If you don’t know who Amanda Steele is by now that’s probably because you were either born prior to the year 1997, or have been living under a rock-like Clinique case.
Steele, who started by creating make-up tutorials on YouTube at the ripe age of ten, confides in me: “Make-up was always something I was into. Once I discovered YouTube I learned how to actually put on make-up, since my mom and sister didn’t really know. I didn’t learn it from them, I learned it from YouTube.” Seeking a slice of the tutorial craze back in 2010, Steele launched her own exceedingly popular channel, “Makeup By Mandy 24,” which quickly became much more than videos made from her bedroom.
In 2013 Steele was approached by K-Mart who wanted to collaborate on a holiday promo. “I showed my mom (who conveniently is a lawyer) the deal, and once she saw that I could actually make money from this, she was like, ‘Okay let’s do this.’ I met with a manager and I started taking things more seriously.” Since her first paying gig, Steele has had deals with Bobbi Brown, Cover Girl, BH Cosmetics, L’Oréal, Maybelline, Colour Pop (owned by the same parent company as Kylie Cosmetics), and she most recently signed a contract with WME and IMG Models.
Lately, Steele has been focusing more on her acting career – going on the audition road after moving to Los Angeles this past summer. Some of her fans grumble that she’s changed and has moved away from the platform that once made her who she is today. “YouTube is where I came from. I make videos these days, but only when I am really inspired. I hate making something that I am not totally into. I just can’t do it.” She also explains how YouTube is a platform in particular that comes with a lot of backlash, which has made her shy away from it. “Making YouTube videos is the hardest thing that I work on. When you’ve spent all this time and energy on a video and then most of the comments are bashing on you, it’s really hard,” she says. “It is not my number one priority right now.” And who can blame her? I mean who has actually stayed the same person from when they were 10 to 17?
For fans who miss the playfully edgy Steele they can find her these days on Twitter. “Twitter is definitely where I speak my mind. Even when I am getting bashed a lot for something, I try to put it out in the world and twist it into a good message. That way I’m not holding it in and becoming bitter about something.” This message that Steele is really pushing out there is self-confidence – something women and men of all ages need to be reminded of from time to time, especially during their young adult years. Steele sympathizes with girls in high school, “I only went to [high] school for one semester before begging my mom to let me go to online school. The people were just so awful and mean. I was afraid to be myself, and now that I look back, I am like ‘wait, that person was pretty cool, and I should’ve embraced that.’”
Steele hasn’t lost where she came from. “I still have my head, my heart, and my style. That is really what people respond to, so as long as I have those things we’re good.” She wants to get into fashion design and have her own line. If any of the other four industries Steele has thrived in can tell us anything, it’s that she will do it successfully and with millions of followers in tow. “It’s funny because who I am now is exactly who I wanted to be when I was younger.” How many of us can say that?
Written by Britton Litow
Photographer: Ian Morrison for Opus Reps
Film by Samuel J. Roberts
Stylist: Dani Michelle
Hair: Kylee Heath for Starworks Group
Makeup: Tamah for The Wall Group
Manicurist: Camille Black
Photo Assistants: Rion Fisher and David Sutherland
Styling Assistant: Rum Brady
Locations: Ace Hotel Los Angeles and Woodspoon Restaurant, Los Angeles
Special Thanks: Natalia Pereira