Shane Dawson: An Update

Mary Kelley, Scarlet Staff

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On November 1, YouTuber Shane Dawson’s “Conspiracy Collection” made in collaboration with Jeffree Star Cosmetics was released worldwide. The collection contained makeup, apparel, and accessories. Prices varied from $18 for a single lip product to $210 for the entire makeup collection. The entire collection was sold out within a few hours. This included the many technical difficulties experienced on the website, run by Shopify. 

Dawson is also working on a documentary series alongside cameraman Andrew Swiki, which is halfway done. So far, six out of the series’s planned ten videos have been posted, and more behind the scenes shoots of the actual launch will likely be released soon. 

In the currently released six videos, Dawson has shown his audience the year-long behind the scenes process of creating a makeup collection. The series started with Dawson reticent, an outsider in the beauty industry, a serial self-deprecator, and uneducated about the possibilities of the industry. Slowly, as Dawson gained confidence with makeup, he became more invested in his own collection. His enthusiasm was endearing to watch, captured with a mix of genuine emotion and light humor. 

Dawson has been on YouTube for over ten years. Over the years, he has gone from an edgy comedy persona, to a challenge based creator, to his new direction of focusing on documentary-style content. Dawson has gone through dramatic weight loss and has always been open about his history of eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and self-harm. It’s his honesty in these sensitive areas that creates a layer of trust between him and his audience. Other YouTubers, such as the Dolan Twins, Eugenia Cooney, and Kathy Griffin have even utilized Dawson as a jumping off point for highlighting difficult subjects that arise in the private life of those in the public eye. 

This series, “The Beautiful Life of Jeffree Star,” despite its title, focuses on Dawson and his family. Dawson chronicles his work with a personal trainer. Addressing his history of unhealthy weight loss, Dawson clarifies that he wanted to lose weight to get healthy because he is no longer suicidal. This is at least in part thanks to his doting fiance, Ryland Adams, and the life they have created together. In a sign of growth, Dawson included a clip of him setting a goal of no longer saying mean things about himself. 

The six hours he has released so far have also tackled issues within the beauty industry. There are action shots of behind the scenes business meetings, finance numbers, and shots of a robbery that took place in Jeffree Star’s facilities. The documentary has been filmed over the course of the year. There is the hint of conspiracies along the way, with an emphasis on surviving drama and seeking the truth. 

Dawson has utilized his platform to support his friends and family for years. His content has been motivated by highlighting  his funny and creative friends. He also uses his platform to address issues close to his heart. In one video, Dawson and Adams’s sister Morgan address the popularity and ubiquity of plastic surgery and other pressures in the entertainment industry. Dawson and Star both had cosmetic surgery previously and have spoken about their experiences. This series addresses masculinity, femininity, body image issues, “cancel culture,” and other sensitive topics that affect us today. 

In an endeavor to “fully investigate” Dawson’s makeup launch, I ordered the palette itself and will personally order more of the collection once it has been restocked. I was lucky to have a friend free right at the launch and patient enough to suffer through the glitching website. The website struggled to handle the amount of traffic at launch, causing headaches and disappointment amongst fans. Dawson will continue to release more videos following his path and will hint at what is next for him.