One of YouTube’s first Black makeup and fashion vloggers inspires young women through her sense of style and desire to make a difference.
YouTube Personality, ItsMyRayeRaye
Becoming a social media star wasn’t Raye Boyce’s original goal. It just worked out that way.
“It wasn’t in the plans,” explained the 32-year-old YouTube phenomenon, who goes by ItsMyRayeRaye online. “I actually wanted to be more behind the scenes. But I used to have a blog on Tumblr, so that’s kind of where I got started. I would just post my photos. If I found a deal at the beauty supply store, like a two-dollar lipstick, I would share that with my followers. I started to realize they really enjoyed that. So, I continued to upload.”
Making a commitment
Boyce credits the YouTuber known as Andrea’s Choice for giving her the confidence to take things to the next level.
“I would recreate her looks and tag her. She reached out to me one day and said, ‘Why don’t you start a YouTube channel?’ I was like, ‘That’s not me, that’s your thing,’ but she gave me some suggestions and so much information.”
With someone to advise her, Boyce persevered, eventually racking up 2 million followers thanks to her assortment of hair, skincare, and makeup hacks. Having made her online debut more than a decade ago, she now approaches her videos with humor and a sense of responsibility.
Forging a path
When Boyce started, young Black women looking for representation didn’t have a lot of options on YouTube.
“For years after that, it was still such a small community. We all knew each other, and we knew there was a difference that needed to be made,” said Boyce. “That was the exciting thing about it, because we all recognized it and did something about it. I knew a lot of other Black creators, and we all made a point to help as many people as we could in order to make the space more diverse. It was so easy to grow back then. We were the only ones doing it.”
For Boyce, building a community is extremely important.
“In the beginning, I don’t think inclusion was even thought of. It wasn’t something in the beauty space that was being worked on. The great thing about social media is that it gave Black women a platform, because we realized there wasn’t inclusion. There’s always work to be done and improvements that can be made in anything, but thinking about when I began to where we are now, it’s a huge difference.”
A mother’s perspective
Royce admits becoming a mom has eased the pressures of social media.
“Before, it was like if you’re not constantly into the trend, then it’s not cool and we don’t want to watch it. But now I think my content is more relatable and realistic. It’s moving more into lifestyle. I love my makeup, and that will never change, but do I have the same amount of time and focus?” said Boyce. “I think it has changed it for the better, where now I get to have fun. I get to work on partnerships with brands like Barbie. I can put more of that energy into my daughter, Zoe, and she loves it. She’s already a little influencer.”
As for what’s ahead, Boyce is working on a new project but isn’t sharing many details.
“I don’t want to say too much. I’m known for three things — my lips, my brows, and my lashes. And there’s one last thing. If my followers read this or check this out, they will know what I’m talking about. So that’s all I’m going to say. I think they’re going to love it.”