Tiana Lachnit is a full-time social media influencer studying communications on the side
Mariah Klein // Contributor
“I would wear super black thick eyeliner under my eyes, and then I got called raccoon eyes by this boy, and I wanted to kill myself. But anyways, that’s how it started.” Tiana Lachnit, a first-year Communications student, is a 20-year-old business woman with over 12 million views on her beauty YouTube channel, and has 160,000 Instagram followers. Her most popular videos include prom makeup tutorials, product reviews and a “Brother Does My Makeup Tag.” “I’m just kind of playing it day by day,” she said.
The beauty community on YouTube has become a thriving industry, accumulating 88 million views on the platform in 2017. Lachnit posted her first video in 2014, but when her peers at school made fun of her for it, she quickly deleted all her accounts. “It wasn’t until Grade 10 [when] I was kind of like, ‘Screw it, I don’t really care what these people think’… it’s really what I want to do.” That mentality eventually became the driving force she needed to be taken seriously in the beauty world. From quitting her job at a restaurant, to going on brand-sponsored trips and signing contracts with companies, YouTube and social media has taken the place of a full-time career. Lachnit easily spends up to eight hours a day on her platforms.
“Brands started contacting me basically when I started. I was so confused, I didn’t know that was a thing at all,” Lachnit said. A significant source of income for creators on YouTube comes from sponsorships or paid promotions, either in videos or Instagram posts. As a senior in high school, Lachnit appreciated her friends in the industry who took her under their wing, giving her advice on how to bargain, stand her ground and know her worth. “You have to pick and choose [sponsorships]. A lot of people will try to lowball you,” she said. Depending on her contracts and content, every month’s income looks a bit different, but Lachnit’s success allows her to support herself.
As her audience grew, Lachnit soon realized she couldn’t please everyone. People wanted her to fit the cookie-cutter mould of a typical beauty vlogger, with a “happy-go-lucky” attitude. “It’s so tiring, I don’t know how people are that excited all the time,” she said. “That would [have been] me being fake, if I was super peppy.” Lachnit is able to be herself online, and that’s what her fans appreciate. “I like the interaction on Youtube,” she said. “You’re actually able to talk to people, it’s not like you’re just posting a photo of yourself, you’re actually interacting with them. They’ll ask you questions related to something you said.”
The struggle to stay relevant, maintain relationships with brands and stay on top of social media content keeps Lachnit busy. “It gets harder and harder every year,” she said. “Sometimes my creativity is down the drain, and I don’t know what to film.” There’s still uncharted territory and learning through trial and error, but there’s nothing else out there that gives her the same opportunities. Lachnit still gauges her sponsored content with care, promoting what she’s proud to be associated with, instead of who has the best financial offer. She has more experience under her belt, professionally, than any social media internship could ever give her.
Follow Tiana @tianacosmetics