With the rise of vlogging and blogging in the business world some would say the platform is losing its user authenticity. But in an online world littered with disingenuousness Grace Victory is a breath of unfiltered, fresh air. The 26 year old has amassed a whopping 21 million channel views for her honest videos about everything from beauty to mental health issues. We sat down with the YouTuber for her opinions on everything from YouTube to diversity and body image…
Grace on… YouTube
When I first got into YouTube there was nobody on there that I could relate to – someone curvy and mixed-race with curly hair. I thought that maybe I could be that for other people so I started making videos. The best things are the opportunities that I get and being able to connect with people across the pond in America and Canada and the worst things are when people misinterpret what you say in videos sometimes, which will then lead to hurtful comments and negativity.
In regards to dealing with negativity, it depends on my mood – if I’m in a good mood I’ll just ignore it and be like “whatever” but then if I’m in a bad mood I’ll reply because sometimes they need to be told that it’s not ok to speak to someone like that! Personally, I don’t feel like there’s a blogging community anymore. When I first started we were a girl gang with all of us sticking together and helping each other but now it’s all about who has the most followers, who has the best designer handbag and it has gone more down the celebrity route now, which I think is quite sad. It’s a business now.
There is room for up and coming bloggers but I think you need to stand out. Some people started like a year ago and have blown up! It all depends on what you’ve got to say and what help you get. Obviously if you know a massive YouTuber by association you’re going to grow more but you have to have some kind of niche and something different about you. I would say be yourself but also try to be different from the rest, do topics that aren’t “my M.A.C lipstick collection” and have an opinion!
Grace on… Body image
The greatest challenge with body image is loving yourself in a world where people tell you that you aren’t beautiful. Having stretch marks and cellulite and not being a size eight I find it quite hard, because obviously with blogging being as it is now you get papped at events and you have to look a certain way and wear amazing dresses and for me that’s not really my thing. There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way with blogging now. You’ll notice that certain brands will only put the same looking girl on their Instagram feed because it matches their aesthetic and I’m like “really?”. I’m not plus-sized enough to be a part of the plus-size community. I’m quite open with cellulite and stretch marks and stuff because I think once you put yourself out there and accept your flaws publicly people can’t then shut you down for it because I already know what my flaws are. I found that the best way to deal with body confidence issues is to learn to accept yourself at that very moment even if you’re on a weight loss journey or a weight gain journey do things that are going to improve how you see yourself.
Grace on… Race
I think race plays a part [in vlogging success]. When you’re a woman of colour it’s even harder to break down barriers and get regrammed on a brands page because it’s the same type of girl – slim and white. And then because I’m a YouTuber I’m not into fashion [blogging] so people will pinpoint me in the ‘big YouTubers’ group but I don’t have many friends in that circle. I don’t really feel like I fit in anywhere, it can be quite isolating. There needs to be more brown girls in blogging and vlogging. Not even just Black women, different races in general and body diversity too! And they would be successful because there are loads of different girls looking for make-up videos and fashion ideas.
I’ve always had natural hair, I only tried weave two years ago and all my family have natural hair, so growing up I never noticed weave that much – I was surrounded by natural women. Then obviously social media happened and YouTube happened and one minute my friend would have pink hair and the next minute she’d have blue and I’m like “how have you done that?” I think more black girls going natural is amazing, not only for embracing your culture but embracing who you are and not having to conform. You should be able to wear your hair however you like, I mean if you want to have green hair have green hair babe!
Grace on… Friendships
With friendships and relationships, it’s sad but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that sometimes people only want you for what you can give them or how you can help them with their career or certain aspects of their life. That’s a downside to friendships that I’ve had. I used to be more open than I am now. With privacy, if I’m going to show the highlights of my life I’m also going to show my downfalls because I don’t want people to think my life is amazing all the time so I often talk about my problems. However, things like my sex life and family issues I don’t speak about because it’s not anyone’s business and I do think that certain things need to be kept private. I talk about things I think might help other people but if it’s not going to help anyone then it’s my problem and I won’t talk about it. For friendships to work you have to be loyal, trust-worthy and honest. I think loyalty is a really hard thing at the moment with friendship – people just don’t care anymore! They have things like Twitter and they can just talk to people on there. It’s important to check in and make sure your friend is ok and always be honest with them whether it’s about a boy or their outfit!
Grace on… People’s perceptions of her
I’ve heard before that because I talk about problems that I’ve been through people have said on forums that I play the victim all the time and that really annoys me. The whole victim-blaming culture for things like sexual assault and workplace bullying is the reason people don’t talk about it because they get shunned for being open and told that they are just trying to be a victim and I think that is the biggest bullsh*t ever. I talk about my issues to help other people; it’s not really to help myself. When I was younger I don’t think I ever thought about life this far ahead. I thought about when I was older and how I wanted to be on stage and I knew I wanted to be creative and be ‘someone’ if that makes sense but I never knew what that would be. But I think my life is better than I ever thought it would be. I’m quite happy with where I am.
Grace Victory vlogs as the Ugly Face Of Beauty on YouTube and her official website is graciefrancesca.com
This interview originally featured in the June/July 2016 issue of Blackhair