Young social content providers typically present images of an idyllic life. Nineteen-year-old Jessie Paege, however, amassed more than 2 million followers across her social channels by sharing her inner insecurities and challenges.
In fact, her YouTube channel morphed from her beginning as “Glam With Jessie,” to content raising awareness of and offering resources for teenagers and children struggling with mental health issues and anxiety. She’s part of a cadre of young content providers looking to share beauty tips, but also make a much bigger impact on the overall wellness of followers. Paege frequently changes her hair color to express her mood and recently shifted from blue to her original blonde to “let go of memories of a rough month.” At Coachella, she donned rainbow tresses to match her festivalwear.
Paege just released her second book called “Think Beyond Pink,” which introduces kids to serious topics but also features fun activities. Although the willowy, electric-guitar playing, New Jersey native said she was shy in high school, she found her place in social media helping others.
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Here, she discusses her unique vantage point on beauty, how she started experimenting with hair color and what she does with the mounds of products she receives.
WWD: Describe your followers.
Jessie Paege: They are colorful people with cool stories. They might be people who feel they don’t fit in and need a place to feel comfortable. There’s a lot of interaction where they’ll tell me I really touched them.
WWD: Speaking of color, how did you start to express yourself through hair color?
J.P.: I always played with [adding color] to the ends of my hair. I feel like it was one of the first things I did for myself growing up. I had few friends in school. I started YouTubing and colored hair was one of the biggest things I did. I chose pink clip-ins at first. Because my mom had breast cancer, that had emotional significance. Then I started doing my whole head. I was stuck on pink for a year and a half, then blue. But, I started feeling I wasn’t special without my colored hair. I went through a lot and it was reminding me of bad memories and I was afraid I was keeping my colored hair to appease everyone else. Now I’m back to natural and I’m having fun with wigs, too. But it would be the coolest thing to do a hair color line someday. It would be very “on brand.”
WWD: You’ve been involved with brands like Clean and Clear and Proactiv. What are your current go-to beauty items?
J.P.: I am really into micellar waters. I like how they totally take makeup off and you feel great. I also love Soap & Glory. I still deal with acne and like spot treatments and of course Clean and Clear and Proactiv. I recently started getting lash extensions. I love the look of false lashes, but they felt heavy. With the lash extensions I can go without makeup and still feel confident. I am not a big fragrance person, but I love the Drybar dry shampoo scent.
WWD: Do you use and keep all the products you get?
J.P.: If I feel they are not right for my skin tone and my mom likes them, I give to her. Also, some of my friends are packaging up products for charity events that I donate to. I like to know that instead of something sitting around, there is someone who can use it.
WWD: What social media can you not live without and who are you following?
J.P.: I love the girls from “Riverdale” [the CW series]. I like their styles. As far as social media, I can’t live without Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is sarcastic and comedic. Instagram is so visual, I can’t choose.
WWD: Have you ever said no to a beauty company who wanted to work with your, but it didn’t fit your personality?
J.P.: One hundred percent! That’s super important to me and something that should be important. A brand deal lasts a small amount of time, your brand image you want to be forever. Tainting that [an image] can be more hurtful. I’m fortunate that most of my followers support what I do and say, ‘good job,” [with sponsored content]. It is also important to be approachable, so people see you as a friend.
WWD: What types of post get most interaction?
J.P.: People like my comedic stuff. I recently posted a picture with me with no makeup with Oreos all around me and people really liked it, it was relatable. YouTube is all over the place — people like my videos where I sit down and talk about serious topics. People appreciate that I lay it all on the table. It is a reminder we all have struggles. It is cool that I’m not like this perfect image.
WWD: Ever fear of sharing too much?
J.P.: I think it is important for influencers’ mental health to have moments where we are not worried about taking a picture or video. It is healthy to set a line and my fans know if I take a break it is for a good reason.