Hilariously funny, extremely down-to-earth and full of both wit and warmth, Sharifa Easmin is a YouTube blogger who will leave you both entertained and informed. Starting her YouTube blog in 2011, this stunning Bangladeshi-American has viewers hooked on to her channel and Instagram account, with 45,689 YouTube subscribers, around 50,000 Instagram followers and over 2.5 million YouTube channel views.
What sets her apart from other Bangladeshi bloggers is her well-made videos - featuring everything from elaborate Bollywood looks to Mughal inspired videos, she not only does make-up tutorials but also has Vlogs, Q&A and fashion haul videos. Her recent tutorial had her redoing an iconic look - Aishwarya Rai from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, with the Instagram tutorial getting over 34,000 views.
Some of her more popular videos are the "Evolution of Bollywood make-up,", "Beauty Hacks Everyone Should Know", "Cheap Dupes for High End Makeup Tutorial | 6 Hour test" and her very first Vlog.
"I’ve always loved make-up, but honestly was never good at it. You should’ve seen my winged eyeliner two years ago - yikes! But I really wanted to learn, so I started practicing and put pictures up on Instagram. After so much positive feedback and encouragement I decided to do Youtube and teach people what I was learning. It was really a way to document my make-up journey," she shares.
Currently a stay at home mom and YouTube star, Sharifa studied psychology but always had an inkling to dapple in the arts - be it acting, dancing or, as she's now doing - exploring the world of blogging. In a candid YouTube video titled "Real Talk: Pursuing Your Dreams and Regrets" she shares how she has always felt the pressure of being South-Asian, and having to conform to norms.
"For some reason everyone thought I was going to be a doctor," she shares in the video. "As south Asians we would be so much more driven and ambitious if it wasn't for the fact that what was expected of us - it's so limited. So many of us are so afraid of what we want to do so we end up just settling for things. Doing things our parents expect us to do," she continues. She also got an audition spot for the prestigious Juilliard school for performing arts, but wasn't allowed to audition by her mother, and that's one regret she carries with her till this day.
"Imagine the potential we have, there's all this creativity and talent hidden in some of us and we can't do anything about it, we can't explore it because it's not 'appropriate'." Urging her viewers to stand for their passions and do what they love, she says it's only then they will be able to find their true calling.
Her other Instagram account has her doing what she does best: not make-up, but rather, skits. Outrageously funny and filled with videos that many of us Bangladeshis can relate to, this account is definitely one that will leave you howling in fits of laughter. From mini skits on types of people at desi weddings to when aunties are all up in your business, from the looks of it, she may just be the next Lily Singh.
The Dhaka Tribune caught up with the upcoming YouTube star to find out more about her blogging journey, her love for make-up and how she deals with negativity on the Internet.
Has your Bangladeshi background influenced your fashion/make-up sense?
I think Bangladeshi women tend to really go glam when putting on makeup. It’s usually all or nothing and that inspires a lot of my desi looks. In terms of fashion, I love getting dressed up in traditional attire! I’ll take any excuse to put on a sari!
What kind of videos/posts do you enjoy creating and how do you come up with them?
I love doing the desi ones and anything where I can just talk to the camera and connect with my followers. I really love doing “editorial” posts on Instagram. I love creating interesting looks and playing with lighting. If I can make something look like it came from a magazine I feel really proud! I usually get inspiration from all over - from magazines to Bollywood movies to Pinterest.
You're very comfortable on camera but can be shy when approached by followers - why is that so?
I’m just naturally shy when I first meet people. I'm super awkward and am always afraid I'll say something stupid. It’s much easier when you’re just looking at a camera and pretending people are there AND you can edit.
Why do you define yourself as a make-up enthusiast but not a make-up artist?
I feel like to be a true make-up artist you need to know how to work with different skin types/colours/textures. I only know how to put make-up on myself well. I feel like people use the term make-up artist too loosely when it’s actually very difficult and takes a lot of practice/experience and/or training. I’ve tried, it ain’t easy!
What opportunities have presented themselves ever since you began your channel?
Oh God, so many things! I have been able to work with brands that I never dreamed would contact me! I was on a cover of a magazine (still can’t believe it. Like what?!), I’ve gone to events that I never thought I’d ever go to. It’s been really incredible and I feel so grateful for everything.
What's the best part of being a blogger? What's the worst?
The best part is just creating things. Makeup is my therapy and I’m just really happy doing it. Also the interaction with my followers. I might be biased, but I feel like I have the nicest, most encouraging subscribers! The worst is the pressure to always do better. It’s a good thing but I also don’t want people to get tired of my looks. It’s hard to always be inspired.
What's one make-up trend you wish would die?
As long as someone loves it, nothing, really. BUT, anything that involves something dangerous needs to stop. Like putting a knife to your face to contour? C’mon man! That stuff just scares me.
How do you deal with hate comments/negativity on your posts?
I’m probably going to jinx myself, but I have been really lucky to not get many hate comments. So when I do, it doesn’t bother me because I get SO many positive wonderful comments. I just try to ignore the hateful ones.
How's the blogging community - is there a camaraderie between bloggers or is there competition?
Definitely camaraderie! I’ve met only sweet and supportive fellow bloggers. Some are now my good friends! And we’re all just happy for each other and try to help each other. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true! Nothing but love and support.
How do you juggle motherhood and your life as a blogger?
It’s gotten a little easier now that my son is in school. But it’s all about time management. If I sit down for too long, the whole day slips by and I get nothing done. So I’m always doing something and multi-tasking. I'll have a load of laundry in while I'm cooking or have a video uploading while vacuuming - things like that. My son is always first priority though! As long as I know he’s fed, clean and happy it’s easier to get everything else done.
How does it feel to have nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram and over 2 million views on YouTube?
Gahh, weird? I’m just super thankful for everyone who follows me. I try really hard not to focus on numbers though, because it takes away from the fun of creating and engaging with people.
Finally, what's in the pipeline for Sharifa Easmin - where do you see yourself in a few years?
I hope my channel keeps growing and people are still interested in what I’m doing. Maybe a couple of movie roles, an Oscar or two. No, but really, I just want to feel happy and more than anything, that my family is happy and healthy.
Instagram: @sharifaeasmin @skitsbysharifa
Guilty pleasures: Reading cheesy romance novels.
Pet peeves: Loud chewing and people who think their opinions are always right.
Five favourite drugstore products of all time: Wet n Wild contour duo in caramel toffee, Maybelline Fit Me foundation in 240, Essence lash princess mascara, Milani blush in luminoso, and NYC liquid liner.
Two of your favourite bloggers: Noooo! I can’t do it. I have way too many favourites. That's like choosing between types of achars - nope can't do it!
Three things noone knows about you: Well, my husband knows everything. But three things my followers probably don’t know - I have a giant crescent moon shaped scar on my leg from when I was little and fell on a blade. I’m pigeon toed (my feet go inwards when I walk) and I have a fear of pretty much everything.
The best thing about Bangladesh: That's a tough one. I love so many things. Food, clothing, the beautiful, natural scenery. But I guess food! Give me fuchka and I'll love you forever.
The most overrated beauty product: Color correctors, but only because so many people use them when they don’t need it. If you are fair skinned, you really don’t need an orange corrector!