AWARD: Most Inspiring Role Model
On and off camera, Gracie feels like that straight-shooting best friend you’d go to when you need some sage advice. Little wonder she’s become an unofficial agony aunt to her followers. ‘I get a lot of emails from girls struggling with the way they look. I talk about my personal problems a lot, so I guess they feel they can reach out to me,’ she says. Such an honest, warm and relentlessly unairbrushed approach to vlogging has made her YouTube gold dust, whether she’s talking about the contents of her wardrobe or big Generation Z issues such as self-harm. ‘I treat my followers like my friends,’ she says. ‘If they come up to me on Oxford Street, I give them a big hug and ask how they are.’
Portrait by Rankin
ALL ABOUT GRACIE FRANCESCA
INSPIRATIONAL: Gracie Francesca in a word? Inspiring. This YouTuber loves a fashion and beauty haul (her first ever video was MAC, don't you know), but it’s her advice videos about more serious issues that landed The Ugly Face Of Beauty a place on our list of truly inspirational YouTubers. Having dealt with weight loss, mental illness and issues with body confidence, Gracie uses her experiences to help her 198k subscribers get through tough times. Gracie's big sister role is something that so many of her subscribers look up to, and we love her for it.
REACHING OUT: Gracie has said she thinks her popularity is down to the fact that not many YouTubers looked like her; mixed-race, curly haired and a slightly bigger size, Gracie appealed to a whole new group of YouTube fans with her funny, honest and fashionable videos. We love her vlogs and tags almost as much as her make-up and fashion hauls.
STARTING OUT: Gracie started her YouTube channel on the advice of friend Samantha Maria, aka Beauty Crush. Bored in her office job, Gracie started her channel in 2011 and never looked back, even though her family are still getting to grips with what it means to be a YouTuber. She’s loved fashion all her life, and when she was younger, Gracie used to buy around 10 pairs of trainers a month. She actually used YouTube to understand make-up and beauty, and has since worked tutorials into her videos, but it’s fashion that’s the real passion.
UGLY FACE: As for the name? “When I was younger I was bullied for being overweight and ugly, and I felt that when I grew up I grew into myself” says Gracie. “The second reason is because I try to dig out the ugly side of beauty, so mental health, body image issues, things that people aren’t always comfortable talking about”.