MILAN — Move over Millennials, Gen Z is here.
And who could represent the category better than Californian beauty Amanda Steele, who, at 18 years old, can list on her résumé vlogger, influencer, actor and face of Bulgari’s latest Omnia Pink Sapphire fragrance?
Steele launched her beauty channel MakeupbyMandy24 on YouTube when she was only 10 and in the past eight years she drew the attention of a crowd of followers — 2.8 million subscribers to her YouTube channel; 2.6 million followers on Instagram and over 1 million on Twitter — for her beauty-related contents and bold, authentic personality.
These assets led Bulgari Parfums to recruit her and fellow influencers Madison Beer and Margaret Zhang to help launch its latest Omnia Pink Sapphire eau de toilette, the brand’s first scent specifically targeting Gen Z costumers.
Created by master perfumer Alberto Morillas, the fragrance hit the American counters last month and was officially launched in Italy last week with a special, pink-infused and Instagrammable event at the Milanese W37 venue.
This marked the first Italian trip for Steele, who sat down with WWD just few moments before getting prepared for the party, still wrapped in a Nineties-inspired Are You Am I black silk minidress with a square neckline and back straps before switching into a pink gown for the event.
“This is my first time working with Bulgari and I feel so lucky,” said Steele. “It’s really awesome to be one of the faces of this perfume. It’s something that I’ve always aspired to have as a kid — a perfume that is so beautiful and has such a status — and now that I get to represent it, it’s super special to me.”
Summing up the fragrance as “citrusy, bold and fun,” Steele admitted she generally favors musky scents over floral ones but that Omnia Pink Sapphire proved to be an exception as “it’s citrusy and floral but it has that musky undertone, which makes it really easy to wear during the day or at night.”
The digital-oriented campaign comprises a group image of the influencers along with single portraits of them posing with the pink flacon.
Showcasing the carefree spirit of the protagonists, a 30-second clip flanks the campaign and has been shared in cut versions on Bulgari’s online platforms, including the newly launched @BulgariParfums dedicated Instagram account.
Retracing the experience of filming the campaign with Beer and Zhang in a villa in Saint-Tropez, Steele said the trio of influencers “basically just danced, drove cute, little cars and jumped in pools…If I could do that every day, I would.”
“I’ve known Madison [Beer] like for 4 years. We knew each other and shooting was awesome, we all got along so well…we totally clicked and had so much fun,” Steele said, adding that she had never met Zhang prior the shoot but she was among her 930,000 Instagram followers.
Here, WWD talks to Steele about her other upcoming projects, beauty go-to picks and social media habits.
WWD: What other projects or collaborations are you working on?
Amanda Steele: I’m working on a jewelry collection in collaboration with Luv AJ. We’re in the design process right now and it’s not really out there to the public as it’s happening, but it will come out this summer. I’m really excited about that.
WWD: Is there any difference between working with jewelry, fragrances, or beauty in general?
A.S.: It’s just an honor and I feel like anyone will take this opportunity because it’s insane — I could not even imagine this [as] something they would ask me to be a part of, so of course, I’d be like, “I would do anything for you, guys.”
I feel really comfortable in front of the camera since I’ve been recording videos since I was 10 years old, so probably at 13 or 14 years old I started filming on sets for all different types of things. I feel comfortable doing things like this and [doing so] for a product that I actually really believe in and love, it makes it that much better.
WWD: What does it mean for you to be an influencer?
A.S.: I’ve just been doing it for so long and I hit a million subscribers when I was 14, so I kind of always had this [reach,] I guess? When I was younger I was like, “Oh, I wish my parents put me in child acting or something,” but I still started this pretty young and it got me so far, it’s kind of just my normal life now. I just love it.
WWD: Beside YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, which other social media platform do you have?
A.S.: I have a Snapchat, but I kind of stopped using it because of Instagram stories. I’d rather have everything on one [platform.]
WWD: Which is the first social media you check in the morning? Which is your favorite one?
A.S.: I think I check Instagram first. I spent most time on that, out of my social media. And the thing about the Explore page [is that] if you spend time on it, it starts curate to what you want to see. So I always go on Instagram because it’s made of what I want to see, which is all right there, and it gives me a lot of inspiration for my day. Like, I start watching makeup videos and then I see people just being bossy and killing it and it inspires me [to think] “I’m going to get out of bed and do something cool, too!”
WWD: Who do you follow and why?
A.S.: I always go through phases, like obsessions, and right now it’s cooking. I love watching cooking videos on Instagram, it’s definitely my favorite [thing.] There’s one, basic account called Vegan Videos, which just has all the best vegan cooking videos on Instagram, so that’s my go-to.
WWD: Fashion-wise, is there any particular trend you’re really into?
A.S.: Right now, I’m obsessed with blazers, wearing them just casually, oversized. I take them from my boyfriend and wear his and they’re all big and cool-looking. I wear them with ripped-up jeans, so it’s kind of mixing business and casual, which makes me feel like a boss.
WWD: And in terms of beauty, what are the top three products you can’t live without and why?
A.S.: I love concealer, I definitely always need concealer, it’s my favorite. I also like moisturizer as I have really dry skin, so I always need heavy moisturizer and I go through them so quickly. And also some sort of lip balm, I always need it on me.
WWD: On your social media, what kinds of posts elicit the most engagement? What do people like the most?
A.S.: They really respond well to me speaking from my heart. So when I do videos when I’m sitting down and they can see my personality, it’s kind of like we’re just hanging out, that’s what does the best and what they really like. It’s just kind of a friendship thing, so when I bring them into my everyday life and make them part of this whole process, that’s what does the best [on social media.]
WWD: Is there any difference between social media platforms now compared to when you first started?
A.S.: Yes, I think before there weren’t as many places to look, there was a lot smaller number of creators. Now, when there’s so many people making videos and there’s so much content out there, people are getting like super click-baiting and just trying to get attention with flashy stuff, getting it in a more negative way, I think. It changed and become so commercial, while when I first started, it was literally [all about] passion.
WWD: How do you decide what to post, what to share and what to keep private? How much is too much?
A.S.: I’m down to share everything and it’s what I’ve signed up for, so there’s nothing that I feel is off the table. But a lot of times, when I’m experiencing things, people want me to be recording every second of my life and at some point you just want to enjoy the moment — so that’s the kind of privacy I need.
WWD: Do you have any advice for young people who want to create their own platform?
A.S.: I would definitely tell them: “just follow your heart and do what you like to do, what makes you happy, because that really shows.” Everyone wants to follow someone who’s super passionate and believes in something.
I think of myself in the past when I let the mean comments affect how I made my videos and what kind of things I posted. If I just ignored them and focused on what I was already doing from the beginning, I could have saved so much time.
WWD: In what way did those comments affect you?
A.S.: I had to learn how to deal with them. In my first videos I was like: “What is this? This is crazy, I don’t want to do this!” and I definitely thought of stopping, in the beginning. I thought: “I’m not doing this for you guys just to judge me,” but then I said I was not going to let them take away what makes me happy, so I just continued.
WWD: What up-and-coming platform holds the most potential and why?
A.S.: People are always thinking about new stuff. I feel though, that Instagram is trying to take over everything and that it’s going to get even bigger. Snapchat was a thing, it was huge, everyone loved it and I still like to go on it, but Instagram was just like “Oh, I’ll take that idea” and now people are not going on Snapchat anymore, they are just staying on Instagram. I feel Instagram itself is just going to evolve so much.