Jackie Aina is so much more than just another beauty influencer, though you may know her from the YouTube beauty world. Since her rise to fame in 2008, the star, who has been a part of some of the best makeup challenges to hit YouTube, has become a successful business woman, an award-winning advocate and activist for Black representation, and an open, honest role model for young women on a platform that is often clouded with unhealthy images and ideals (via Fashionista). With 3.4 million YouTube subscribers as of 2020, the star is well and truly at the top of her game.
Despite Aina’s mind-boggling success in the beauty industry, she hasn’t always been on the path towards fame and fortune. If you’re eager to learn more about how Aina managed to make it as an international beauty mogul with millions of fans, get ready to discover the untold truth of Jackie Aina and find out just how far the YouTube star has come.
Jackie Aina was in the U.S. Army Reserve when she started making videos
Many new Jackie Aina fans are shocked to learn that the beauty influencer was once an army reservist before her YouTube days. In 2008, Aina joined the army and moved to Hawaii where she was in the United States Army Reserve, as she told Insider. “Because I was in the reserves,” Aina explained, “it also meant I had a lot of free time to do other things.” To fill her spare time, Aina turned to YouTube. She started by simply binge-watching videos, but it wasn’t long before her best friend suggested that she should start a channel herself. After lots of coaxing, she finally did — one of the star’s earliest videos was even about the makeup and hair she’d rock in military!
Aina went on to say that the army taught her a lot. “I just learned that there’s always a bigger picture,” she said. Aina then shared that in the army “you just kind of learn to stick with it.” These are definitely skills that Aina has used to create her online beauty empire!
Jackie Aina was married and living in Hawaii when she started her YouTube channel
When Jackie Aina started her channel back in 2008, she wasn’t just in the army — she was also married! According to BuzzFeed News, Aina started dating a man who was in the military while she was at Cal State University San Bernardino. Because Aina was struggling with her classes, she decided to enlist in the army at the suggestion of her boyfriend. She then married her boyfriend and moved to Hawaii because he was stationed there. What a massive life change!
In one of her YouTube videos, Aina explained why she chose to get married at the young age of 21. While her parents didn’t put pressure on her to marry by a certain age, Aina believes that she did “rush a timeline of expectations” for herself. Having had the experience, Aina now believes that “marriage doesn’t define or make or break a woman.” That’s definitely a message we can get behind!
Why Jackie Aina got divorced and left Hawaii
Unfortunately, Jackie Aina’s marriage wasn’t a particularly happy one. “I was not happy at all,” she confessed in a video on her YouTube channel when reflecting on her first makeup tutorial. She added, “YouTube was … one of the only things that kept me going.” Sounds like Aina was in a really rough place! The star explained on her channel (in a video that has since been removed) that she eventually divorced her husband and moved back to California with just $300 (via Revelist).
In another YouTube video, Aina shed some light on why her marriage wasn’t working. Because her husband was the main provider, Aina felt that she couldn’t explore her own interests. She described feeling she had to put her “dreams on hold” and “put [herself] second.” We are so glad that Aina got out of a relationship that wasn’t working and started putting herself first again — it’s easy to see why so many young girls and women look up to her!
Jackie Aina has a condition called hyperhidrosis
While most of us assume that all beauty YouTubers couldn’t possibly have anything “wrong” with them, Jackie Aina is honest about having a condition called hyperhidrosis. According to Healthline, the condition results in excessive sweating which “can occur in unusual situations, such as in cooler weather, or without any trigger at all.” Well, that certainly doesn’t sound fun!
In a video in which she discussed her condition, Aina went into detail about how it has affected her. She explained that she first experienced it at 9 years old. She also noted that people with the condition can be affected in different ways, as people can experience sweating from the face, back, underarms, or even palms. For Aina, her condition is apparently limited to the underarms. She added, “I literally never sweat on my face.”
Aina spoke to Essence in more detail about how she deals with the condition. “I’ve found that if I even think about sweating it actually makes it worse,” she said. “So if I just mentally take myself to a place where I’m not thinking about it all, or working on my breathing, I found that that helps as well.” We love that Aina is so honest!
Jackie Aina has reached out to support Black influencers
Jackie Aina is definitely not just a pretty face. This influencer uses her massive platform to advocate for diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry. In 2018, the star spoke to Yahoo! Life about how she tries to give a voice to other Black influencers. Apparently, Aina has offered to buy young Black influencers new camera equipment and has helped new YouTubers negotiate contracts. Explaining her kindness, she said, “I just want to see people win and not get taken advantage of because, unfortunately, it happens.”
And the star isn’t afraid to be vocal about these issues. In her video titled, “I Don’t See Color,” Aina dove into the lack of inclusivity she has seen in the YouTube beauty community in the past. In this video, she opened up about the types of comments she’s used to receiving, which often claim that she “talks about race too much.” Aina clapped back, saying, “I review makeup for a living. … It’s kind of integral often to talk about color and issues surrounding color.”
Jackie Aina didn't always pursue a career in beauty
Beauty guru Jackie Aina started off with a completely different career plan. It turns out Aina originally intended to become a doctor! In a 2018 interview with The Cut, Aina explained, “My dad is from Nigeria and he expected me to do something more traditional like become a doctor or lawyer.” Apparently, Aina was given an ultimatum — she could go to a traditional university or she could pursue a career in fashion and get cut off from her parents!
She ended up doing pre-med at Cal State University San Bernardino, but the classes just weren’t right for her, as she told BuzzFeed News. She explained, “My brain just kind of, like, exploded in college. I was just burnt out and I couldn’t do the really big classroom sizes.” We are so glad that Aina eventually found her way to YouTube where she could do what she loves!
Jackie Aina "grew up with nothing"
Since skyrocketing to fame, Jackie Aina’s net worth has grown to an estimated $800,000, according to Naibuzz. However, Aina hasn’t always been able to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle with this kind of wealth. In fact, Aina and her family have been pretty open about the fact that they didn’t have many advantages as kids. One of Aina’s sisters Folake once did a video (which has since been removed) about the family “growing up with nothing.” Aina herself told BuzzFeed News, “Growing up, I had no leverage, I had no rich uncle.”
Apparently, the family was forced to live in shelters on three separate occasions. Aina even told a heart-wrenching story of how the family was once kicked out of a shelter and found themselves with nowhere to go. Aina has certainly come a long way — now she helps fans figure out which makeup brands aren’t worth the money and she makes money doing it!
Jackie Aina enjoys a real-life friendship with this influencer
YouTube hasn’t just been a platform for Jackie Aina’s career — it has also been a place where she’s made some amazing friends. It turns out, Aina has a pretty adorable real-life friendship with fellow YouTuber Alissa Ashley. Allure explained how the pair are often seen in each other’s videos and Instagram stories “just hanging out.” In 2019, Ashley tweeted a shoutout to Aina for “letting [her] come pick up a couple of PR packages to do reviews.” It’s clear that the two women always have each other’s backs and don’t mind doing each other favors. Plus, it is so refreshing seeing zero toxicity between these YouTubers, which can be pretty rare in the industry!
Their most well-known joint appearance is probably in Aina’s video “Black Girls React to Tarte Shape Tape Foundation.” In this hilarious video, the pair roast Tarte’s foundation line for offering very few shades for Black women.
Jackie Aina was seriously inspired by this beauty industry icon
In a 2020 article Jackie Aina wrote for Glamour, she opened up about how makeup artist Pat McGrath inspired her to get into the beauty industry. Aina gushed about her hero and explained that McGrath was the first Black woman that she had seen who found real success in the industry. She wrote, “It was such a turning point for me. I can’t even put into words what it feels like to see someone who looks like you, has that skin tone, doesn’t come from a well-connected background, and makes it.” According to Aina, McGrath was the first person who showed her that a career in the beauty industry was actually possible.
Aina and McGrath have actually worked together multiple times. Aina explained their incredibly supportive relationship, saying, “She’s taken me to fashion week in Milan. I’ve traveled to Japan with her.” Apparently, McGrath has even helped Aina develop new business plans.
Jackie Aina is open about getting this plastic surgery operation
While some celebrities try to hide and deny when they’ve had work done, Jackie Aina doesn’t care who knows it! In 2018, the star shared a video called “SOOOOO I got plastic surgery,” in which she explained how she got breast augmentation. Aina was nervous to share the news because she feared people would speculate about other procedures she may have had done. However, she chose to share the truth about her plastic surgery because she wanted to be able to help other women learn the truth about the procedure. “Just because you like your body as is does not mean that you can’t make improvements,” she said.
In another video, Aina opened up about what the procedure was like for her. She was completely candid about all of the unexpected things that happened, including a temporary loss of sensation in her nipples and how she had a longer-than-usual (for her) menstrual period after the procedure. No doubt the information she shared educated others on the process.
Why Jackie Aina left Twitter for a while in 2019
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Jackie Aina. In 2019, she decided to take a Twitter break. She explained on her Instagram that she felt like “the verbal punching bag of the beauty community,” as reported by E! News. She later opened up to Refinery29 about her decision, saying, “This is the first time that I’ve deleted my Twitter account. It’s one of the platforms I spend the most time on, and I think that I needed to develop healthier habits.” Aina realized that she had been in need of a social media detox for some time.
She went on to explain that it can be hard to read hurtful comments all the time. “It’s this lack of accountability about the things that people say online that frustrates me,” she shared. “I don’t like how, because I have a lot of followers, I’m supposed to be immune to abuse.” While it doesn’t surprise us that Aina took a stand against the toxicity of social media comments, we’re also not surprised that Aina came back to the platform stronger than ever!
Think it’s time you take a break from Twitter? Don’t ignore the signs you need a social media detox.
Jackie Aina created a makeup palette for Black skin tones in 2019
For years, Jackie Aina has been advocating for more inclusivity in the beauty industry, especially for women of color, as noted by Teen Vogue. Aina took her activism a step further in 2019 by launching her very own makeup palette designed to be inclusive for darker skin tones. The palette was released in collaboration with well-known makeup company Anastasia Beverly Hills. According to Teen Vogue, the palette is “straight glam” — and we aren’t surprised to hear it!
Not only did Aina create this palette for women with darker skin complexions, but she also paid tribute to famous women of color, including Black rappers Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, in the palette’s marketing campaign. She explained, “I have an Instagram album of makeup, hair, and wardrobe looks I am inspired by and some of those women are in it.” What a meaningful and powerful campaign!
In 2019, Jackie Aina got engaged
Jackie Aina has certainly had her fair share of relationship mishaps. After her unsuccessful first marriage and eventual divorce, Aina finally found true love in partner Denis Asamoah. In 2019, the happy couple got engaged in Santorini, Greece, thrilling Aina’s fans, as noted by Distractify. Aina announced the engagement on her Instagram page with a stunning video that showed off her blinding engagement ring.
Asamoah certainly didn’t pull any stops while proposing. He shared his extravagant proposal in photos on his Instagram page, showing how he set up candles and rose petals in the shape of a heart. He explained, “The proposal took place on a private rooftop and had a direct view to the sunset! This terrace was the perfect setting for a private dinner and proposal. Sade is Jackie’s favorite artist and I had a saxophonist play her favorite hits throughout the night.” We honestly cannot think of a cuter or more romantic proposal!
Jackie Aina has spoken up about how beauty brands can support the Black Lives Matter movement
Black Lives Matter is a hugely important movement, and in 2020, it took on a new life when hundreds of thousands of people attended protests across the country to draw awareness to systemic racism in America (via The New York Times). As a proud activist, Jackie Aina made her voice heard throughout the movement.
She shared her thoughts in an Instagram story, which has been posted on Twitter. In the video, she asked brands like Revolve, Fashion Nova, and Pretty Little Thing — which, according to Aina, “love capitalizing on Black culture” — to show their solidarity with the movement. “You can’t just … pick and choose the parts of our culture and not embrace all of it,” she explained. She noted, “Considering how much influence these brands specifically have, it’s very important that you say and do something. It’s the least you can do.” It’s pretty amazing to hear Aina speaking out and telling it like it is to some of the fashion industry’s biggest players! Clearly Aina isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what’s right.
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