the truth about vlogging: introducing niomi smart
In celebration of YouTube’s 10th anniversary, this week we will be delving into the weird and wonderful world of internet vlogging, as we meet the voices of the digi generation and online stars of tomorrow who have been redefining the very meaning of...
It's been one year since 22-year-old Niomi Smart uploaded her first video to YouTube and already she's got over 1,000,000 subscribers. "Talking to a camera with no one in the room is obviously a lot easier than talking to all of those people in person," says the British fashion and beauty vlogger, "but I don't put on any kind of performance. It's just me!" Which is precisely why she is so successful. Indeed, unlike your flawless models, photoshopped to perfection, or your achingly cool but deeply affected actresses and musicians, this new breed of internet superstars aren't trying to be anything other than themselves. A cross between an old friend and a fashion fairy godmother, vloggers like Niomi invite you into their homes and their worlds and share with you what they're into from hair care to style advice. But, unlike so-called style bibles that prey upon our insecurities by ramming their unrealistic ideals down our throat with carefully placed products, these kids are unpretentious, authentic, and only want the best for their fans. They're also paving the way for a democratisation of fashion, which for an industry that trades on exclusivity, is increasingly problematic. Celebrated on the one hand for opening up the conversation to include other voices, there are those elitists who lament the rise of vloggers as the end of fashion as we know it. Weighing up both arguments we caught up vlogging superstar Miss Niomi Smart.
What made you want to start vlogging?
I already had my blog that was doing really well and my readers were suggesting I start making videos too. I'm so glad they persisted asking me to start my channel because I was so nervous about doing it - I don't think I would've ever started at my own accord!
What's so great about vlogging?
The people. I've met the most amazing people that I honestly think will be life long friends. Also everyone that watches my videos and supports me are so lovely, they all feel like real friends too.
Why do you think vlogging has become such a craze, and even more popular than branded videos from large fashion companies?
I think the public like to hear about products or items of clothing directly from the consumer because they feel they can trust our opinions. At the end of the day we're just normal people that speak honestly about the things we like and don't like.
How has vlogging changed how we consume fashion?
Vlogging has made fashion so much more accessible. Essentially, we go shopping for the viewer to see how a certain item looks before they try it on themselves. It can also encourage people to try wearing certain things that they would never usually go for.
What would you say to critics who argue that vlogging has removed a certain sense of artistry and exclusivity when it comes to fashion?
If anything vlogging has opened up so many doors within the fashion industry. It's a whole new way of shopping and encourages people to explore different brands and become more involved and aware of fashion. Brands now have a new platform to showcase their collections.
What makes you stand out from all other vloggers?
My channel is lifestyle based. I like my videos to be different every week ranging from health and fitness to fashion and beauty to appeal to a wider range of audience.
How does it feel to have an entire community surrounding and supporting you?
Honestly? Surreal! To read the positive feedback in comments and to have people tell me they see me as a role model is just amazing. I never would have predicted I'd be doing this, let alone with the greatest support too. I'm so grateful.
Text Tish Weinstock