Actress Arden Rose Keeps It Real on the 'Tube, Where Many Don't
Beyond the thicket of beauty tutorials, makeup and skincare hauls, Arden Rose's desires delve further than skin deep. Recognized among today’s digital youth as a vlogger turned author and actress, the LA transplant has quickly proven herself as a force to be reckoned with. Her raw media presence over the course of eight years has amassed 1.4 million subscribers, nearly a million Instagram followers Instagram followers, and another near milli on Twitter followers 925k followers on Twitter. Mature beyond her years, she has used her platform as a candid, no-holds-barred guide for young women—one that doesn’t shy away from sexuality, mental health, or eating disorders.
“I think it's important to talk about mental health on the Internet, while also not using it as a way of exploiting click-bait," she says. "When you talk about depression, or something else you struggle with on a daily basis, it's hard to not also be aware as a YouTuber that you can make decent money off of exploiting that idea. It's important to walk a fine line and ask yourself, 'Is this going to be helpful to someone else? Or is this something someone's going to watch and be drawn into a hole with?'”
Speaking with Arden, 22, it’s clear she’s come far from where she was at 14, recording herself apply self-tanner from her bedroom in Little Rock, Arkansas. And while she’s still very much a part of the beauty community, her role has shifted. “I always wanted to have a lot of makeup because I wanted to experiment and feel like a part of the community," she says. "And then as I got older I realized I like my face a lot without makeup. I like it way better without makeup, and makeup makes my skin bad, and it makes me have an unrealistic expectation of what my face should look like. So in the last few years I've really reeled it in and said 'No, I'm not going to wear winged eyeliner everyday and a full face of foundation to make a video.' At most now I'll put on winged eyeliner. I don't want the rest. I don't need it. I just don't have that same standard.”
This is the kind of refreshing realness that has built Arden her following—“rose buds who hang out in her garden,” as she’s cheekily put it—of young women who not only subscribe to her channel, but listen to her podcast Crash On My Couch, read her book Almost Adulting, buy her jewelry collaboration with Mejuri, and watch her as Hadley on Mr. Student Body President. In a landscape of “Viners,” Jake and Logan Paul’s, and contour tutorials, authenticity speaks.
When I ask her what she thinks about YouTube changing and if it’s a dying trend, she says “Way back in the day, YouTube was sort of a niche thing and part of the enjoyment then was that the people who were making content were very passionate about it without having a lot of incentive to do it whereas now, the fact that you can get famous off of YouTube, the fact that little kids are writing in their dream job description "YouTuber" is creepy to me. It's become very corporate and disingenuous, when it was something that was supposed to be so genuine. It's just interesting to see how most people haven't survived that long leap of time and all these new YouTubers have come in.
I don't want to call it a cesspool but sometimes it feels that way. Maybe my version of YouTube is a dying trend, but I have a feeling modern day YouTube will be sticking around for a while. Part of me, in a very pessimistic sort of way, hopes it goes up in a beautiful blades of glory in the next couple years, but only after I've figured out something else to do.”
Fans can look forward to the season three premiere of Mr. Student Body President coming soon and watch her channel @ArdenRose in the meantime.
Written by Chanel Peykar
Photographer: James Elliot Bailey
Stylist: Mark-Paul Barro
Hair: Michael Duenas
Makeup: Desirae Cherman