From Lipstick to Leadership: Lessons from Jeffree Star

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By Valerie Valencia

Being a makeup enthusiast and Sephora employee, I’ve been seriously loving Shane Dawson’s new docuseries, The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star. The docuseries follows Youtuber Shane Dawson as he takes the audience behind the scenes of Jeffree Star’s life and his million-dollar cosmetic company. Along with that it shows the consumers a look at all the work it took for Shane to create his makeup collaboration with Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Now I know what you’re thinking, how complex can creating eyeshadows and lipstick be? But seeing that Business Insider valued the makeup industry as a 532-billion-dollar industry, the work it took to create Shane’s line with Jeffree Star Cosmetics was extensive to say the least. The docuseries does an amazing job of showcasing the information to those who may not know about the makeup industry, while still providing new perspectives to long time makeup lovers. But the main thing I would have to say is that this glimpse into Jeffree Star’s business and his practices has fully convinced me that Mr. Star is not only an influential beauty icon, he is also one of, if not, the most transformational leader in the beauty industry right now.

Jeffree Star perfectly embodies all the skills a transformational leader needs to possess. A transformational leader is a leader that inspires and motivates their workers to push boundaries and create innovation and change. They do this by mentoring and training their employees and partners to be independent, thus allowing room for creativity and innovation. One of these traits is “inspiring followers to commit to a shared vision that provides meaning to their work while also serving as a role model who helps followers develop their own potential”. Mr. Star does this by encouraging Shane, a Youtuber with no prior knowledge of makeup, to fulfill his dreams of coming out with his own makeup collection. He gives him the confidence to feel like even him, someone who makes conspiracy videos, could sell his own makeup palette to the public and actually have people buy it. Even on a phone call with Morphe, a makeup store selling Jeffree Star Cosmetics, he pushes him to demand for them to sponsor his videos and to give him a reasonable cut. I think having these polar opposite people like Shane Dawson, someone who is goofy, self-deprecating, but curious, and Jeffree Star, a multimillionaire who is confident and assertive is the best way to perfectly showcase what it means to be a transformational leader.
This series also shows the not so exciting pars of being a transformational leader. Being a transformational leader does not necessarily mean that you are the most liked person in the room. I mean if you think about it, you can’t really be transformational and create change and not expect some push back. Despite this pushback, it helps create change and innovation. Which is exactly what we see in the series from Jeffree Star. He does this by exposing past deals that other competing makeup brands like “Too Faced” have made with other Youtubers to show Shane to not be naïve when it comes to demanding your worth with big companies. He isn’t afraid of speaking against titans in the makeup industry with many connections. He sees problems and is willing to speak up against them even if others don’t. Not only that, but he inspires and motivates his colleagues to do the same and demand better.
Lastly, a strong skill Mr. Star exemplifies is that he wants his partners to want better for themselves. Along with having his own vision with his cosmetics, Mr. Star states that he makes the deals he makes with his partners because he knows what it is like to be misled or deceived by companies. He aims to not only give Dawson the platform to project his own videos and dream of making a makeup palette, but he also gives him the confidence to know his worth as a business partner.
In seeing how Jeffree Star motivates and pushes his own partners to believe in themselves while providing a stern handle on his own business, one can easily see why he rose so quickly in the beauty industry. I highly recommend watching the docuseries as it shows extensively some great examples of transformational leadership and some pretty cool makeup.