At just 21 years old, Bonnie Corban has made a name for herself on the internet as she boasts over 300,000 subscribers for her Special FX Makeup Channel. Sahar Mourad caught up with Bonnie to see how she got to where she is today.
How old were you when you decided that making YouTube videos was what you wanted to do?
I watched many other artists’ YouTube makeup video for months, days and nights, and in-between work, until one I decided to go to the Party Store, buy some paints and film a tutorial on my iPad compulsively. I didn’t even have a YouTube account at the time, and I had just turned 17. The video was of a porcelain doll based off a few other tutorials I had seen, and I mashed together my own version.
What or who inspired you to create YouTube videos?
I was inspired by many artists on YouTube from a variety of makeup artists, bloggers, special fx artists, self-taught artists and professionals. Larger channels such as Dope211, aka Promise Phan, inspired me a lot early on. She creates amazing transformations into celebrities and she also does fantasy/body paint tutorials along with makeup videos and fashion blogs.
I stumbled across Madeyewlook, aka Lex, who at the time didn’t have a large amount of followers, but I fell in love with her funny personality and creative body paint tutorials. Later on, her channel became very successful. Lex now has over 1.5 million subscribers and is constantly raising money and awareness for diabetes.
Many artists inspired me to create my channel, but I could not have done it without the help of my partner Justin. He encouraged me to persevere through the struggle of building my channel to what it is today.
How did you get your YouTube name?
My YouTube name is Bonnie Corban SFX. At the time when I created my channel, YouTube had just created an update to have a space in your channel name so I was lucky enough to have my name and SFX, standing for “Special FX Makeup.”
How did you learn your makeup skills?
All of the knowledge about makeup that I have learnt was purely from watching other people’s YouTube videos. I didn’t even start wearing makeup until I was 17! I spent months just analysing and practicing makeup looks and playing with products. Then I stopped practicing and began filming all of my first attempts at makeup looks. To this day, I have never pre-practiced a tutorial. It is always on the spot and random.
You have recently reached over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, and are almost at 400,000, how does that make you feel?
When I started my channel, it was purely for fun to practice and play with makeup, and to watch my skills grow over time. To be where I am today with 300,000 subscribers from all over the world that send me letters and recreate my tutorials daily is so surreal. I never would have thought I could get this far.
I have also made some amazing friends through YouTube with my subscribers and other creators. I have been to YouTube VIP meetings and had great opportunities in work experience on TV and fil.
I can’t wait for my channel to grow even more and hopefully one day, make the 1 million subscriber mark!
Have you ever thought of doing something other than SFX makeup tutorials?
I love creating special fx makeup tutorials and I will always do them on my channel. I always try to incorporate fantasy looks, body painting tutorials, costume work, and some beauty into my channel as well.
In the future I will be making some more personal ‘get to know me’ videos to build a connection with my subscribers. I would also like to share a few of my favourite recipes. I just haven’t tested out my new kitchen set-up yet.
Who are your favourite YouTubers?
Some of my favourite special fx YouTubers are Freakmo aka Kiana Jones SFX, Madeyewlook aka Alexis Fleming, Ellimacs aka Macs Moser & Ellinor Rose, Dope211 aka Promise Phan and Elsa Rhae.
Some of my favourite beauty YouTubers are Nikkitutorials, Desi Perkins, Manny MUA, Patrick Star, Batalash Beauty, Shaaanxo, Jaclyn hill, Grav3yardgirl and many more!
Other YouTubers I love to watch are Mycupcakeaddiction, Haniela’s, Jenna Marbles, ASAP Science and more.
Have you ever considered collaborating with another YouTuber to create a makeup sfx tutorial video?
I have done collaborations with artists such as Makeupartwithmakeup, Izastrwaberry and Emilyjanemakeup. I would love to collaborate with many more artists, as it is the best way to share your channel and to find new followers.
It’s fun to work with other people and see how a brief can give such a wide variety of results in makeup designs. I plan to do many more in the future.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own YouTube channel?
The best advice that I would give to someone who wants to start their own channel would be to just be yourself and to have fun with your channel. Don’t let the mean comments/hate get to you. I deleted my first makeup tutorial shortly after uploading it because of all the hateful and negative comments I received from complete strangers. I gave up before my YouTube channel even had a chance to grow. I’m lucky that Justin encouraged me to keep going because I would have quit straight away.
Another piece of advice is to let social media benefit you. Don’t let the negativity effect you and put you off achieving your goals.
Things I recommend for a good makeup channel would be to have good lighting, whether it’s near a window or if you buy some cheap soft box lights from eBay. Having good lighting is important for your viewers to see the work you are actually doing. A decent camera, preferably HD quality, (don’t buy something expensive, anything that’s clear enough will work!)
And the biggest tip for a successful YouTube is to have fun, be original and be yourself! It doesn’t matter what makeup products you use or how you apply them, as long as you are happy with what you are creating then just do it!
What are your plans for the future with YouTube?
For the next few months I’m going to focus more on ‘get to know me’ videos to create a better connection with my subscribers.
By next Halloween I would really love to do the whole 31 days of Halloween by uploading one video a day! There would be a lot of pre-planning but it’s a goal I would like to achieve. Other than that I would love to attend LA IMATS (The International Make-Up Artist Trade Show) to meet many of my favourite YouTubers in person and to maybe even film a YouTube space in New York.
When you’re not filming what do you like to do?
I’m a fully qualified chef, so I love to cook and bake for my family and friends in my spare time.
I’m also a movie junkie! I love sitting on the lounge with junk food watching five horror movies in a row. It gives me great inspiration for makeup!
What is your favourite quote?
“Stay Humble”, this is my favourite quote. After everything that you achieve, at the end of the day you should always stay humble.
“How you make others feel about themselves, says a lot about you.” I also really like this quote because it’s so important to encourage and uplift each other instead of bullying and dragging people down.
You can follow Bonnie on her social media sites: