When content creator and makeup guru Aaliyah Jay drops a new video on Youtube, all 1.5 million of her subscribers flock to watch. But her influence, which may look effortless, did not happen overnight. Jay dropped her first beauty tutorial on YouTube back in October of 2012, and has since amassed over 135 million views on her channel.
Ten years later, instead of growing comfortable in her title as a content creator, she has decided to fully explore the other realms of her passions. With a YouTube description that reads, “I’m not into fashion, fashion is into me….”, we can’t be surprised that this realm is one. Jay relaunched her official clothing line, Twisted Saints, back in January and is now gearing up for the release of her second collection. Jay also, exclusively, revealed that she is preparing for the launch of her first jewelry line!
Read as she shares what she is most proud of in her career as a content creator, what fans can expect from Twisted Saint’s next collection, what we can expect from her jewelry line, and so much more!
Jadriena Solomon: The world was introduced to you via YouTube, and this November will mark your ten year anniversary on the platform. When you look back on your rise as a content creator and the moments of your life that you’ve been able to document and grow through, what are you most proud of?
Aaliyah Jay: Oh wow. 10 years is crazy. I’m most proud of the fact that I actually just up and did it, because honestly, starting something even if it’s not YouTube is not easy at all – but especially YouTube. Because you’re really putting yourself out there. You’re showing [all sides of] yourself, and putting yourself out there for judgment and all types of things.
So I’m really proud of the fact that I just did it. I didn’t care about what anybody thought and at the time YouTube wasn’t really a thing like it is now. People were just on YouTube to post funny videos, funny cat videos. There were only some makeup tutorials, but – I don’t know, I saw a future in YouTube. So I’m really proud that I did that.
JS: In addition to being a content creator and makeup guru, you’ve always been one to serve up a look – you were the internet’s “IT Girl” before it became a thing. And currently, you’re working on transitioning into a full time fashion designer. Outside of your love for fashion, what gave you the courage to take a step in that direction, instead of just growing comfortable in the name that you made for yourself as a content creator?
AJ: Well, I’m always challenging myself. Truthfully, I feel like I actually want to do a little bit of everything in life. One time I even thought about knitting – I’m always looking at a brighter side of things. And honestly, fashion came normal to me as well. But I feel like now since I’m really becoming the woman that I want to be, and I’m figuring out who I want to be and just finding myself – it kind of just made sense.
When I was younger, I was always into fashion, but I didn’t know it – I had a sewing machine and I would make little purses out of really cheap fabric. And I just didn’t know that it was just something that was in me. So now that I’m figuring out who I want to be, what I want to be, and what type of woman I am, it almost feels like fashion chose me. I feel like I didn’t even choose to do that, honestly.
JS: You stepping into that realm of fashion, or even being open to knitting, and pursuing other endeavors, really shows that you understand the importance of pivoting – not just staying in one spot and being afraid to grow or growing comfortable where you are. How did you know exactly when it was the right time to begin that process of pivoting? And what advice would you give to other creators that are struggling with figuring out their right timing?
AJ: Well, I didn’t know there was a right time at all, because truthfully there is no right time. There’s no right time to do anything. If you don’t just take a chance and do it, you’re never going to be ready, period. So when I decided that I wanted to explore fashion more, I was just like ‘Let me just do this.’
It was really scary because I feel like I dress a little quirky sometimes – a lot of people do tell me that or they’re like ‘Oh, I don’t like that outfit.’ And it was really scary because like I said, you open yourself up for judgment when you step into a new door. But I felt that if I don’t do this right now, I’m not going to be where I want to be in another 10 years. In the last 10 years, I did it – I started Youtube and look where I am. That’s proof right there that I just have to start.
Some advice that I would tell people is to really not think about it, and not be in your head too much. As a person who’s always in my head, you have to literally take yourself out and just put yourself in the future. You can’t put yourself in your head right now. You have to literally just do it because if you don’t just do it, and stop thinking, you’re never going to do it. There’s never a right time. You have to make the time period.
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JS: I definitely agree. So you made your fashion debut with the release of your clothing brand, Twisted Saints. And you dropped your first official collection back in January, which featured three exclusive items: a sheer patterned mesh top, leather pants, and a cut-out bodycon dress. The brand represents your passion for both high fashion and streetwear. And it also allows for consumers to embrace their style with no boundaries. What can fans expect from your next collection?
AJ: You guys can expect, just like you said, a lot of streetwear. I really love streetwear, and I’m from New York City – so a lot of street wear, a lot of color. Really a lot of everything. I really want to do a lot. I don’t want to follow the current trends. You know how there’s a trend and every brand will have the same thing in a different style? I don’t want to do that. I want to do something totally different. So whenever people see a trend that’s happening, I want them to know that I’m going to be in a whole different lane.
JS: When you were younger you actually had the dream of being a teacher, and I think in a lot of ways you’ve been able to indirectly fulfill that dream. You have your makeup tutorials, of course, but you also have your fashion history videos. How has learning so much about fashion impacted your personal style, as well as your choices when it comes to pieces for Twisted Saints?
AJ: It definitely impacted my style. I feel like I have so much more passion now that I know the history behind some things. And honestly, I look at these history facts and I’m just amazed, sometimes I just get goosebumps – because for one, I’m into history. Before I was doing fashion history facts, I had followed like a whole bunch of history pages on Instagram and was just looking at stuff that happened in America, and all types of history stuff. And then one day it just clicked and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can combine fashion and history together.’
And so now it just makes me appreciate fashion so much more. It makes me appreciate my style. Even though some people may message me and say things like ‘Oh, you don’t even know how to dress’ and this and that. I know why I’m dressed the way I am, because I know the history behind certain things and I appreciate it. It just makes me appreciate it so much more. And honestly, it makes me find myself so much more – as crazy as it sounds – it makes me really get to know myself better and know what I like. Does that make sense?
JS: Yes, it really does. Because especially in today’s day and age, it seems like fashion is a passion for everybody, but do they really know the history behind it? Do they really know why they’re dressing the way that they do? Even with these trends that come back around? Like, do we know why this is a trend right now? Where did this come from?
AJ: Right. A lot of people don’t even know that a lot of the stuff that we wear is from the 1920s and everyone knows fashion comes back around, but they don’t even know the era that certain things are from and why that is. Like a lot of the stuff that we wear was made for women because they couldn’t work or because America didn’t have certain materials, and Paris didn’t have certain materials to make certain things. So they had to use a certain bamboo stick for a handbag and stuff like that.
And so now it’s trending, but nobody really knows stuff like that. So when I see stuff, I instantly know why it’s on the bag, why it was made, and why it’s in our present day. And it makes me feel like I have choices to make when it comes to my fashion.
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JS: A huge part of your journey this year is embracing life as a single woman. As you’ve revealed before, you’ve always been a relationship girl. And because of that you never really had the time to really discover, and learn, about yourself. I know it’s only been five months into the year, but what have you learned about yourself now having this time as a single woman?
AJ: Wow. That’s a deep one. I can definitely say that I really have put a lot of people before myself, and that can be taken in a good and bad way. But the way that I’m seeing it right now in my life, is in a good way. Because, to me, that symbolizes that I actually care. And in becoming single there’s a lot of feelings of hurt and you can begin seeing everyone in a negative light, and I definitely went through that phase where I was disgusted with everyone.
And so I had to really take the time to separate who is out here trying to find themself – someone who is connected to themselves – and the people who are more surface level and have a social media face, you know how it is today. Everything’s just accessible to everyone, everyone’s super first base. So I’m at a place where I am able to separate the two, and able to spot it instantly.
Sometimes when you’re in a relationship, your judgment really does get clouded – whether the relationship is good or bad, your judgment is clouded and your intuition is not as strong as it is when you’re by yourself. And that could be not even just with a relationship, that can be with a friendship. If you’re always around someone 24/7, that’s going to happen. So I took time for myself and I was able to really connect with my womanly intuition and I feel like I’m able to really separate who’s for me, who’s not – people’s motives and intentions and where their heart is. And I love that.
JS: I love that for you as well. So as we touched on at the beginning of the interview, you’ve been the internet’s “IT Girl” before it was even a thing. And I think the real display of that is not only your ability to sport and elevate trends, but you’ve always been one to forecast them before they even happen. You did it with the Bottega Veneta Teddy Shearling Coat, your Farah Fawcett hair, you predicted the return of the mullet. What do you think is going to be a returning trend, or an emerging trend, for this spring and summer?
AJ: So a returning trend is gonna be mini skirts. We wear mini skirts anyway, but do you remember those Christina Aguilera mini skirts that were literally the smallest skirt? A company actually has released one so far. And this is so crazy because I knew this was going to happen.
I’m trying to figure out a way to utilize me putting that information out there – I’m not too sure how yet but I did tweet it. So it’s going to be mini skirts – super, super, super mini skirts. The ones with the ruffles on it that flare at the bottom – those are going to be super popular. The Y2K trend has been popular for like the last two to three years, so it’s just the time for the mini skirts of that era right now – You really did your homework. Wow!
Jadriena Solomon: Of course, I’ve been watching your videos for years, so I’m genuinely a fan. I know you also have a jewelry line in the works, can you share a little exclusive with us?
AJ: Yes, I do have some jewelry coming out. I’m super excited about it because within my discovery of fashion, I realized that I am a maximalist fashion girl – someone who likes to over-accessorize. And so I realized the way to really express myself is through jewelry.
I started wearing all of these necklaces, rings, sunglasses, hair clips and all of this stuff. And I’m just like, you know what? I need to do something with this because everyone’s always asking me where I get them from and I get them from so many places that it’s hard to even name them. So I am coming out with a jewelry line this summer, and I’m so excited about it.
It’s going to be a mix between maximalist and minimalist. You’re going to be able to get a little bit of everything for however you want to style yourself. So if you want to be a maximalist – just know I got it. If you want to be a minimalist – I got the pieces too. And my brand is going to be for everyone – for the normal day girl. This is not going to be the Instagram stuff where you have to live up to a certain hype. This is for the normal, everyday girl who just wants to have fun and express herself through jewelry and fashion.
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Jadriena Solomon: I don’t want to forget about Twisted Saints. Do we have a date or season of when we can expect the next collection?
AJ: You can expect the next collection in early fall, probably before the summer even ends. We’re going to be dropping some really cool streetwear stuff, just in time for fashion week. So the girls will be outside and looking amazing.