I'm a beauty influencer who's gone on several brand trips. It may look glamorous, but they can be loads of work and I've experienced inequality on the job.


The summer of 2020 is when I really took on content creation after moving back in with my parents during the lockdown.

My journey started with a TikTok series of matching my makeup to random household items. I would find things like Jenga blocks, peacock feathers, and milk cartons to model my makeup after, and I went viral pretty quickly. 

At first, I used to say I became a beauty influencer for the free fake eyelashes. But, within a few months, I hit 100,000 followers, and I thought, "Great, this is what I want to do. This is my calling."

Going into 2022 and this year, places are finally starting to open up following the pandemic, and I've been able to attend in-person events since I live so close to New York City. I've gone to brand parties and dinners, but I decided my goal after hitting one million TikTok followers was to go on a brand trip.

I grew up watching YouTubers go on brand trips to places like Bora Bora and Bali, so I knew that TikTokers would soon be invited to do those types of trips too. Now, in May 2023, I've been blessed with so many.

I started off doing staycation trips with brands like a one-night stay in New York with Nars Cosmetics and going to Austin with the skincare line Drunk Elephant. My first time out of the US with a brand was a trip to Turk's and Caicos with Tarte Cosmetics. 

The trips usually start with a somewhat vague email inviting me to celebrate the brand or the launch of a new product in a specific location on a specific date. If the city requires a flight, we're often allowed to tell them our preferred airline when we send over our personal information for the ticket.

From the moment I leave my house, I don't have to pay for anything. After accepting the invitation, we're prompted to tell the brand our clothing sizes, and favorite snacks, and they book all accommodations.

The teams will even send a car to your house or pay for an Uber to the airport, and 99% of the time you're flying first class.

In the contracts we sign before attending, there are often several legal terms of the deal we have to agree to. They range from no profanity to simply agreeing not to harm others on the trip. 

While most believe the whole point of brand trips is to produce content, some companies invite us on trips with no strings attached. They'll say, "Just come on the trip and celebrate. No content required."

Others are a lot more specific about how much content you're required to post and which sites they need to go up on, and those numbers are up for negotiation before you sign the contract.

There's always a lot going on. We wake up super early to watch the sunrise, then there's yoga, breakfast, lunch, and filming get-ready-with-me videos. And, each of those events requires its own outfit.

It's like Coachella. You're getting ready in full-on makeup and hair for each event to get your content, and then you take it all off. 

The challenges can be very confusing, and it feels like first-world problems, but it's a lot of work.

If you're someone who takes an hour to get ready, it could take you three or four hours to film a makeup or get-ready-with-me video. In your daily life, it's easy to pace yourself, but there's pressure to optimize your time on brand trips. 

There's also the guilt and loyalty you feel to the brand for providing such a luxurious experience, so you don't want to complain or miss any events. You don't want to seem unhappy or ungrateful for the opportunity.

But, I did experience what I felt was inequality during my Turks and Caicos trip with Tarte when other creators there were given larger rooms than I was, so I decided to speak up about it. Like other creators, I voiced my concerns about the unfairness in a TikTok video.


Ultimately, I let my manager handle speaking to the company on my behalf, but I did consult with other creators to validate my feelings of unfairness. In my case, I felt like it was done and dealt with after my manager spoke to the Tarte team. 

As a person of color, I debate saying anything because I can't just get in a car and go home when I'm on an island on a company's dime.

I'm a plus-sized person and a girl from the islands, so representation has become a big deal for me.

I started off putting out content online for the free makeup, but I quickly learned about my impact on young girls looking up to me. I didn't have many people who looked like me to aspire to be like when I was growing up. 

Posting my body as it is on my Instagram story makes such a big difference to somebody watching, and it took me a while to realize that. I just can't see myself ever saying, "My time on the internet has come to an end." 

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