Derek Blasberg Teases What To Expect From YouTube’s #BeautyFest

There’s no time to sleep; not when YouTube’s very first #BeautyFest is kicking off virtually tomorrow at 4PM EST! The Daily caught YouTube’s ever-busy head of fashion and beauty Derek Blasberg—who literally hasn’t been sleeping—to get the lowdown on what to expect and why people all over the world should tune in live. By the sounds of this megawatt star guest list, it’s been worth the late nights for Blasberg! From fan surprises with Selena Gomez to a history lesson with none other than Michelle Phan, don’t snooze on checking it out in real time out tomorrow…

In a nutshell, what’s #BeautyFest?
This is YouTube’s first ever beauty festival! We’ve invited some of our favorite beauty creators, gurus, entrepreneurs, and even a few pop stars to join us for a wide-ranging program that includes everything from insider beauty tips to frank conversations around equity and inclusion. Our plan is to inform and inspire. #BeautyFest has been a dream of mine since I joined YouTube in 2018. I’m so excited it’s happening I haven’t been able to sleep all week. Or maybe that’s nerves?

Who’s coming?
So many awesome folks. The OG beauty creator Michelle Phan is coming back to showcase the history of beauty on YouTube over the past decade and a half. We also have Hyram, Emma Chamberlain, Patrick Starrr, Manny MUA, Desi Perkins. Have you heard of Bailey Sarian? She developed her own YouTube beauty genre of “makeup and murder,” where she gives herself a full makeover while re-telling a gruesome true crime story. She’s awesome! I just interviewed her for the YouTube blog. We also have Tik Tok-turned-YouTubers, like Addison Rae and Noah Beck. And, a couple of legit fashion legends, like Pharrell Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Miranda Kerr. Selena Gomez is surprising a fan of her Rare beauty brand with a makeover.

What has your role been in all of this?
I’m the head of fashion and beauty at YouTube, so this is all in my wheelhouse. But we partnered with a bunch of other teams within YouTube, including the YouTube Originals team, and what we call the top creator team, which manages all of the super popular YouTubers on the platform. I’ve been referring to Chanel Tyler, who works with all the beauty top creators, as my “work wife” for the past few months because we spend so much time on calls together.

How long has this been in the making?
We had originally planned for our first #BeautyFest to happen live in 2020, but that didn’t happen for obvious reasons. This year, we are going fully virtual, which is the safest way to do it. But, next year, we’re optimistic that we can do this in-person.

#BeautyFest streams Friday—will the content live on YouTube forever? 
Good question. Yes, #BeautyFest will live on YouTube forever. But! Many of our partners are popping special deals and discounts in the live chat. If you want some special promo codes for Gwyneth’s Goop or Jessica Alba’s Honest or Emma’s Chamberlain Coffee, you’ll need to find me in the live chat!

Derek Blasberg (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)

There are so many YouTube superstars signed up for this. Why did they want to do it?
YouTube is its own world. We see creators who started making videos in their parents’ basement turn into their own media empires. But at its core, YouTube is a world that celebrates authenticity and inclusion, and I think when we started talking to folks about the sort of program we wanted to build, they were to happy to come along for the ride.

What will viewers take away from tuning in?
NikkieTutorials comes with some A+ tips, so at the least, people can improve their beauty game. But we also have a panel that attends to the changing perception of Asian identity in social media, and a roundtable with the founders of Black-owned beauty brands. So beyond the tips and tricks, we hope people are inspired by what they see.

What’s been your biggest challenge in putting this all together?
Scheduling. These creators are friggin’ busy.

On another topic…we’ve been super into Naomi Campbell’s YouTube show. Tell us more! 
I can’t believe what an incredible YouTuber Naomi Campbell has become! Her show, ‘No Filter,’ began last April when the two of us were on the phone and discussing ways for her to stay busy during lockdown, and at the same time, remind people to stay home to stay safe. We thought we would do the show for three weeks. But at the beginning of last month, the show celebrated its one-year anniversary with a special episode with Dave Chappelle. Naomi is a force of nature and she hasn’t forgotten a single person or a single thing in her more than three-decade career. I bow down to her.

Any other YouTube partnerships we should keep an eye on?
Well, this will be an annual festival. The team has a virtual meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss next year’s program… let me know who you want to see and we’ll try to make it happen!

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