Jackie Yates, a Brown Beauty Reporter Serving Serious Boss Energy

This Irvington, NJ brown babe has been in my beauty circle since our days at EBONY magazine, and it’s about time that I got her interview up here. Jackie Yates, currently the beauty and style reporter at Good Morning America (Digital) and running her personal site (coming soon), is one of those rare sweethearts that is also extremely hardworking and about her coin, but also ready to help you out without thinking twice. Her beauty career began at ESSENCE magazine as the editorial beauty assistant, and since then, she’s been steering the wheel with determination to drive her dynamic experience as a Black woman in an industry still struggling to raise it’s standards when it comes to representation.

I wanted to ask Jackie about her career as a Black woman in beauty and ask her personal insight to younger women of color who may be considering a career in the billion-dollar business.

What do you think your mark in the beauty world is as a woman of color so far?

Honestly, I’ve been researching, writing, and editing [some of the] best beauty solutions for brown women for nearly a decade — and I thoroughly enjoy it! I think I’m still in the process of “making my mark,” but I would hope that it eventually wraps around inspiring women of color to have fun with their beauty and unapologetically love who they are inside and out. I believe that I am a trusted source as a beauty editor who keeps it real, and I’m always willing to share my experiences and put in the work to get the right answers for women who are like me.

Being a beauty reporter/editor in 2019 is so different than when we were at EBONY. How has your day-to-day changed as you’ve moved into the digital editorial landscape?

My experience as a beauty editor has definitely changed, and it continues to change. During my days at EBONY magazine, I had moved into my role as an editor rather than an assistant and it all was a big learning curve. During my days as a print editor, everything was a bit more conceptual and carefully curated. Now, working in the digital space, constant content is king and everything moves a lot faster. In the past, I would go to an event or get an exclusive and you would see it run in print a few months later. Today, as soon as I get fresh information (if it isn’t embargoed) I’m pitching it to my team and writing it up ASAP. It’s about getting the latest and best out to the world, but still finding a way to report in a sophisticated manner.

Beauty editors now, to some extent, have to also be influencers online. How are you authentically transforming your brand as an editor? 

I’m transforming my brand by sharing more of my lifestyle and different things I’m learning within the beauty, fashion and wellness spaces with my followers. As someone who can sometimes be shy, I surprisingly enjoy engaging on social media as it allows me to directly connect with people I know and don’t know personally. I get to understand what type of information they are inspired by, and what topics they are curious about. In addition to having a small social media community, I also continually collaborate with different online outlets — which has also helped push the reach of my personal brand.

It’s not always easy to “brand” as the internet is saturated with “influencers,” and it’s hard to separate what’s real from what’s fake. However, I think the biggest piece of my branding technique has a lot to do with being authentic. One day I may be sharing my skincare routine, and the next I may be showing a hilarious meme.

The over-saturation of beauty brands in the industry is reaching an all-time high. How do you feel about the growth of indie brands and who do you really think will be around for a long time?

I absolutely love that indie beauty brands are growing in popularity, and I strongly believe they are continually growing because of the communities being created around them. People feel personally connected to these brands, and enjoy being a part of their story.

I think brands such as Glossier, The Lip Bar, Milk Makeup, SheaMoisture, and Drunk Elephant will be around for a while because they have loyal followings and continue to create products based around what their fans are craving. That’s a supreme recipe for success that will outlive some of the bigger, corporately backed brands that are sticking with traditional sales and product development tactics.

What’s your go-to beauty look? 

On most days, I love to base my face with a nice foundation such as Giorgio Armani’s Face Fabric or a tinted moisturizer just to even out my tone. Brows are always strong. I usually pencil them in with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz or Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil. Not too long ago, I got my brows microbladed so there’s that, too. Ha! I also love a good highlight — from golds like Fenty Beauty Killawatt in Trophy Wife to icy shades such as Laura Geller’s ‘Baked Gelato’ Swirl Illuminator, because it just adds a nice twinkle that wakes your whole face up. I will forever love mascara or lashes and a little blush. I usually like to keep my lips muted with soft neutral shades that are clear glassy-like glosses.

Talk to me about the way you see the internet and social media affecting the way brown girls confidence, or not affecting it.

As many of us already know, social media can affect the way brown girls view themselves —especially when it comes to comparing themselves to others. But, at the same time, I agree that it’s inspiring confidence, building community and overall sisterhood. Take the online natural hair community for example. Women are connecting with others all across the world all in the name of curly, kinky textures. They are learning from each other and sharing unique experiences. That in itself is a beautiful thing, and I hope it continues to get bigger and better.

What’s the next move in beauty you can’t wait to make? 

I can’t wait to work on my next passion piece or project. I have a few ideas cooking, and I can’t wait to see which of these, what I like to call, “legacy works of art” come to fruition. It’s cool to write viral stories, but when you can take your time to make love to a creative project that’s bigger than you, it’s truly rewarding and will live on forever.

Follow Jackie’s work at Good Morning America and her beauty-full life on the Gram.