If you are a frequent YouTuber, then you have probably heard the name Alison Henry once or twice. With more than 800,000 subscribers on YouTube, Henry has made quite a name for herself within the beauty community. She is known for pushing the limit when it comes to makeup, experimenting new techniques and products.
Henry didn’t always know that she wanted to work in the beauty industry. She actually grew her initial fan base by accident.
“In high school, there was this anonymous asking website where you could basically ask your classmates questions without revealing your identity. It was such a high school fan, but I made one just like everyone else. I was really surprised when I started getting a lot of questions about how I do my makeup. I was always a really good artist, so I guess it made sense that I picked up on makeup really easily. It was just another form of expressing myself. I wanted to tell my classmates how I did my makeup, but it wasn’t really something I could type out. I needed to show them. I created a YouTube page and posted the link to my tutorials. I didn’t think that YouTube would turn into anything. I was simply showing people how I did my makeup.”
One year later, Henry casually checked up on the video she posted, and it had more than 1,000 views. Her video had caught traction from other people who liked how she did her makeup, and they were requesting more videos.
Henry then started consistently posting makeup tutorials per request of her growing fan base.
“I was actually really shocked when I saw how many people liked the makeup that I was doing. I used makeup to help hide my insecurities, so it was kind of empowering that people liked what I was doing. That’s kinda how this whole thing started. Once I started filming consistently, I eventually quit college and moved back home with my mom. Well, I kinda failed out of college, but I’m not ashamed of that at all. School was never my thing, so when I did find my thing, I knew I had to see how far I could push it. The summer I moved home, I started making money from YouTube. That’s when I realized that this could be more than just filming makeup videos.”
Alison’s career jumped to a whole new level when the international cosmetic brand Maybelline expressed an interest in working with her.
“When Maybelline reached out, I just couldn’t believe it. They wanted me to fly to New York and film with them. It was truly a dream come true. It was almost unbelievable. That was the moment that my career took off. That was the moment I had made a name for myself in the makeup community.”
Her career was taking off and her subscribers were significantly increasing on a daily basis. Henry seemingly had it all, but behind closed doors, it was a completely different story.
“My mental health throughout my YouTube career has been nothing less than a roller coaster. My anxiety had hit new highs, and my depression had hit new lows. I was smiling in all my pictures and I looked like I had it all together, but in reality, I felt really lost. The negativity online took a toll on me in a way that I didn’t think it could. Everyone has insecurities, including myself. So when people would judge me and my character online, it really struck a nerve. I wanted to be as strong and confident as I looked, but I just wasn’t. That’s when I started cutting. It got really bad and ended up having to get stitches down my arm, and I landed myself in a mental hospital. Those were the worst days of my life. I left myself down, my family down, and my subscribers down. I wouldn’t wish that place on even my worst enemy.”
During this period of her life, Henry took a break from YouTube. When she returned to her eagerly awaiting subscribers, she put aside her insecurities and doubts and let everyone know where she had been in a video post, as well as a very brave blog entry.
Since that very vulnerable moment, Henry has made a point to make mental health a conversation.
“If you look on anyone’s Instagram, people are trying to make their lives look like they’re perfect. I’m guilty of that too. What I want for my future going forward to not be afraid to not be perfect. It’s OK to be insecure, it’s OK to feel like we don’t have our lives together. It’s OK to just be human. I was honest with my subscribers because I wanted them to know the truth. I want people know that if you’re not OK, then speak up. There is no shame in speaking up and getting help if you need it. Life is too short to be burdened by your own (and others’) negativity. If my post could even help one person out there going through something, then it was worth it. This next year is going to be truly focused on positivity and personal growth. Sometimes you have to be broken down before you can be built back up.”