CA: You run a youtube channel centered around Fashion and Beauty. How did you get into that hobby of posting videos for the masses online?
RE: A lot of people don’t know this but I had a YouTube channel since I was 13. It isn’t the same YouTube channel that I use today. I’ve always been the type of person who was interested in making videos. I loved being in front of the camera and also behind the camera. I loved messing with cameras, editing software, and making videos. I would make funny videos of my sister and I joking around. This is back in the MySpace days and that is where I would post the videos. Then YouTube came out and I moved over there to the post videos. I really got interested in the process of editing and creating videos. It became fun to me, it really became a hobby. You take that and combine it with my fascination with fashion, hair and makeup. I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was a little girl. I would be messing around in my room, ripping stuff up, and sewing things together experimenting on clothes. There would be times I would come to school in the stuff I made and people would ask how I made them. I was thinking why don’t I make a video which explains how I do these things and it would make it easier for people to understand. That is how I combine editing videos and my passion for fashion/makeup on my YouTube channel.
CA: This is your second YouTube channel. What made you decide to transition from TheRayBabyRayShow to RavenElyseTV moniker?
RE: Two major reasons. The first reason is a technical reason. When I first setup my RayBabyRayShow account, Youtube was setup differently in regards to partnering with the platform and making money off of it. The way I had it was wrong and I couldn’t change it to get the new options from Youtube. I had to make the new channel to obtain these options. The second reason was because I wanted to make a change. I came on YouTube and Tumblr with RayBabyRay as my moniker and people called me that in real life. I started to get embarrassed by it because I felt it was a bit childish. I didn’t feel like that was me and I didn’t want to be seen like that. Some people liked the name and said it had a good ring to it. As I grew older with the intentions of making this into a business, that wasn’t going to be appropriate. I wanted to change it to a more mature name so I changed it to Raven Elyse, which are my first name and middle name respectively. When I make a clothing line in the future, it will be called Raven Elyse. It is an overall branding change and I wanted it to be RavenElyseTv.
CA: What makes social media so important going forward to making individuals and brands online?
RE: Social media is amazing to me. Like I said, ever since I was 13, I was on social media. Whether it was Myspace, Tumblr, or Youtube now. It was always something I was super interested in and really thrived on. I love the creativity you can incorporate in it and I love the fact you can grow to reach so many people. I can do a lot these stuff in real life like be a fashion designer or hair stylist but it doesn’t reach the same amount of people online. When you put something online, you are reaching the whole world. Like I met you online and I never met you in person! I consider you a friend and you think of that times a million. All my subscribers and followers look up to me and I see them as friends. These are people I would have never connected with if it wasn’t for social media. Flipping that into a business standpoint, it is just the same thing. You want more people to know your name and more people to buy your stuff. Social media is a numbers game and it is the best way to reach those numbers. I think it is the way of the future and I think it is awesome.
CA: You also have an online boutique. What influences the pieces you would have on your store?
RE: My store is called Custom Thrift and it is still up there. It is not updated right now because I kind of stepped away from that for a little bit. I do plan on coming back to that. When I first started that, it started as a small Etsy shop and it grew over time to an actual domain name. The whole idea behind it was similar to how I made my YouTube channel which was I would make stuff in my room. People would ask how I would make it hence the tutorials on YouTube. Other people would say it is too hard and would pay for me to make it. This is why I would take stuff from the thrift store and I put my own twist on it. It really is based on stuff that I like and people like it to who are willing to buy it.
CA: How did you get into modeling?
RE: Modeling has always been a fun hobby for me. Back in High school, I really wanted to be a model. I wanted to go to NY and make it a career. I didn’t get into it in high school, I did the first few steps like professional head shots but I didn’t go anywhere with it. When I came to college, I met people who were actually doing modeling and I met photographers. They were like “hey you have the look, come help me with this”. It was really my friends in college who forced me to do it because I kind of gave up on it. I did favors for people who I knew around Dallas who were working on their clothing line and needed a model for it. I don’t really look at it as a career or something to fully focused on but something I like to do as a hobby. I was signed with a local agency for a while in the past. The agency was called House Models and I did some fashion shows and some photo shoots for them. I realized it was not my full passion and I resigned from the contract with them. I wanted to focus on YouTube and school full time.
CA: How do you describe working with a photographer?
RE: Lots of times it is cool because I am working with friends or friend of a friend. It is a lot easier working with someone you know because it is not a strict professional atmosphere. They can talk to me on a realer level and let me know what project they are working on and what kind of photos they are looking for.
CA: Which fashion magazines, websites, blogs, and catalogs do you read to keep in the know of trends in the industry?
RE: I used to be deep in street style on Tumblr and I would follow a whole bunch of random people there. Mostly NY kids who would post pictures around and I would get really inspired by that. Then I stopped using Tumblr and used Instagram in a similar way. I would follow people whose style I enjoyed taking notes from. I do at the same time follow major brands as well to stay in the loop. I use Instagram as a major tool for that. I don’t subscribe to any magazines because I am not too interested in the mainstream stuff as much as I’m interested in street style.
CA: How would you classify your style?
RE: Eclectic or mixed up. I try everything, I wear everything. One day, I can be a tomboy and the next I can be edgy. I like trying out different types of styles. It depends on how I am feeling that day and the trends I am into that month. I change my hair every day and my makeup style every week because I get bored easily. I would say eclectic works.
CA: Where do you generally shop?
RE: I haven’t gone thrifting or shopping recently because my closet is overflowing. I don’t have room for a single pair of shoes or a single piece of clothing! You should see my room right now because it is literally exploding with clothes and shoes. I try not to buy any new stuff until I use the stuff that I have right now. Being on YouTube has me receiving clothes and shoes from companies all across the world. Shops I have never heard of in places like Australia, China, and in the UK. They send it to me to feature in my YouTube videos. This is where I get most of my clothing now because I am being sent so much stuff from these places. When it comes to saying where my favorite stores now, it is obsolete now. I think it is fun because I discover a lot of new stores. I have a lot of clothes that people around here don’t have because they are from other countries.
CA: Who is your male celebrity crush?
RE: I don’t have a celebrity crush but there is someone who I admire because of their work ethic. His name is Delano Brown and I follow him on Instagram. I feel his rise to fame literally was 0-100. It was amazing seeing the process unfold over time via Instagram.
CA: Who is your female celebrity crush?
RE: Rihanna. That is bae.
CA: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
RE: I see myself doing a bigger version of what I am doing now hopefully. The scary thing when it comes to social media or YouTube is because you never know how long it is going to last. I see myself making YouTube videos for years if it continues being a thing. I don’t see myself running out of video ideas anytime soon. Later this year or next year, I would like to start my clothing line and get real serious about it. Start it online and five years later have a real store or boutique up for the line. I want to have my social media side of things, my blog (start up a fashion blog to coincide with my YouTube channel), having my clothing line, and having a store front. I’ll do modeling on the side. Little this and a little that *laughs*.
CA: What do you feel is your strength when it comes to your brands?
RE: I would say versatility just from the simple fact that I do a whole bunch of different things and I do it myself. Some Youtubers hire people to do some stuff for them and I literally do everything myself. This opens doors for me because I can try a lot of new things. I don’t run out of ideas or anything since I am doing so many things. If Youtube goes downhill, I’ll bring my store back up. If my store doesn’t work out, I’ll go into editing other people’s videos. There are different avenues for me to go down and I am not in tunnel vision to the point if this doesn’t work out then I’m screwed. I feel like as a brand my versatility is good for me and it works for my audience as well. People who follow me get a good mix of content and I think my audience likes that *laughs*
CA: What area do you feel you need to grow in the most right now?
RE: I would say cohesiveness. I am juggling several projects and I’m trying to do too much at once sometimes. People get confused and wonder what I am doing because of all of these projects. This is why I am trying to brand everything under Raven Elyse. Raven Elyse has videos, a blog, and a clothing line to make it cohesive. I am not doing a very good job at it right now because I do everything so sporadically. Right now, I am not working on my store because I am focusing on YouTube. I would like to have everything in more of a balance so they are all going on at the same time under the same name. I will have to work on that going forward.
CA: What do you want your entire body of work to be remembered for?
RE: My overall mission ever since I started was the ability to touch an individual and to help make the person feel better. We all know the media in general can have a really negative effect on young girls. It perpetuates this idea of perfectionism and a lot of young girls get sucked into the internet to come out hating themselves. They are comparing themselves to other people about things they can’t have. On my channel and everything that I do, I try to make it relatable and helpful so when you get done watching it you feel better about yourself. Not so much about gawking at me and the things I am doing. I’m trying to push it onto you too about being able to do it. I can show you the ways to do things and how to get it done efficiently. It helps them out. With the thrift store thing, I made the prices affordable and wearable. I want to do the same with my clothing line. I am not interested in making $1000 evening gowns because regular girls can’t wear that stuff. I want to make stuff that is affordable and accessible to the average girl. Because at the end of the day, I am an average girl and I know how it feels to be an average girl who feels bad about yourself in comparison to these girls who are “amazing”. With everything that I do overall, I love the fact people come back and message me to tell me they feel good about themselves. You showed me how to do this and I feel great. “You showed your acne on camera and now I don’t feel so bad about my acne. You’re awesome, you have acne and I can be awesome too.” That is kind of the whole theme in everything that I do.