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Inspired Festival: From Beauty YouTuber to Digital Marketing Lecturer

Before moving to the UK, Adriana Braje launched a successful YouTube channel which now has 103K subscribers and over 24 million views. Now working as a BCU lecturer for Digital Marketing and the current School Marketing Lead, Adriana opens up about her experiences and inspirations in hopes to motivate graduates for the Inspired Festival.

What inspired Adriana to start her YouTube channel?

During her teen years, Adriana used to pursue athletics professionally, however, she suffered an injury in her first year of high school and she consequently had to stop her passion for athletics. Due to a conflict of schedules, she also had to stop playing the cello and so the abrupt ending of everything that felt familiar created a void for Adriana. Making YouTube videos ending up being the perfect avenue to fill this void as creating content allowed Adriana to be creative and have fun again.

One of the breaking points when she was looking into different avenues for creating content was when she started to really struggle with acne in her teen years. The dermatologist put Adriana on heavy antibiotics, and she began researching other people’s journeys who were on these medications, such as how it affected them and whether there were any side effects, however nothing came up.

After realising that there could be countless people who are in the same situation, she realised how important it was for her content to be useful for others, and so she started to document her journey.

“I thought it was necessary to be seen by the community so we build this tolerance and understanding for someone else’s journey, someone else’s position and feelings, and be more appreciative of all the diverse cultures we have”. 

What motivated Adriana to keep going despite starting off with a small platform?

Just like a lot of teenagers, Adriana was very conscious of her body image at a young age and didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin, finding that it was turning into something very unhealthy. Fortunately, she had her YouTube channel which created a safe space and helped her to not worry about anything.

“I didn’t feel the most confident, I didn’t feel the most beautiful, I didn’t feel like I fit the pattern. YouTube kept me going and it just kept me happy. It was just a little world of my own that nobody can take away. I think that was probably the main reason why I stuck with it for such a long time”.

Adriana’s channel began to see a massive growth with her step by step tutorials, especially with her ‘How To Apply Eyeliner Like a PRO!’ video reaching 17 million views and ‘How To Apply Gel Eyeliner! Brushes, Tips and More!’ reaching 2.5 million views. Yet, even with the hate comments that all YouTubers are bound to get at some point, Adriana found that the hate (which was usually about her eyebrows) helped strengthen her mental health rather than knock her down which was her main motivation to keep making videos.

What was the most surprising experiences in Adriana’s YouTube career?

Adriana started off with only 20 subscribers for her first two years of filming. It was never about the numbers for Adriana and so without any expectations for her channel, she simply used the platform to keep herself sane through her teenage struggles. She found it was different from school and from anything else out there at the time, providing her with her own little world. 

One of the most surprising experiences to come out of this was being invited by YouTube to attend their exclusive ‘Unlock the Space’ event in London, an event where selected YouTubers are granted premium access to their facilities and training sessions.

“I remember first I thought it was a scam email, I didn’t think it was real”.

Adriana also joined a competition for the next up and coming creators, a competition in which thousands of people in the UK applied for, and Adriana managed to be one of the top candidates. The whole event was something Adriana never thought she’d be part of, during which she met top creators like Marcus Butler and even attended editing workshops with high profile names, such as the editors of Star Trek.

Another huge achievement for Adriana was being able to join the recording of a documentary for YouTube which was filmed by a TV station called ARTE who flew out to Birmingham and filmed with Adriana for a few days. All of these experiences opened up a lot of doors for Adriana and allowed for collaborations which drew more attention to her channel.

How has YouTube helped Adriana?

Living in a digital era has many benefits; we have the potential to be more connected than ever. Through YouTube Adriana was able to get a digital marketing internship that turned into a full-time job. Young educators are fairly uncommon but because of her channel, Adriana was able to progress quickly through her career.

“There’s no way I would be here and be a lecturer at BCU if it wasn’t for that courageous 15-year-old that just took that camera and started filming. I owe a lot to that little teenager”.

Advice for graduates

A key piece of advice from Adriana is to follow your gut regardless of what your friends or colleagues might say as you won’t know until you try. 

“Everyone started small. No one grew to a million [subscribers] overnight. You just need to keep with it, make it your own, and make it fun for you. If you’re constantly burdened by this need to grow and prosper and generate revenue, there’s no way your channel or your profile is ever going to be successful”.

What’s next?

Part of the reason why Adriana decided to retire from YouTube was that she never felt too comfortable with the influencer crowd because of the weird energy that comes with people considering each other competition. 

Now that Adriana is in her twenties, she has developed her own consultancy business throughout the years and started lecturing. With time, she feels like both she and her audience have outgrown her channel a bit and she now uses teaching to satisfy her creativity. 

“I might continue doing it but I think now I would be more open to trying out a different platform, so maybe playing more with Instagram reels or maybe going to TikTok or something like that so watch this space.”

To follow Adriana’s journey into the world of beauty, hair and skincare, you can watch her YouTube videos here.