Business of Beauty: MissGlamorazzi, From Tomboy to Diva

/ Jul 11, 2013


When she was young, MissGlamorazzi was a tomboy.

Now, 24-year-old Ingrid Nilsen of the famed YouTube beauty channel that has amassed more than 1.3 million subscribers, makes a living being girly and glamorous.

A career as a beauty maven was never her plan: The first thing Nilsen ever wanted to be was a teacher. Then her ambition moved to animation and by late middle school, Nilsen was sure she’d be an architect. In fact, she carried that dream to college, choosing it as her major.

It wasn’t until her makeup-savvy college roommate introduced her to her first high-end mascara during a study abroad in Paris, that she became hooked, diving into the YouTube beauty scene and making it her mission to learn what the pros knew.

After swimming in makeup videos for a summer, Nilsen decided to film her own, but not because she was confident in her ability. With the exception of spiders, being on camera was her number one fear and she intended to conquer it.

“I really made the video to try and make myself a more confident person,” Nilsen says. “So, I made my channel at like 3 a.m. and then posted a video the next day. It just felt good to put the video up there whether people were watching it or not.”

But people were watching and asking to see more, so she kept posting.

At first, by her own admission, her videos were less than stellar. She even removed her first hair curling tutorial citing poor lighting, mumbles and appearing as though she were “in a bat cave,” she says giggling.

When Nilsen signed with YouTube talent network, Big Frame, in August 2011, that’s when things got real, she says.

“It really kind of solidified everything as a business, like ‘OK this is what I’m going to do’,” she says. “They’ve been a big part of helping me grow my channel.”

Since then, she’s taken on brand partnerships with companies like BH Cosmetics and does some sponsored content. She also collaborates with other YouTubers like Tyler Oakley and Elle Fowler, and draws a crowd at events. She is able to fully support herself as MissGlamorazzi.

Nilsen built a brand as she built her following, but branding isn’t just about business to her.

“Building a brand means staying true to who I am,” she says. “And that means having whatever it is that I’m putting out there in the world, truly reflect who I am and the things that I love.”

There aren’t any MissGlamorazzi branded items yet, but within the next five years, Nilsen hopes to launch a product line or a company. Something, she says, that will be sustainable beyond the life of her YouTube channel.

Ask Nilsen to describe herself and you get one surprising answer and two that are just what you’d expect from this cheerful entrepreneur: She says she’s “dedicated, nerdy [surprise], and just very happy.”

Nilsen is motivated to continue growing the MissGlamorazzi brand, which she sees as a way to show young girls they can overcome fears and become whatever they want.

“I was so shy and so not confident,” she says. “And I really just want to spread that message to girls and kind of cultivate a new generation of confident young women.”

Come back tomorrow as VideoInk continues its weeklong special issue on the “Business of Beauty on YouTube.”

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  • LadyBug

    Nerdy?! Interesting! As though being nerdy is a trend. If being a nerd is playing a few games and reading some books then I guess an average/typical high schooler are all nerds. Not hating just don’t like the fact that people proclaim to be nerds because they are into a few so called nerd activities.

    • zimt

      see, if a guy would have described himself as nerdy, this sort of comment wouldn’t have spawned.
      just because she is interested in make up doesn’t mean that she only follows the ‘nerd’-trend.
      she can still be well read, like video games or whatever.
      she can also be a beauty-nerd.
      the term ‘nerd’ isn’t reserved for gamer – just fyi
      you don’t have to be an outcast or socially awkward to ‘earn the privilege’ of calling yourself a nerd.
      also, there’s nothing wrong with nerds being ‘average’ people. i think everyone has her/his heart set somewhere – some get more obsessed/passionate, have great knowledge about that and therefore call themselves nerds, and that’s fine. but that doesn’t make the ”average” person less interesting or whatnot.
      i understand the desire to find your individual grounds and to feel special.
      but we shouldn’t try to achieve that by talking down to others – that doesn’t really lift us up.
      it’s just ignorant and keeps us back from actually growing.

      • Ladybug

        Wow! That wasn’t my views at all. It was never to talk down to anyone or make any average person feel less of a person or less special than anyone else. It’s just a generalization that sometimes these day people proclaim that they are nerds as though its a fashion trend. That’s all I’m saying.

        • Ladybug

          For example: Guys or girls who put on a pair of glasses and take a selfie titled “OMG, I’m such a nerd” or guys or girls playing videos games and put on their FB status “I’m stuff playing video games while my friend are out, OMG, Nerd status!” —- that’s what I meant when I say people toss the term around because they think it’s the IN thing to do.

          • kay

            She has talked about being super into school and learning growing up, a try hard student, and maybe that is partly what she means. Why does it matter if someone considers themselves nerdy in their own way? There isn’t criteria that needs to be met. It isn’t some elite club….she thinks she’s nerdy, so what.

          • Anonymous

            She dropped out of College, though, and we all know how ‘hard’ she tries re: her ‘beauty’ career.

            Of course it doesn’t “matter” in the grand scheme of things, but people are allowed to find it irritating when she deliberately labels herself / attaches herself onto trends just to appear oh-so-cutesy / relatable / appealing / whatever. Why does she feel the need to announce the fact that she’s a ‘nerd’ anyway? It’s funny how she was a huge ‘gamer and photography nerd’ when Luke was on the scene, and now that she seems to be hanging around a beach boy, her video content has deteriorated and she’s all about being a ~beach / outdoors babe~. Let’s also not forget how she loved calling herself a “tiny person”, even though she’s of average height.

            What it comes down to is that she actually has little to no personality of her own and so ‘needs’ to label herself / succumb to trends in order to appear semi-interesting.

          • Ruta

            She never dropped out. She graduated. Honestly. Get your facts straight.

          • guest

            she dropped out. her name was not on the graduating list of her college. she has never shared her graduation pictures like other youtubers nor has she tried to confirm / deny the rumors. stop eating up all her lies and learn to think and research for yourself.

          • Lol

            Think? Or…stalk?

          • Annie

            ‘Why’ do ‘you’ use quotation ‘marks’ so ‘much’? -_-

  • Ash

    Dedicated? Ha!

  • Lilly

    I love Ingrid almost all the makeup I have is recommended by her!

  • guest

    “Building a brand means staying true to who I am,” she says. “And that means having whatever it is that I’m putting out there in the world, truly reflect who I am and the things that I love.”
    l o l

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