This is James Charles’ year.
After a tumultuous 2019, James is taking back his power and starting anew. He bought his first home, he’s making content that’s more relevant than ever (hey, Charli and Addison!), and now, he’s releasing a massive new project— his very own reality show, Instant Influencer.
Instant Influencer is a YouTube Originals competition show hosted, directed and executive produced by James himself. It will follow six up-and-coming beauty gurus as they compete in challenges to be named the first Instant Influencer.
“Of course there have been makeup shows done in the past,” James told Nylon in an exclusive interview. “But this show’s really focused on being an influencer.”
The audition process involved an open casting call where hopeful MUAs were asked to upload a 5-minute get-ready-with-me style video explaining their journey with makeup and what it would mean for them to win the competition.
So who were the lucky six contestants chosen? Let’s meet the cast of James Charles’ Instant Influencer.
Originally from Seattle, Kailin Chase now resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband. She found her love of makeup around middle school after losing her best friend and father. In her audition video, Kailin says art and makeup became her outlet, but she didn’t pursue YouTube initially because of the toxicity and drama. She says she hopes her channel can be a safe space where creativity has no bounds.
Christian Perez AKA Indigo
Christian Perez, better known as Indigo, is an 18-year-old Miami-native who recently moved to Los Angeles alone after his father got deported. According to his audition video, Indigo only started doing makeup around Halloween 2018 and it’s been his therapy ever since. He says this opportunity would allow him to help his family and he hopes to use his platform to bring awareness to America’s deportation issue.
Britany Raquel is a 25-year-old makeup artist living in Dallas, Texas. She fell in love with makeup in middle school and was introduced to beauty YouTube by a friend which inspired her to start a channel. After 5 years on YouTube while juggling fulltime work, Britany gets tearful as she explains she doesn’t care about winning the money— she is just passionate about making beauty YouTube her career. She says she wants to show people that hard work really does pay off, even if it takes years.
Los Angeles-based Gabriel Garcia AKA Gabriel Dreams is a 21-year-old makeup artist. Gabriel moved to Hollywood to pursue working in film and says the $50,000 prize would go towards school tuition. According to Instagram, Gabriel also has a drag persona called Unity Dreamz and hopes to start performing once she nails her lewk.
Alaska-native Ashley Strong already had a sizeable following on Instagram when she auditioned for Instant Influencer. In her audition video, the 28-year-old says that art was one of the only ways to get her mother’s attention growing up as one of six children. After working her way up at M.A.C, she decided to pursue social media in hopes to change the beauty standards for young men and women. She quickly became known for her viral graphic liner looks and says she wants to use her platform to normalise the conversation around mental health, particularly in the makeup industry.
Benny Cerra is an 18-year-old from the small town of Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Benny grew up expressing himself through art and he took that to another level when he found makeup. His signature style is drawing people, animals, and nature on his face. Benny says this opportunity would mean the world to him— he has big dreams and he’s ready to take on the competition.
Instant Influencer airs as a four-part series on YouTube Originals starting April 24th.