Welcome to #UnderTheInfluence – our internet corner where we chat everything content creation, community, and of course – the unique power of influence in a social-first world. Today, we welcome Ehlie Luna to the blog to share her insider secrets as a Beauty Pro in the ever evolving landscape of makeup artistry, music and life on the ‘gram. Without another beat – let’s get into it with Ehlie:
How did you get your start as a beauty influencer? Did you start on these platforms with the intention of influencing or is it something that evolved naturally?
I started out in music, and was doing professional makeup for New York City Ballet Theater on the side. I actually never wanted the two to cross because I wanted to be taken seriously in music – I always wanted to do makeup but I was already a multi passionate that no one took seriously because I liked so many things! So, I didn’t want to do that publicly – the evolution into makeup was very slow. I started to align more and more with the beauty-side of myself, and felt happier there.
What was the first platform you used?
The first platform I used was actually YouTube. I was writing songs with a writing partner who was very smart in the way that she knew the importance of a social media presence before “influencing” was a thing – we were out there in LA, and we both had flip cameras, and would record ourselves for fun.
Can you clearly define the relationship between being a makeup artist and a digital creator in the beauty space?
I feel like one informs the other – it’s interesting with content creation, because it really is a different brain. Your pro-makeup artistry is something you develop over time – a lot of muscle memory, intuition – whereas with content creation, you’re trying to distill all of that and make it something that people can consume very quickly. It makes you audit yourself as you’re working – the forward facing nature of content creation takes a different role for makeup artists, who typically prefer to be behind the scenes.
What is a part of your job as a content creator that you didn’t see coming when approaching the space?
The thing I didn’t see coming is that you kind of have to develop a more entrepreneurial mindset. There’s so much that goes into influencing that people don’t realize. There is a real business side, and you need to develop thick skin.
We’re sprinting through trends these days – do you think your audience changes their tastes with the times?
I feel like we are evolving on a similar trajectory. The only thing I’ll say is that my audience is more savvy now, because there’s more education – so while trends may change, it’s technique that my followers are interested in the most. Or a fun reel, or insight about what’s helping me as a creator – from the apps and tools I use to edit my content, to my mindset and the way I think about things is what they really respond to best.
How would you describe your relationship with your audience? What type of content do you feel they crave most? Does it change often?
I feel like it’s two things – specific techniques, and education and then the other is serving looks. Trends are fun, but I feel like the deeper stuff is literally showing the brush I use, how I use it, etc. The education content might not get the most reach, but it’s definitely where my audience is most engaged. They’ll DM me to let me know they’ve tried my techniques and loved it, which goes so far. It’s the more juicy stuff – a great feeling.
What is your favorite part of being a content creator, and the least?
I think my favorite part (and my least favorite part) are the same thing – which is that I work alone! I push myself, I’m hard on myself – I don’t need to be micromanaged, I’m going to get it done. At the same time, you can get into a long stretch of that, and my fiance’ will be like ‘ok – you have to leave the apartment today’ (laughs). It works for my personality, but I do find I have to push myself to come up for air, meet with friends, and live life.
Advice you would give an up-and-coming beauty influencer:
Try and have a clinical mentality and approach to how you think about how you fit on the platform – that’s the only way you’re going to get through comparing yourself, feeling like you’re not growing fast enough, and all that – you’ll have those feelings, but it won’t slow you down because you can create some distance between yourself and the content. The platform is not against you; it’s not personal. It’s just you showing up all the time, creating the type of content you want to create – bring in whatever it is you do to make it unique. For example, one time I did an IG Live where we wrote a song together, while we did makeup – whatever you can do to make it an experience they’re not going to get anywhere else, is where it’s at. Bring as much as YOU into it as possible.
Who do you look to for inspiration on IG? (or TikTok, Pinterest, etc.)
I follow my friends in the industry, of course – like Wendy (@babenexttdoor) is a super inspiring creator – she’s so innovative, her & @strashme – two people that come to mind. Celine Bernard, those creators who elevate the space – just do something completely different – they make you think outside of what’s already being done, and it’s so inspiring to me. I’m consuming media all the time, so I’m surrounded by inspiration everywhere – artists, dancers, everything.
As a content creator in the beauty space, what is your opinion on diversity in the area of inclusive products and content? What has the conversation been amongst creators and your audience?
I think the first phase of the conversation is diversity – extend the shade ranges. Step 1 is show us ourselves, give us options. Step 2 is, who is making the decisions? Who is in these meetings, and a part of that is who is developing the product? Who is helping them with these shade ranges? Who are they consulting with about the undertones of these concealers – and who’s testing it?
We’re not going to get where we need to go, if the structure behind the brand stays the same. I did a blog post about this in 2020 called The Optics of Inclusion – where there’s a lot of appearing inclusivity, and it’s all front facing. Inclusion means we’re in the room, we’re there, we have a voice – and that’s when it makes a difference.
Another thing about inclusion in beauty that we’re not talking about enough, is that there is an elitist aspect to it – the more expensive a brand is, the fewer shades they tend to have. We’re starting to see a bit of change in the space, where Gucci (Westman) recently did something interesting and remarkable with their deepest shade, where it’s truly a deep shade – but some brands have established their audiences by actually NOT making their products available to everyone, which is a whole other thing…
Overall, even though members of my audience and I have different complexions, it’s not about that – the value is not in the color of skin. Some content creators are super knowledgeable about lots of products, and even though you won’t wear the same thing I’m wearing, I can recommend 2 or 3 things that would make sense for you and have the same effect. It’s moving in a better direction – I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.Let’s Talk