James Charles and Instant Influencer

Patrycja Chrzanowska, Editor in Chief

If you were on social media in May of 2019, you surely remember the drama surrounding James and Tati. The internet was plagued with “canceled” tweets, videos of a plummeting subscriber count, and Tik Toks of previously loyal fans destroying their James Charles eyeshadow pallets. In May of 2019, just over a year ago, Tati Westbrook (a YouTube makeup artist) uploaded a 43 minute video titled “Bye Sister” in which she shared a series of anecdotes exposing James Charles, a fellow YouTube makeup artist, of being a bad friend and, more importantly, an alleged sex offender. This was James’ largest scandal to date, causing him to lose over 3 million subscribers in less than a week. Many saw this as the last straw in a long line of James’ internet scandals. To some, James is simply irredeemable.

However, since the Bye Sister video had been uploaded, James has managed to disprove some of Tati’s allegations with evidence and has defended his name. Slowly but surely he managed to regain a lot of his following, but it is clear that the backlash he had faced during this time period had changed his behavior, at least on the internet. For some, he still is, and forever will be, canceled. But the “cancel culture” that has been plaguing social media for a few years now is toxic as it’s built off the belief that people shouldn’t make mistakes and can’t learn from the mistakes they’ve made, which we all know isn’t true because making mistakes is simply a part of life. 

It’s important to acknowledge that James Charles has spent the past year being, for the most part, unproblematic. Additionally, he has been extremely successful, in more ways than regaining his social media following. One of James’ most recent successes is his new YouTube Red show, Instant Influencer. Creating and hosting a successful show takes more than just being unproblematic, so even James Charles’ fans were impressed with what he pulled off. Of course the show isn’t without criticism as some fans claim that the show is too predictable or has too few contestants, but overall, the show is clearly a success.

Instant Influencer is a “Project Runway” style competition in which James Charles chooses six small beauty influencers to participate as contestants to become the next “instant influencer.” The six contestants for the first season were Ashley Strong, Benny Cerra, Brittany Renteria, Christian Perez, Gabriel Garcia, and Kalin Chase. In each episode the contestants first participate in a mini challenge. The winner of the mini challenge receives an advantage in the elimination challenge. The contestants are judged by James Charles (the host), Norvina (the co host), and a celebrity judge, such as Paris Hilton. At the end of each episode, a contestant is eliminated. The winner of the competition receives a $50,000 cash prize as well as a collab with James Charles. The winner of the first season was Ashley Strong. 

It’ll be interesting to see where this show goes in upcoming seasons and even more interesting to see how the winners’ social media presence and following is affected.