At just 18 years old, make-up artist Abby Roberts has already established herself as a bonafide beauty star, amassing 7.3 million TikTok followers who have been mesmerised by her imaginative pop culture transformations.
Roberts is part of the first generation of make-up artists who came of age in a world of beauty gurus. Growing up watching YouTubers like NikkieTutorials and Jaclyn Hill, Roberts uploaded her first make-up tutorial when she was just 11. It wasn’t until she joined TikTok early last year, however, that her career took off, with her early glam looks evolving into her current, more unconventional style after watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and being inspired by the experimental make-up of queens like Aquaria.
Foregoing the prescriptive aesthetic of previous generations of tutorials, Roberts’ videos prize creative expression over achieving a perfect look. Her catalogue of wacky characters is more in keeping with an SFX portfolio than a Brandy Melville lookbook. “I create make-up looks that are a form of artistic expression, rather than focusing on conforming to society’s beauty standards,” she says. “I want to inspire other artists, encourage individuality and creativity, and empower all types of people who watch my content.”
When it comes to your work, what are you most proud of?
Abby Roberts: I always say the look I’m most proud of is my ‘Gucci snake’ look, it was one of the first looks I created that incorporated my photorealistic artistic abilities. Aside from being proud of my looks I’m also proud of how inclusive I am; I'm very supportive of up-and-coming make-up artists, and my followers.
Where do you eventually want to get to in your career?
Abby Roberts: I would love to continue to inspire young artists and provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ people, whereby by watching my content they can feel like there is always a place for them.
What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?
Abby Roberts: I would like to donate to the Trevor Project helping LGBTQ+ youth, and make a TikTok to highlight young LGBTQ+ artists. Donating to the Trevor Project directly impacts the LGBTQ+ community by providing a 24/7 helpline to aid with any problems they may have at any time. The TikTok collaborative aspect of the project would help to showcase new/upcoming LGBTQ+ artists.