Beat. Contoured. Caked up. On fleek. It seems as if new colloquialisms for beauty and makeup are coined overnight. Anyone familiar with meme and tweet culture knows how rapidly new slang terms go in and out of the lexicon. With that being said MUAs (makeup artists), beauty influencers and stylists largely rely on the internet to share and learn information regarding the latest trends. There aren’t many televisions shows about makeup, therefore, beauty influencers use platforms like Instagram and YouTube to share their work.
Known by her YouTube and Instagram handles, @beautybykidist, Ethiopian beauty influencer Kidist Norahun uses her platform to share tips on makeup, haircare, skincare and lifestyle. Fluent in both English and Amharic, Norahun reaches a diverse audience of over 117,000 YouTube subscribers and over 64,000 Instagram followers.
“The best part of being an influencer is when you see someone take your advice or suggestion and seeing how they benefited from it,” Norahun says.
Norahun, 28, first discovered the world of make up around ten years ago. She cites MUAs like Jackie Aina as inspirations.
“When I was about 19 or 20, I started watching YouTube makeup tutorials, and I started browsing makeup sites everyday on my phone,” Norahun says. “I got to know the products quite well. After months of browsing, I decided to register at one of the best beauty schools in the U.S.”
Since launching her YouTube and Instagram accounts, Norahun has dabbled in the joys of being an influencer. She has also come to learn that there is so much more to being a public figure than meets the eye.
Norahun admits that being a beauty influencer, there is an expectation to maintain a certain appears, which she says can be tough. She also believes that when reaching out to an audience so large in diverse, some messages tend to get lost in translation.
“The most challenging part of being an influencer is getting your point across without being misunderstood,” Norahun says.
Norahun describes herself as a full-time mother and a full-time YouTuber, who works 35 to 40 hours per week. As a mother, Norahun’s first priority is her daughter. She says that social media can be overwhelming and that when her daughter gets to an age when she is old enough to use social media, she will teach her to navigate the online world with tact.
Although she admits social media can, at times, be toxic, Norahun believes she wouldn’t be able to have garnered such a large following without it.
“Honestly, I don’t know how I would react [if Instagram were to shut down,]” Norahun says. “But I think I would be devastated. It would definitely affect my marketing. I don’t think I would be able to find another way to make it work as effectively as I would with Instagram.”
While the idea of being a full-time parent along with maintaining a large social network may sound daunting, Norahun’s mission is to empower her viewers, followers, and personal clients alike.
“My goal is to enhance their natural beauty and to make them feel confident,” Norahun says. “But I want people to know that it takes hard work and meeting a lot of expectations is not easy.”