YouTuber Manny MUA shares how he built his beauty empire

For the first episode of In The Know: Profiles, we went to BeautyCon — a festival in L.A. that hosts panels and meet-and-greets with the beauty industry's biggest stars and influencers — to meet with Manny MUA, a make-up artist and beauty blogger on YouTube who's amassed more than 4.8 million subscribers since he started his channel in 2014.

"For me, my goals were like, 'I want to be a beauty influencer, I want to have a brand,'" Manny said to In The Know. "Those were the goals I kinda, like, set for myself. I didn't plan for any of it to happen."

In the years since he started his channel, Forbes has listed Manny as one of the top influencers in its 30 Under 30 list, and he was picked to be the first man to star in a Maybelline campaign.

Manny never set out to achieve any of this. He started making YouTube tutorials because people were asking him about his foundation routine on Instagram. What he says set him apart from other YouTubers who were starting out within the beauty community at the time is how he incorporates his personality into his videos.

"When I started YouTube those years ago, I felt like people weren't being their authentic self — in the beauty space, specifically," he said. "I feel like when I started, I wanted to able to treat YouTube as almost like my diary or my journal, and I would just kind of just be who I am."

It's a tactic that's clearly worked. People at BeautyCon who met Manny were visibly overwhelmed with both gratitude and awe.

"Something about him just makes me feel so happy," one girl told In The Know.

Men, in particular, thanked Manny for helping carve a space in the beauty industry for them too.

"He's basically helped us all — the boys in beauty — helped us come out with our make-up on," one BeautyCon guest said. "I mean, if you see, there's a lot of boys in make-up. So, he basically helped me basically come out."

Being authentic in his videos and on social media has been a cornerstone of Manny's success and the emotional ties to his millions of fans.

“You don't think of yourself as someone, like, who's, like, going to be this inspiring person who helps people," Manny said. "I literally did YouTube because it was a passion of mine. Like, I wanted to do it and I wanted to teach how to do make-up. And by doing so in an authentic way, it resonates with other people and it really does make a difference in other people's lives. It makes me feel really proud."

Watch the In The Know: Profiles video above to see the full interview with Manny MUA.

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The 11 richest YouTube stars in the US
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The 11 richest YouTube stars in the US

11. Liza Koshy 

Subscribers: 13.5 million

Liza Koshy, formerly a prominent Vine comedian, started to gain a massive following on YouTube in 2016 with humorous videos that she produces weekly. Koshy has since gone on to star in the Hulu series "Freakish!" and Tyler Perry's horror-comedy "Boo! A Madea Halloween."

10. Jake Paul 

Subscribers: 13.5 million subscribers

2017 estimated salary: $11.5 million

Jake Paul started out as a personality on the now-defunct Vine, creating comedic shorts with his older brother, Logan Paul (the eighth most popular YouTuber in the US). Paul now posts comedic videos, original music, and other material on his personal YouTube account. He has also become something of a villain in pop culture, as has his brother (see No. 8).  

9. Roman Atwood 

Subscribers: 14.260 million 

Roman Atwood is an Ohio-based vlogger who posts prank videos and other humorous daily-life updates that often involve his girlfriend and three kids. In November, Atwood premiered his own YouTube Red series, "Roman Atwood's Day Dream," which focuses on "extreme stunts."

8. Epic Rap Battles of History 

Subscribers: 14.269 million

Epic Rap Battles of History started as a live improv skit by two friends, but quickly become an online sensation. Founders Peter Shukoff (NicePeter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLloyd) pick two figures from history or pop culture and imagine what it would be like if they faced off in a rap battle. The videos are entertaining, with characters as varied as Darth Vader, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, and Chuck Norris verbally battling one another in full costume.

7. Logan Paul 

Subscribers: 16.6 million

2017 estimated salary: $12.5 million

The former Vine star and older brother of Jake Paul has over 16 million followers on his personal YouTube account, where he posts vlogs and reaction videos. Paul drew intense criticism in January for filming the body of a man hanging from a tree in Japan's Aokigahara forest. YouTube withdrew some of its backing of Paul in the wake of the controversy by removing him from Google Preferred and putting his YouTube original projects on hold. 

6. Fine Brothers Entertainment (FBE) 

Subscribers: 16.7 million

Brooklyn natives Benny and Rafi Fine are the two online producers/writers/directors who created the successful React video series. In React's various iterations — Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React — the brothers show viral videos to people and film their reactions. In 2016, they were involved in a controversy over trying to copyright the React video form that drew widespread backlash and led to a campaign to unsubscribe from the duo's channel.

5. JennaMarbles 

Subscribers: 17.83 million

JennaMarbles (real name Jenna Mourey) has long been one of the most recognizable stars on YouTube. Though she started her career with BarStool Sports, Mourey soon moved into video after posting "How to Trick People into Thinking You're Good Looking," which quickly blew up. Her channel features comedic videos about being a young millennial woman.

4. Markiplier

Subscribers: 19.5 million

2017 estimated salary: $12.5 million

Mark Fischbach, known as Markiplier, is a YouTuber focused on gaming. He has an energetic style. Fischbach has ambitions beyond YouTube, as well. He once told Variety that he wanted to "push [himself] into music and acting." 

3. NigaHiga 

Subscribers: 20.4 million

Ryan Higa, who goes by the username NigaHiga, was one of the first major YouTube stars. Higa produces a variety of comedy videos, including sketches, music videos, and short commentaries on pop culture. His videos have high production value and a professional touch, with a quick, funny, and incisive sensibility.

2. Smosh 

Subscribers: 22.8 million

2017 estimated salary: $11 million

Smosh, started by comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, was one of the first YouTube sensations, becoming well known for the duo's slapstick comedy videos that parodied video games and pop culture. Anthony Padilla left the Smosh channel in June 2017 to create his own solo YouTube account, which now has over 2 million followers.

1. Dude Perfect 

Subscribers: 26.8 million

2017 estimated salary: $14 million

Dude Perfect is a channel from twins Cory and Coby Cotton and three of their college friends from Texas A&M, all of whom are former high school basketball players. They do sports tricks and comedy, some of which makes fun of sports stereotypes.

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