YouTuber-turned-Gen Z-icon Emma Chamberlain has made relatability the core of her personal brand. This comes in the form of regularly documenting her acne struggles and, through solo drives, scouring Los Angeles for the best coffee.
“Very quickly, I realized how powerful it was to be open about how imperfect life really is,” said Chamberlain, 19. “I do my absolute best to be 100% myself on camera — no acting, no sugarcoating. I talk to the camera like I’m talking to a friend.”
Her transparency and vulnerability have paid off, from a business standpoint. Her creative director title at Bad Habit skin care, owned by Morphe’s parent company, Forma Brands, has been well-received by fans and critics alike. Such approval is often difficult to achieve for an influencer with no professional background in beauty.
But her passion for natural beauty evolved organically. “Not wearing makeup on camera was something that came naturally when I first started my channel [in June 2017], because I didn’t feel like I had anyone to impress,” she said. “I was just making videos for myself. Once I started gaining a following, people found comfort in seeing me not trying to cover up my ‘flaws.’”
Her strong online presence initially caught the eye of Derek Blasberg, head of fashion and beauty partnerships at YouTube. He quickly coordinated a co-sponsorship between Chamberlain, YouTube and Louis Vuitton in 2019 for Paris Fashion Week.
But, the relationship with Bad Habit is much more personal. “This is the kind of brand I would’ve wanted to see a few years ago, when I was struggling with acne and felt totally left out of the skin-care conversation.”
“When they first sent me the products, they had no labels, no packaging. I basically went on a blind date with the Bad Habit products. The good news is that I fell in love with the formulas,” Chamberlain said. “Once I learned about the brand’s mission [its tagline is ‘skincare that’s good to your skin, even when you’re not’] and saw the final creative direction, I knew I had to get involved. Bad Habit is like me in a skin-care brand: It’s fun, honest and real about the fact that life is far from perfect.”
The social media star, who’s also the founder of namesake Chamberlain Coffee company, is decidedly viewed as a role model today. But she makes it clear that life isn’t one-size-fits-all. The same goes for skin care.
“Skin care is personal. Find what works best for you. Don’t get discouraged when your best friend’s favorite product doesn’t work for you,” Chamberlain said. “Also, be patient. Your skin is a complex organ, and sometimes it’ll go through phases that are tough to deal with. Your beauty comes from within. Don’t value your worth based on how your skin looks.”
To see all 24 Gen-Z names defining beauty, click here.