The Beauty Battle: Professionals vs Influencers

by | Cosmetic News

Recent articles about social media beauty influencers have sparked a bitter battle between enthusiasts and established beauty professionals.

There’s been a tsunami of responses to the E! News article citing how Social Media has impacted the Celebrity Glam Squad. But instead of presenting multiple points of view to create understanding and hopefully bridge this gap, it sensationalized the growing divide and created a bitter dispute.

“Open Letters” have been posted on social media by Mario Dedivanovic and Jen Atkin. Both artists work for the Kardashians, and have huge social media followings, so they are extremely qualified to weigh in on the topic. They speak of embracing change, and I agree, these are valid points.

But they totally missed the mark in responding to comments made by outspoken industry heavy-weight, Pati Dubroff. They defended industry new comer Patrick Ta, who was called out by Dubroff for using social media in a way that could potentially damage the earning potential of all beauty professionals.
Her comments were not dissing the social media hustle of a new generation of artists. It was exposing how their hunger for personal fame and a fast track to celebrity status has them doing things that will undermine the financial structure of the entire industry.

In the Ta case, he was offering services to celebrities (who can afford our rates), in exchange for social media coverage, selfies, reposts, etc. – in lieu of actual payment.
This social media marketing plan is based on uncompensated ($$$) self-promotion, with no consideration of the precedent he is setting or how it impacts the earning potential of the professional beauty community. He’s playing a dangerous game that serves only him.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ta’s short-sighted plan is indicative of the entitlement we witness from many new artists using social media as a marketing tool. When we (working senior artists) point out the flaws of devaluing paid bookings in exchange for  “insta-fame”, and inquire how this fits into a long-range plan for career growth and earning potential – they become defensive and combative, calling us “old school”, “bitter”, and “jealous”.
They choose to deflect instead of addressing our genuine concerns and refuse to have a conversation about where their actions will lead the industry’s rate scale in 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years.

 

UPDATE 12/02/2016

Mr. Ta originally addressed Ms. Dubroff’s accusations in an Instagram post and admitted to comping celebrities in exchange for social media exposure. In a recent NY Times article (where I was quoted),  Mr. Ta denies making that statement and has deleted his IG response to Ms. Dubroff.

#MyTwoCents

I believe the statements made by Mr. Dedivanovic and Ms. Atkin do not properly address the seriousness of the problem Ms. Dubroff brings to light.

As high-profile, working professionals, they should NOT be defending Mr. Ta’s behavior. They should use their platform to educate artists on their way up, thoughtfully addressing the advantages of social media marketing, while warning of the pitfalls that can arise from its misuse.

Pati Dubroff got it RIGHT and made no apologies for pointing out a practice that threatens the economic structure of our industry.
I’m behind her 100%.

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