Op-Ed | Notifications On
Notifications On for Tiara Willis
Creators are ahead of the curve when it comes to viral trends and impactful cultural moments — they foster meaningful connections that resonate with audiences across the globe. This new series showcases the best and brightest creators on Twitter. For this edition, we’re talking to Tiara Willis, the makeup artist and esthetician bringing representation for women of color to the beauty industry.
I was about 13 when I got Twitter. My friends [and I] would always talk about makeup, and I was the go-to for makeup advice. When I was about 14, I had just started high school, and decided to make the platform specifically @MakeupForWOC. I Tweeted what my favorite foundations were, or what products I'd been enjoying, and posted about a lot of books that I really liked, kind of like a personal blog or a mood board of all my favorite things.
My friends would interact with it and Retweet, and their followers would see it and Retweet, and my following just kept growing. At the time, there really was no page or handle like mine, and I still don't think there really is. If someone wanted to learn about makeup for their dark complexion, people would automatically recommend me, because everything on my page was literally only about makeup for women of color.
I think I always gravitated toward Twitter more than any other social media platform because there isn’t pressure to create perfect content, like there is on YouTube and Instagram — where it's all about you and you speaking, and the way you look — versus Twitter. I’m very introverted, so I liked Twitter in that way because I could just Tweet my thoughts without any pressure. I’m very off the cuff and I like to say whatever I think, even if it's probably not understandable sometimes because I never proofread, I just Tweet.
People trust me so much because I'm very blunt and straightforward. I don't recommend things that I've never used. When I do a review I'm not afraid to call out big brands and say, “this product sucks” or “this marketing sucks.” I’ve turned down so many big partnership deals because it doesn't really make sense to my audience. It's not just about the brand deals or making money — it's really about the community that you create, because at the end of the day that's your backbone, that's what’s carrying you and giving you the success that you have.
When I started this platform, it was founded on the issue of representation. If there wasn't an issue, I wouldn't have needed to specify that this [Twitter account is about] makeup for women of color. There weren't any pages that were exclusively highlighting women of color in the beauty space, there weren't 30-shade ranges or anything like that, that was just not a thing at the time. So I would be very open with my audience about if the shade range is acceptable, or talking about the ugly marketing campaigns I see brands using. I've always been very open and honest about how there needs to be greater inclusivity when it comes to brands.
I think LABeautyologist is so awesome, I’ve followed her for years. She's such a sweet and smart esthetician that gives great information. She's very creative, science-based, and she really knows how to work around this industry. I know I’m followed by some really cool YouTubers, like NikkieTutorials and Jackie Aina. One summer I was trying to hit 100,000 followers, and [Jackie] gave me this huge shoutout on Twitter, telling everyone to follow me. I thought that was the nicest thing ever. That was such an awesome moment for me to see someone I always looked up to as a creator supporting me in that way.
One really important thing is knowing how to create conversations and knowing how to ask the right questions. For example, one of the things I Tweet a lot is, “Good morning, what sunscreen are you wearing today?” That can get 1,000 responses, and something like that will help drive more people to your platform, especially if you start Quote Tweeting and replying — that’s free promotion for you right there. On Twitter I'm able to have conversations every day, all day, and I can help people when they need it and answer their questions in a very easy way.
I think that what a lot of people don't realize about social media is it doesn't have to be hard, it can be easy. For me, I Tweet and it takes me, like, 30 seconds and I can build a following that way. What I love about Twitter is that anyone can really be an influencer. I'm very chill, in my sweatpants, just at home in my bed Tweeting, and that's something that everyone can do. You don't have to feel pressured to be this perfect creator, you don't have to be to make waves.
Want more beauty insights? Download our 2020 #BeautyTwitter report.
Hear more from the best and brightest creators on Twitter in the Notifications On collection.