CHICAGO (Christian Examiner) – One of the most popular fashion channels on YouTube was created by a counter-culture young woman who talks frequently about her Christian faith, writes blogs about "modest" being "hottest," and tells followers beauty isn't the most important thing in life.
Despite all of that – or perhaps, because of it – YouTube sensation Chelsea Crockett has amassed more than 1.5 million subscribers and 181 million views during her five-plus years on her YouTube "BeautyLiciousInsider" channel.
She also recently appeared in her first film, PureFlix's Wish For Christmas, which is out on DVD and digital platforms.
Her YouTube bio describes Crockett as a "beauty guru that loves God and makeup," although she wasn't always bold enough to discuss her faith. Crockett, now 18, says she has grown in her faith in recent years. In July she posted an entry on her blog (ChelseaCrockett.com) titled, "Why Modest Is Hottest."
"I used to be scared to tackle subjects, but I realized that I have a voice and God gave me this voice for a reason," Crockett told the Christian Examiner. "And so I'm going to use it."
Wish For Christmas tells the story of a high school student, Anna, who – seeking more freedom in life -- makes a wish that her parents will stop believing in God, and is shocked when her wish is granted. Crockett plays an acquaintance of Anna's in the movie.
The Christian Examiner spoke with Crockett about the film, her YouTube channel, and her future. Following is a transcript, edited for clarity:
Christian Examiner: You have 1.5 million YouTube subscribers. How did you get started on YouTube?
Chelsea Crockett: I'm 18 and about to turn 19 in a few months. That means my channel is almost six years old. I started when I was 13. YouTube was fun and something different. At the time it was mostly people posting comedy videos, and those are the videos I loved watching. I was watching that, and there was a suggested video that popped up, and it was by a makeup artist on YouTube, Michelle Phan. And I found other girls and this entire community that had this passion for makeup. That's how my channel essentially started.
But as I grew up and grew older I began developing passions for different things. My faith is the No. 1 thing in my life. It used to not be. ... I just continued doing what I was doing but started implementing [faith] into my videos. What I tell people is that I want my channel to be a reflection of who I am, and not necessarily just what I like to do. I have changed so much as a person; you can see that on my channel. It's almost like if you want a journey watching someone actually growing up and finding who they are through Christ, just look at my channel, and you can see that I have completely changed.
CE: What sets your channel apart? It does seem that your channel is different and unique.
Crockett: The most dominant trait that sets me apart from a lot of other channels is ... well, Christ changes everything. If we're reflecting Him then he's going to reflect in everything you do. I think when someone looks at a makeup video that I do or my fitness routine, they'll see that it's not my No. 1 priority in life, to look good for other people. I try to reflect that in all of my videos, even if it's not necessarily an advice video where I'm going deep and talking about a topic. I used to be scared to tackle subjects, but I realized that I have a voice and God gave me this voice for a reason. And so I'm going to use it. There have been times I've seen negative feedback for sharing my faith – "I'm unsubscribing because of all of this Christian stuff." The Bible says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted in my name, for they will inherit the kingdom of God." And so I just have to remember that constantly. Whenever you're growing in Christ, you're more of a target for the enemy to attack.
CE: One of the columns on you blog has the headline "Modest Is Hottest." What are you wanting to teach girls and teens and young women about that issue?
Crockett: I think modesty is an iffy subject to talk about, because I think people can be so easily offended by this. Your body is meant for His glory. I think that a lot of people think that modesty is just with your clothing, but it's also in the way you speak and in the way you act and in the way you live.
Modesty can be carried out in multiple areas. But with clothing, I try to at least set the example. ... It is tough to talk about, because when I posted that article, I got a lot of hate. In our culture, we're told to, "If you got it, flaunt it." Modesty goes completely against the world. I got a lot of hate on that, but at the same time I realized that that's what's going to happen when you have a completely different set of morals from other people.
CE: How often do you post a video?
Crockett: Currently, right now, I'm posting two to three videos a week. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it.
CE: How was making a movie different from making a YouTube video?
Crockett: Being in a movie is so different than YouTube, because on YouTube you can go on the camera and talk about whatever you want, and it's cool, because people follow you for whatever you put out there. But with a movie, you memorize the script and you're playing a role in a film. It was my first time ever experiencing that. It was a little difficult.
If you give me a subject, I can go off and talk about whatever's in my head, but give me a script and it takes a while to just memorize things, because I want to paraphrase it or just come up with something on my own. It was different, but I definitely want to have more roles and experiences in it because it was super fun.