Shine My Crown Read by Alexa
Beauty influencer Jackie Aina is a proudly outspoken advocate for her woman of color in the field.
Although Black culture heavily influences just about every facet of society once can think of, the opportunities for Black influencers pale in comparison to their white counterparts.
Aina’s YouTube page boasts more than 3.45 million subscribers. Throughout her decade-long career, she has partnered with brands including Anastasia Beverly Hills, e.l.f. Cosmetics and Too Faced.
She says there is still work to be done.
“I always just wanted to see more influencers like me become more mainstream”, she said during an interview with Cut Instagram editor Nana Agyemang.
The pay gap between Black and white influencers has been a hot topic for discussion recently.
Adesuwa Ajayi set up the influencerpaygap Instagram account, tasked with exposing pay disparities — and the results were disappointing but not in the least bit surprising.
In one post, a white influencer sent her a DM recounting a time she was asked at the last minute to feature in a L’Oréal beauty campaign for £5,000 ($6,260). When she turned up, the celebrity had decided to show up, but the influencer says she still received her pay.
But a Black influencer revealed that she too, had been part of the campaign and received just over £1,000 ($1,250) — and she actually appeared in the ad.
Aina does not consider herself to be a beauty activist:
“To be honest with you, I don’t even see it as like a form of activism, because the conversations I have … I feel like this is stuff that every dark-skinned Black woman has at some point felt or said or verbalized. I just happened to do it on camera. I feel like there’s nothing special or different or particular about what I do,” she explains.
“It’s just second nature. It’s like the equivalent of putting on concealer. I can talk about concealer for days. I can talk about how frustrating it is to walk into a counter and the othered for days. That’s just something that I naturally do. So it never felt like I was doing anything different,” Aina adds.