Meet Myrna, Makeup Vlogger and German Beauty Sensation: "Everything is a competition now. Bigger, better, bolder... Who did it first, who gets more views... And It's tiring"
Meet Myrna, a German beauty vlogger. I discovered her YouTube channel while searching for makeup tutorials that were geared for those with hooded eyes. She and I have that in common, so her videos helped me a lot. I was drawn to more than her skill and talent, to her endearing nature, calmness, and soft voice.
Myrna focuses on makeup and how it makes her viewers feel. She is not only stunning herself, but works to make others feel their best with her makeup tricks, recommendations, and creativity. I knew, just after watching a handful videos that she would be someone whose story would resonate with so many. With more than 50,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, Makeup by Myrna, she is now a rising vlogger in Berlin, Germany. But even with that, Myrna deserves so much more recognition for her work ethic. Not only is she dedicated to her YouTube channel, but also has a separate full-time job… You go, girl! So, if Myrna seems like your type of girl read on to find out how she became such an inspiration.
Openletr: Please share a bit about yourself so our readers can get to know you, your history, background, and how you got to where you are today.
Myrna: I grew up in Berlin, Germany as the youngest of three children (two older brothers). My parents separated when I was two and we lived with my mom, but saw my dad every week, so they both played equal parts in my life. My mom had another child with her new partner when I was 12, so I then became a big sister to my little brother. When I was 18, my oldest brother passed away. A year prior, my cousin had also died. These losses were incredibly hard on the family. It was a very challenging and difficult time that has definitely left its marks. After finishing school, I spent a few months in California working and studying. I actually took a psychology class at Stanford, which was extremely interesting. When I came back to Berlin, I did a training as a foreign language correspondent, and then worked as a tour operator. Today I work at an institute full-time. As for my path in makeup, I started my beauty blog in 2015, but quickly realized that I could reach a lot more people by making videos on YouTube, so in January 2016 I sat down with my camera placed on top of a stack of books and recorded my first ever beauty video for my channel.
Openletr: What first got you interested in the makeup and beauty world?
Myrna: I don't remember one particular moment or photo that got me interested, because I was just interested from the start :) Whenever I would watch commercials, movies, or look at photos in magazines, I would notice how beautiful the actresses/models were, and even though I couldn't quite pinpoint what it was, I knew they were wearing makeup. It always fascinated me how makeup can completely transform you, and allows you to turn yourself into whatever you want to be. It gives you confidence, and makes you feel powerful and beautiful.
Openletr: Where did you learn your amazing makeup skills?
Myrna: I learned everything I know from trial and error. When I grew up in the 90s, there was no YouTube. In fact, for the longest time, we didn't even have internet, i.e. no access to any information on how to do makeup, so I just experimented. I definitely rocked some pretty bad looks throughout my teenage years, but I would always do my thing. I was always "the girl that wears too much makeup" at my high school and no one else would wear as much makeup, but I never cared. Would I wear a smokey eye and heels to school every day now? Probably not, but there is nothing wrong with it and if you like it, rock it. Those years are the years to experiment and figure out who you are, so have fun with it. As the years went by, I got better and better at makeup, and started experimenting with different styles. I would do a cut crease on my eyes before even knowing there was a term for it. The biggest turning point was when I realized I had hooded eyes, and that I couldn't wear the same style of eye makeup as someone with a lot of lid space, e.g. a thick winged liner, because it just never looked right on me. I slowly figured out what looked good on me just by doing my makeup day by day. Of course, as the YouTube beauty community started evolving in 2008-2009, I started watching tutorials and was fascinated by them. They inspired me, and made me try more bold looks.
Openletr: What is your favorite step in your beauty routine? And what are your top three favorite beauty products?
Myrna: It's hard for me to choose one favorite step, because I enjoy every step of the way, but I would say foundation, contouring, and brows are the most magical steps to me. I have a lot of redness in my skin, and even as an adult I still have breakouts and zits, and watching all of that disappear and looking smooth and evened-out after putting on foundation is so satisfying. And contouring my nose, cheekbones, and jawline makes such a huge difference. It's crazy how you can manipulate your features. And then brows... I am a perfectionist when it comes to my brows. I want every hair to lay perfectly, I know exactly what brow shape I like on me, and I could spend hours just perfecting them.
Here are my top 3 favorite products:
Vichy Dermablend foundation makes you look flawless
Flormar Terracotta Blush-on gives the most beautiful pink glow to the cheeks
Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows are the best bases for any eyeshadow look
Oh - and just an honorable mention, brow gel is a total game changer and needs to be in everyone's routine.
Openletr: Who has influenced your makeup choices the most over the years? A celebrity, makeup artist, family member?
Myrna: Probably celebrities like Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Britney Spears. Celebrity makeup artist Alexis Vogel is someone I have looked up to for a long time. I just love her glamorous style.
Openletr: If you could offer advice to someone just starting out with makeup what would you want them to know?
Myrna: Rome wasn't built in a day, so unless you're a natural talent, it is going to take a while for you to become really good at makeup. And that's okay! Practice makes perfect. Invest in a handful of good quality brushes, get some good affordable makeup (drugstore makeup has come a very long way!), get inspired by people you like, and then start playing with it! Remember: makeup is fun and it washes off. If something doesn't look good, take it off, and try again another day. Tutorials can be super helpful in the beginning too. And my most important piece of advice: ALWAYS remove your makeup, cleanse your face and moisturize before going to bed, no matter how tired you are. Not removing your makeup will cause premature aging, enlarged pores, and acne. I wish I had stuck to that rule, because even though my skin is in decent condition for my age now, I attribute the enlarged pores in my t-zone to not always removing my makeup as a teenager.
Openletr: What are your favorite and least favorite things about the beauty community and industry? What changes, if any, do you think could be made to improve the landscape?
Myrna: My favorite thing about the beauty community is that we are sharing a passion, and it can bring us together. However, everything is a competition now. Bigger, better, bolder... Who did it first, who gets more views... and it's tiring. I would like to go back to the time where people did makeup for the love of it and to educate, not to sell something. I get it if it's your job, and you depend on the money. And don't get me wrong, if I have the chance to make money doing what I love, sign me up! But never compromise your integrity for money. The change is happening right now I think. Viewers are not stupid and now that a lot of behind the scenes information has become public, I think they are questioning who they follow, and are looking for new people they can trust, identify with, and learn from. We can all make a difference by supporting the ones that are genuine and in it for the right reasons.
Openletr: We all struggle with something about ourselves whether it be body image, acne, etc. What issues have you dealt with and how do you handle it?
Myrna: As a teenager, my biggest insecurity was my bare face. I would feel like a million bucks with makeup on, but without it, I would feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, which is why I never wanted to leave the house without makeup, and if I had to, I would put sunglasses on or just sleep in my makeup, which is horrible. Over time, as I've gotten older, I have gotten more and more relaxed, and started caring less and less about what anyone thinks of me. Now I leave the house without makeup all the time — whenever I am not working and have nothing special planned. The moment you stop caring about what others think you look like, is the moment you've found and come to accept and love yourself. Surround yourself with kind, uplifting people who love you regardless of how you look, and you will automatically become happier and more confident.
Openletr: Has being a member of the YouTube beauty community changed your perspective on beauty, confidence, and feminism? If so, how?
Myrna: I joined YouTube as a creator at a more advanced age, at 27 to be exact, so I wasn't as young as a lot of beauty gurus. I had already found myself and knew who I was, so I don't think being a member of the beauty community has changed me substantially, but what it has definitely done is to make me realize how many kind people are out there. In today's society, there is so much ugliness, and yes, as a YouTuber you do get mean comments every now and then, but 99% of the comments I get are so heartwarming and supportive that I feel extremely blessed to receive so much love. YouTubers are just normal people, who deal with issues just like everyone else, and sometimes a kind comment can go so much further than the commenter will ever know. Of course, it also goes vice-versa — sometimes a harsh comment at a vulnerable time can hit the nerve it normally wouldn't. But I can generally say that I feel very loved and accepted, and I hope I am able to convey that same feeling to my viewers.
Openletr: Why do you think beauty is such a major part of people’s lives around the world?
Myrna: Beauty is not makeup, beauty is a feeling. We all want to feel good, and if something as small as makeup can help us feel good, then that's a good example of a small thing having a big impact. It's also an escape from reality. If you look closely, you can see beauty in a lot of things. An old couple still holding hands after being together for 70 years, your pet licking your hand, a stranger smiling at you on the street... Whatever it is, it's out there, and we just need to open our eyes to see it, appreciate it, and reciprocate it.
Myrna, Berlin, Germany