James Charles, YouTube’s most famous beauty vlogger, has unveiled the contestants and his judge sidekick for a reality-competition show to find the next makeup artist star.
And Charles is certainly grateful that the YouTube-funded series, “Instant Influencer,” has already been shot and will be ready to roll out starting April 24 on his YouTube channel. He posted the show’s official trailer Friday.
The coronavirus crisis, which has ground much of the U.S. and other countries to a halt, hasn’t affected the timeline for the four-part original series, which is in post-production, Charles told Variety in an interview. “The show is about to be completely done,” he said. “Hopefully it will be a way to put a smile on people’s faces.”
In the “Project Runway”-style show, announced last fall, Charles will pick one emerging beauty artist as the winner of a $50,000 cash prize. Joining him as a regular judge is Instagram beauty influencer Norvina (real name: Claudia Soare), who is president of the Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics brand. “Instant Influencer” also will feature other guests.
As revealed via the “Instant Influencer” Instagram account earlier this week, the six “micro-influencers” vying for the prize are: Ashley Strong, Benny Cerra, Christian Perez, Kailin Chase, Britany Renteria and Gabriel Garcia.
The show was shot in January — which means the “Instant Influencer” victor has already been anointed. “The winner we selected is incredibly talented,” Charles said, without spilling any more details. He added, “Part of being an influencer is keeping your mouth shut about an exciting announcement.”
After premiering April 24 on Charles’ YouTube channel, the following episodes will be released weekly. Charles hosts and directed the series, and served as executive producer alongside his manager, Jake Walsh.
“Instant Influencer” was shot at the YouTube Space in L.A.’s Playa Vista. Charles called it “definitely the hardest week of my entire life.”
“It was exhausting… it was definitely a learning experience,” he said. “That said, it was by far the most fun I’ve ever had.” As a TV-style reality show, it naturally include “a little bit of drama,” Charles said, but overall he said his focus was to help the individual influencers hone their craft.
Charles, who gained widespread notice in 2016 as CoverGirl’s first male spokesperson. Today, he has 17.7 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, on which he describes himself as “a 20-year-old kid with a few blending brushes.”
During the COVID-19 quarantine, Charles has been able to work from his home studio — and in fact, he’s actually increased content production to two videos each week (on Tuesdays and Fridays), a pace he hopes to continue over the next several months. Recent videos have featured makeovers of TikTok stars Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae.
“Honestly, people want to see normalized content. They want a distraction,” he said. “Kids and teens are watching YouTube because they want to smile and be entertained.”
Charles has been urging his fans to follow basic guidelines like hand-washing and staying at home, leaving it to organizations like the CDC and World Health Organization to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information.
“Instant Influencer” is produced by Brian Graden Media, which also produced YouTube original series “Escape the Night” with Joey Graceffa.
Watch the trailer for the show: