My favourite YouTuber of the moment is the delightful Anwen Williams who has kindly agreed to do an interview with dianepenelope.com. I am so grateful, because I haven’t interviewed a YouTuber before. I wanted to choose a rising star, see her Social Blade statistics below, showing fantastic growth (when of this article was published, Anwen was nearly at 17K subscribers).
I believe that Anwen Williams, with her authentic and modest approach, is just so relatable and hilarious, and says what we are all thinking (well sometimes, other times I think “where the hell did that come from?). She doesn’t say she’s a beauty guru; rather she is a mum, in her bedroom, who shares her passion for makeup, has the occasional rant, goes off on weird tangents about body parts and sex toys and is extremely entertaining.
Anwen’s videos are so funy, she invents songs about the obscure sounding Chinese brand names (my personal favourite is the Focallure theme song – something tells me I won’t be seeing that on iTunes anytime soon), she doesn’t have a ringlight, soft boxes or a fancy camera or use filters, she films under the window beside her bed, with a freestyle, genuine warmth and sense of humour that is infectious (I do love her “shake before use dance”). She makes me smile every morning as I sit in bed in the morning having my coffee, procrastinating about getting up.
Q: Hi Anwen, I just watched some of your earlier posts and you are much more softly spoken and lot more serious. How did you gain more confidence and show the real Anwen? What prompted you to start filming videos?
A: I started filming years ago!! I would make short and very random videos, either ranting about various things or just talking about my thoughts on things. It was all very cringy looking back but it was something I really enjoyed at the time. I’ve always been a bit of a loner so would always look for creative things to do by myself. I have undoubtedly gained confidence from the constant encouragement and support of my subscribers, they really do make me feel like I’m finally good at something and that motivates me to carry on.
Q: The more popular and visible you are, the more open you are to criticism. Have you recieved any negativity or criticism in your comments? If so how do you deal with it? Does it get under your skin at all?
A: I am very lucky (so far!) in that the vast majority of the comments I get are overwhelmingly positive. I do get the odd off the wall comment which is mostly about my voice and how I sound, which does cut quite close to the bone because I did have to have extensive speech therapy when I was younger as I couldn’t pronounce certain words.
I have been told I sound like Marge Simpson though which I just find hilarious. I am absolutely certain that if I were younger, the negative comments would get to me but I’m at a point in my life where I can see a comment for what it is and not have it haunt me.
I am pretty good at being able to laugh at negative comments because let’s face it, my voice probably is pretty annoying (I’m sure Hunies would agree!) I’m far from perfect and you know what, I wouldn’t want perfect. I actually really enjoy thinking up witty and slightly sassy replies to negative comments. If you can turn a negative into a positive it kind of dissolves the negative.
Q: Do you work full-time as well? May I ask about your day job?
A: I work 4 days a week in a very demanding facilities management role. I really enjoy it and feel very lucky to work for such a good company. It’s definitely not what I planned on doing, I just tripped and fell into it but it challenges me and every day is a learning curve. I like to find solutions to problems, not that I always can, but I like the challenge.
Q: You buy a lot of cosmetics for a non-makeup artist, what do you do with it all? I became a makeup artist and blogger to legitimise my makeup hoarding.
A: Haha awesome!! Well, I give away a lot of make up that I know I won’t use to friends and my step daughter Jade who is 16, has just started a make up course (see I don’t need to become the MUA because she is – that’s my excuse!!)
Q: Your number of subscribers is now increasing rapidly, what are the types of posts that you find you get more comments/views?
A: I find that my Aliexpress hauls get a lot of comments but without sounding pretentious I find a lot of my videos get comments because I make the time to respond to them all. It’s an absolute priority to me that I respond to people who have taken time out of their lives to leave me a comment. It may take a few days but I will respond and I feel like that really builds my relationships with my subscribers. I love reading through my comments section and sometimes just feel very overwhelmed (in a great way!) with all the positivity.
Q: What does Hunies, your partner think of your YouTube success?
A: I asked him this and he said ‘Good’ [note from Di – don’t you love how men are so monosyllabic? Whenever I ask Mike what’s he’s thing about, and he says “nothing” he literally means it] – lol. He is very supportive and encouraging, he allows me time to film and is very good at keeping the boys from killing each other downstairs so I can film in peace.
Q: Your ever-changing hair colour is gorgeous. Is your long hair natural or do you wear extensions?
A: It’s all mine but has probably 12972 different colours in it at this point. Every time I reach for the hair dye I can literally hear my hair groaning ‘no more…please no more dye…’ I just get so bored with it and you only live once so I’m going to just change it up…every week J
Q: You are so dedicated to your channel and posting regularly and it seems like you love creating YouTube content, is that the case or do you have days where it’s a chore?
A: I LOVE IT ! Its never a chore, as much as I love my day job I would give it up in a heartbeat if I could afford to ‘do youtube full-time’. That is such a distant dream at this point so I just fit it in around everything else. I film on Saturday and Sunday mornings (probably for around an hour each day) and then edit every night for a couple of hours before bed. Sometimes I think ‘Anwen, why not have a night where you just go to bed’ but I just can’t. I just enjoy editing so much and as I said earlier, the positive feedback I get from my subscribers just motivates me so much. I live by the motto ‘I can sleep when I’m dead’. Also I’ll book annual leave from work and literally film all day until I have to get Andreas from school, there’s nothing else I would want to do.
Q: How old are your children and what do they think of mummy filming in the bedroom surrounded by a mountain of makeup?
A: Alex is 2 and Andreas is 4 – I think they wish they could get involved more. I feel like when I film, it’s a really good time for them to get some Daddy time as Hunies is often in from work late in the week so its nice for him to have some quality time with just him and the boys whilst I disappear off to my Girl Cave to film.
Q: I love that you reviewed a recent drama channel’s bogus makeup “range” without getting into the drama yourself. I won’t mention his name because I don’t want to give him any oxygen, but the way you handled the review was excellent. Was it a difficult choice to review the products, given how dramatic the events surrounding him are?
A: I was very intrigued to see what his make up would be like but I was very hesitant because I didn’t want to attract any drama over to my usually peaceful comment section. I really tried hard not to say too much about the personality, character and actions of the person behind the brand but ultimately I probably did as it’s impossible not to!! The last thing I would ever want to do would be to provoke drama as it’s just not my thing at all, as I said in the review, I love watching drama but I would run over hot coals to not be involved in it!
Q: Do you think that YouTubers need to be more transparent, with regards to paid posts, affiliate links and freebies for comment?
A: Yes, if you’re always giving your honest and unbiased reviews then you shouldn’t have a problem with saying whether you were sent a product or bought it yourself.
Q: Do you think if you were on all the PR lists and were given all your products that you would be more favourable in your reviews? I only ask because I am put in this position and sometimes I hate the product, but because I have a relationship with the PR agency and I don’t want to jeopardise it. What would your approach be?
A: See I’m coming from a place of not having much spare money to spend on make up, as I know a lot of my subscribers are too – I literally would not have it in me to say a product was good when I thought it wasn’t. I think you’re either a person that can deceive others or you’re not, and I’m definitely not. [totally agree – if a product is crappy I just don’t review it and let the person know my issues with it].
Q: Would you do YouTube videos full-time if you were able to gain your income solely through your Youtube channel?
A: YES but this is just such a distant dream right now.
Q: One of the loveliest things about watching you Anwen is that you are very authentic. You have also become braver and more outgoing with every post. Are we seeing the real Anwen in your more recent videos?
A: I think my confidence in myself is just growing. As I mentioned earlier I feel incredibly empowered by the support and encouragement from my subscribers. I think I feel more comfortable to be myself. I think when you first start to make videos especially if you are someone who has spent years watching YouTube you feel like there is a certain way you should present yourself. I feel like as I have relaxed and just chilled out a bit my channel has really started to grow so again, that’s given me the confidence to just be myself!!
Q: I love that you have a song and dance for various things, such as Focallure Makeup and your “shake product before use”. Where does it come from? Do you have an equally eccentric family?
A: Oh GIRL !! I have always been a little quirky : ) My family are pretty normal but I just always had a fun-loving side. I just like to make people laugh.
Q: What’s the craziest beauty product you’ve encountered?
A: Okay so this has to be the penis shaped lipstick from the LIP HOP brand – it was surprisingly good!! WHO KNEW ! [gotta agree with this, I saw that lipstick but couldn’t bring myself to buy it and give to my mum for Christmas].
Q: Who are your favourite YouTubers? And why?
A: I love DREW MONSON, he is just so on my quirky sense of humour level, I think he is the funniest person on YouTube.
Possibly and maybe surprisingly I don’t watch a lot of beauty videos, I used to but now that a lot of my life is focused around make up I prefer to have a break from it in my spare time I love falling down into the rabbit hole of YouTube and watching documentaries on Area 51, Aliens, Conspiracies, Tedtalks about anything as I always learn something. My favourite beauty channels are Caito Potato, Kasey Rayton (people who have character and inject humour into their videos)… love watching people who are authentic and who I feel I can trust. Also people who I can relate to. I find I can’t relate to many of the bigger beauty channels so am always looking out for the smaller less established channels.
Q: If you were only allowed to own 3 makeup products, what would they be and why?
A: ABH Brow Pomade in Taupe (cos I love doing my eyebrows!), Urban Decay ‘Optical Illusion’ Primer (it makes my skin look really smooth so I wouldn’t mind not having foundation) & Essence Lash Princess Mascara in the mint green tube (best mascara ever).
Q: What would you tell someone considering creating a YouTube channel and what are some of the mistakes you’ve learned from?
A: To not worry about what anyone will think and to only do it if you love making videos.
Q: Which do you prefer to be, a mermaid or a unicorn and why?
A: you know what I wouldn’t want to be either. I love looking at them but FECK THAT !! : )
I’d like to thank to incredibly busy Anwen Williams, for taking the time from her crazy busy life to share her experiences and thoughts with me. I know from her You Tube channel, that she became an auntie in the past week (congratulations) and that she is a working mum, who somehow finds the time to make and edit wonderful YouTube videos that make thousands of viewers smile everyday.