand I was working with just bitched out and canceled because they are worried that the price they pay me, will upset their other clients... they don't want the $ exposed anymore."
"Hopefully I can find another company who would love the exposure, as well as talk about the secrets and 'behind the scenes' about brand deals in the beauty industry... 2019 what's good? Who's not scared?" he added.
If it seems like Star is digging his own grave, he just might be, but his candor is also appreciated and may filter out some of the fraudulent influencers in the business. Star is apparently working on a new collaboration with another brand and has come in fifth on Forbes' Highest Paid YouTubers list.
Star, who packs and ships every item of his beauty brand from his warehouse in California, also owns an accessories company that provides t-shirts and other paraphernalia for YouTubers. Like other successful social media stars, Star has also come under fire for comments he’s made, some of which are clearly racist. His former hairstyling partner Daved Anthony Munoz alleged on Snapchat that Star often used racial slurs in text messages, including referring to beauty guru Jackie Alina as a “gorilla.”
The social media mogul has also had fall outs with transgender beauty guru Nikita Dragun, Manny MUA and Laura Lee, who have all been dragged on social media by Star, who revealed a series of old controversial tweets of theirs. Shane Dawson addresses Star’s notoriety in his five-part docuseries “The Secret World of Jeffree Star,” which serves to both humanize him as well as excuse much of his bad behavior. It remains to be seen if fans will be as forgiving.