Jackie Aina is a force to be reckoned with. In the past ten years, the beauty activist has left the military, shamed the beauty industry for its lack of diversity, and has called out beauty bloggers and fellow influencers for their inappropriate behavior. But just who is the person behind the name and how has she made such a mark in the beauty industry over the past ten years?
Soldier turned beauty influencer
Aina was a sophomore when she joined the military. In 2009, while living in Hawaii and serving as a soldier, she decided to start her own YouTube channel. At the time she says she was feeling lonely and that makeup made her feel more upbeat. Her first tutorials were significantly different from how they are today as she didn’t speak in them. However, as she grew more confident in front of the camera, so did her tutorials, and it wasn’t long before she was showing off her style while wearing her military uniform.
As people began to realize that Aina was a normal woman, they started to stand up and pay attention to her. But it was in 2015, when Aina decided to drop her professional attitude and show people her “true crazy self” that things started to take off.
Speaking out on beauty
Aina’s confidence in speaking out has helped to become as well-known and successful as she is. She’s recently posted a video highlighting how difficult it is for dark-skinned women to find nude makeup – a hot makeup trend – which works for their skin type. Ever since she burst onto the scene she’s made a point of highlighting the brands which don’t cater for women of color.
She proudly states that “For so many brands, I still can’t use anything; it’s literally only for light skin. We still have work to do, and I won’t stop talking about it until it’s done.”
Even when she saw her social media growth slow following her repeatedly and enthusiastically talking about the problems black women face, she continued to pursue the issue, until she eventually turned people round to her way of thinking.
Teaming up with Too Faced
2018 saw Aina team up with Too Faced to introduce a broader range of shades for their Born This Way Foundation. Aina helped to develop nine of the 11 new shades, three of which are darker than the line’s previous darkest option. While creating the line, she ensured that the new shades didn’t create a reddish or orange hue or oxidized after being opened – something which individuals with darker skin tones are sure to be familiar with.
Aina’s remarkable achievements
Since launching her YouTube channel, Aina has gained great success across various social media platforms. She currently boasts more than 2.9 million YouTube subscribers, 1.1 million Instagram followers, and 118,000 Facebook likes. Her hard work paid in when, in 2018, Aina was the first individual to be awarded the ‘Youtuber Of The Year’ NACCP award for her work in getting the beauty industry to accept their role in creating more diverse beauty products.
Also, in 2018, Aina walked the runway for Olay’s Face Anything Campaign. The event involved Aina strutting her stuff makeup-free while wearing a T-shirt boldly stating “Too Confident”, with the word ‘Too’ scratched out.
The campaign was launched to women who aren’t afraid to speak out and be themselves, and Ania made it quite clear that she was grateful to have been involved. Taking to Instagram she exclaimed, “Conquering NYFW?! Walking down a runway bare faced?? CHECK!!! Thank you @olay for this incredible experience. For not only introducing me to more of your fabulous products but pushing me outside my comfort zone and bringing me together with so many other inspiring women. Things we did: THAT!”
Jackie Aina has had a successful career both as a soldier and a beauty influencer. She’s worked hard to achieve all that has to date and the future continues to look bright for the bold and charismatic online star.