(NEWS10) – For more than four decades, COVERGIRL makeup was marketed to young girls, but in the 21st Century, beauty and the way it’s advertised has been redefined by a local boy.
The Capital Region’s James Charles is the world’s first male representing the brand.
“Guys in beauty has been around forever,” he said. “Egyptian men used to wear makeup. Men in makeup, while it isn’t a new concept, it’s definitely becoming a concept now that it’s coming back into the light a little bit.”
Charles isn’t just a pretty face. While he breaks gender barriers internationally in the beauty industry, he is also an honor student at Bethlehem Central High School. He said he never wears a full face of makeup to class.
“I stay up all late doing business stuff,” he said. “I’m always waking up literally like five minutes before I walk out the door for school.”
NEWS10 ABC’s Noel McLaren was the only local reporter who got a chance to sit down with the fresh faced 17-year-old. He said all his confidence just comes naturally.
“I’ve always been super open, super outside the box, and super comfortable with myself,” he said. “I came out when I was 12 to my parents so they kind of knew very early on.”
Charles gives his Capital Region roots quite a bit of credit. He said he learned business savvy watching his father develop his own local contracting firm. His mother is a state worker.
“They’re my number one fans, but it definitely was a roller coaster to get there for sure,” he said.
Charles’s roller coaster to success began on social media. He experimented with outrageous looks on Instagram where his makeup for his high school senior photos went viral. More than 1 million followers later, he turned to YouTube. It took less than a year for him to capture COVERGIRL’s attention.
“It happened very quickly,” he said. “My manager called me a week later and told me the news. And I screamed and then cried and I was very, very excited, and then asked for more details.”
His success has inspired other local teenage boys like Benny Gotzman to also brave the world of blush and powder. Gotzman also aspires to be a makeup artist.
However, the glittery, bright world these boys highlight also has its shadows. They get teased; they get hate mail; and they get rejected. Some handle being bullied better than others.
“I mean, we all have our right to our opinions,” Charles said. “Not everybody is going to like what I do. That’s okay. I don’t really care, though. I’m doing what I love.”
“I’m 17 years old, and I can say that what I do is now my career, which many people can’t say,” he continued. “There’s always going to be people that don’t like what I’m doing, but at the end of the day, for every hate comment there’s a million positive ones, so I just try to focus on that and not the negative.”
Perhaps we could all learn something from Charles. Not just how to make our skin look better, but also thicker. In his short year in the spotlight, James Charles has accomplished what many of us would like to in a lifetime, and he’s just getting started.
“This is literally just the beginning,” he said. “It’s so cool. I get messages all the time from people saying I inspire them, that I push them to be who they are, which that makes it all worth it for me in the end.”
So what does the future look like for someone who’s already accomplished so much at 17? Charles said when he graduates from Bethlehem Central in the spring, he’s moving to Los Angeles. He’s already working on expanding his YouTube Channel and creating a line of merchandise and makeup.