How did a 27-year-old single mother from a gritty corner of northern England become one of the most popular makeup artists on earth? To understand, just press Play, for part of the delightfully unvarnished charm that has propelled Lauren Luke into becoming a YouTube sensation with more than 50 million hits is the voice Luke says she hates.
"It's a bit off-putting, and I don't edit me videos because I don't like to watch meself," says Luke. Yet those Geordie vowels (and the use of me instead of my and us in place of me) just add more stardust to a screen presence so authentic, you want to bottle it or package it into makeup palettes labeled "By Lauren Luke," available at bylaurenluke.com and Sephora.
No one is more surprised by her success than the insecure girl who was bullied at school and got pregnant at 15. "They called us fat. They called us everything, really," says Luke. "But I'd put on me makeup, and it makes you feel better, doesn't it? It's a waste of a day not to have a beautiful makeup look on."
Luke began buying and selling makeup online three years ago. She also uploaded videos of herself applying makeup, using her own face as a canvas. "People liked it and thought I was a real makeup artist," says Luke.
Duncan Bird, a London-based talent manager, saw the videos with Luke's dog snoring in the background and signed her immediately. "What struck me was Lauren's unique approach to helping people to be their best," says Bird. Luke's makeup line is also selling in Britain, Australia, China and India. "I'm over-the-moon dead proud," she says.