Spotlight On Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin
I’m really excited to introduce a new interview series on the blog called Spotlight on Constant Creatives. There are so many creative people out there who are pushing past boundaries, stretching the idea of being a “creative” and showing the world that you don’t have to be confined to one passion. I wanted to start this series so we could hear from all the people that make up this community of artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers.
I’m ecstatic to have a very smart, pun-loving, talented fellow blogger and friend come onto the blog to share her journey and advice with you all! Her makeup tutorials are outta this world, she creates really fun YouTube videos thanks to her editing skills, and her answer to one of the Quick Six questions (person she would meet dead or alive) is surprisingly fitting and says a lot about the unique person that she is. Read on for all the greatness that is beauty-guru Shirin Nahvi of Queen Shirin!
Can you introduce yourself and tell everyone about who you are and what you do?
Hi, everyone! My name is Shirin and I am a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle YouTuber and blogger. Thank you so much, Sam, for having me on Constant Creative!
Have you always considered yourself a creative?
Yes! My mom is an architect and my grandpa is an artist, so being creative is basically in my blood. Since childhood, my passions and hobbies included artistic endeavors from playing violin to telling stories to being behind the camera. I was obsessed with taking pictures and videos. Clearly, nothing has changed.
What led you to take that leap into starting your own blog and Youtube channel?
When I was in middle school, I taught myself HTML and CSS from reading the codes for custom site layout themes on Neopets. One of my biggest inspirations is Jessica Kobeissi, an amazingly talented photographer, who at the time had a blog featuring tons of graphic design tutorials that I followed to create custom blog headers and backgrounds. Through combining my coding and design skills, I started my first blog where I posted about my daily life and connected with fellow bloggers from Neopets.
Around the same time, I discovered the YouTube beauty world and started watching tons of makeup videos. I realized I wanted to be a creator instead of a viewer, so I started my first YouTube channel during middle school and posted a now-cringeworthy video about socks and shoes, neither of which exist anymore. After that video, I stopped posting because I thought I needed to have long hair in order to be a beauty YouTuber since all the creators I watched at the time had long hair. Looking back, that was honestly such a silly thought.
Fast forward to 2010, I created my Queen Shirin YouTube channel. Throughout high school and college, I uploaded videos sporadically, as focusing on school and getting good grades was my priority, and ran an extremely neglected blog that was meant to accompany my channel. Upon graduation, I briefly worked at a digital media company that worked with YouTubers and influencers before deciding I wanted to pursue YouTube full-time. Thus, I quit my job, started making videos more consistently, and launched my third and current blog, www.queenshirin.com.
When did you first get into makeup and beauty?
At some point in elementary school, I wanted to start shopping for my own clothes and accessories instead of my parents buying them for me. As I developed my own fashion style, beauty came hand-in-hand. I enjoyed playing around with different hairstyles and doing my nails.
While running my first blog, I was so fascinated with photos of lip art and creative makeup looks I found online that my site graphics started to include images of models with artistic makeup. I didn’t start wearing makeup until high school, and by makeup I mean experimenting with my mom’s eyeshadows. Halloween 2009, I dressed up as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and followed Kandee Johnson’s makeup tutorial for the look. I’ve been into makeup ever since.
You also have a passion for film and screenwriting (we met in college where we both received degrees in Screenwriting), where do you plan to go with that? Anything in the works right now?
YouTube! I find that a lot of screenwriting elements, from structure to storytelling, translate over to creating a YouTube video. Yes, even for creating a makeup tutorial or product review! Having a video planned out before filming allows me to present information in a way that is engaging, educational, and concise. I recently started a Beauty Editing 101 series, where I teach tips and tricks about editing beauty photos and videos, but I also plan on adding a comedy series to my channel.
Being a blogger/Youtuber has its ups and downs. Can you name a moment of failure or a hurdle you overcame that you ultimately learned from?
Learning to stop comparing myself to others is something I’ve had to overcome and still remind myself. It’s so easy to look at other people’s content and ask yourself why your work doesn’t look as good as theirs. In fact, I’m still learning how to properly blend my eyeshadow. I know that in time, with practice and patience, I’ll get better. I’m not perfect and that’s ok. Strive for improvement, not perfection. Trust me, it’s less stressful that way. This is coming from a perfectionist.
You’re passionate about so many things: film, writing, graphic design, beauty, fashion, the list goes on and on! How do you think not allowing yourself to be defined by one thing has shaped you?
I find myself constantly incorporating each of my passions into my content. For instance, my YouTube videos allow me to combine my film, writing, and graphic design skills with fashion and beauty. My blog graphics also display my design skills. By combining my passions, I’m able to further showcase my style and personality.
How has your blog/Youtube channel evolved since you first started?
Basically, my channel and blog reflect my interests. As I continue to grow and evolve, so does my content. When I first started, I posted mainly makeup and nail art tutorials, DIY’s, and outfit videos. Then, I went through a phase where I was really into baking and making healthy recipes, so I started uploading food videos. Now, I still upload beauty videos, but plan to include comedy, as well.
Additionally, I filmed using natural light and edited all my videos on my iPhone when I first started. Since then, I’ve invested in lighting, editing, and camera equipment which have significantly improved my production quality.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own creative business or go after something they’re passionate about?
Do it! But, take calculated risks. Have a business plan or set goals so you know what you are working toward and have a way to get where you want to be. Have some money saved up so you can support yourself while launching your business.
My top three tips are to research the industry you want to pursue, be patient, and surround yourself with a strong support system. Becoming an expert in your field will give you a cutting edge. However, success does not (typically) happen overnight. It’s easy to get caught up in the analytics and get frustrated about not getting enough likes or views, but the more content you put out, the more chances people have of finding you. I know more often than not, friends and family won’t always understand what you want to do nor will they support you. That’s ok. Support can come from people other than just friends and family. There are several online communities, like Facebook or Reddit groups for bloggers and YouTubers, that are designed to support one another. I definitely recommend checking these out and being a member of these groups. There’s a good chance you’ll make some new friends while you’re at it!
You said you’re a big fan of self-teaching. Is that something you think our generation has a leg up on? What resources have you turned to, to learn a new skill?
Absolutely! Our generation has access to such a vast amount of resources that you can teach yourself almost anything or connect with someone who you’d like to learn from by reaching out to them via social media. YouTube is one of my go-to sites for learning new skills, especially video editing techniques. I also love checking out educational books from the library.
I love that inspiration can come in so many shapes and sizes. Where, who, or what do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from lots of different sources, from music to movies to photographers and everything in between. I frequently reference Pinterest and Instagram for makeup look ideas and flatlay compositions. As far as editing style goes, I pull a lot of inspiration from Teni Panosian. I love her cinematic style and aim to create a similar feel in my videos.
How do you believe you stand out amongst other beauty and lifestyle influencers? I think a lot of young people that are considering starting a blog or Youtube channel are worried about the market being too saturated, what’s your opinion on that?
While the market is definitely saturated, the world of influencers is still relatively new and growing. There is room for everyone to succeed. Also, more brands are starting to work with micro-influencers as opposed to the top content creators, so if you’ve ever wanted to start your own blog or YouTube channel, now is the time.
What’s a dream of yours that you hope to accomplish in the coming years?
I would love to start my own beauty line.
What message do you want your audience to get from your content? What inspiration do you want them to pull from you?
I seek to inspire my audience to be confident in their own skin as well as empower them to be the best version of themselves.
I love your style! You really go for it in so many of your Instagram posts and Youtube videos. Can you tell me about your aesthetic and how you feel it reflects who you are?
Aw, thank you! My aesthetic is colorful, yet simple. I like having a white or neutral themed background and using a pop of color for my subject, whether that’s my eye makeup or products. My personality is calm and fun, which mirrors my white/neutral and colorful aesthetic.
Lastly, how are you a “Constant Creative”?
Being an active learner and continually seeking out ways to improve myself makes me a “Constant Creative”.
- Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Influencer you would love to do a collaboration with? Teni Panosian
- Tv show you’re addicted to: Jane the Virgin
- Destination on your bucket list: Egypt
- A person, dead or alive, you want to meet: Richard Branson
- Favorite thing about having a Youtube channel: Connecting with people around the world
What was your favorite thing about this interview? Tell me in a comment below!
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