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Published Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pierced and Professional: Elsa Rhae

She’s that young lady who does the makeup videos on YouTube. You know the one. Okay, so lots of people do makeup videos on YouTube. It’s like a genre. How to get that Megan Fox look. How to glisten like a moist Jennifer Lawrence. But Elsa Rhae went in a different direction.



An awesome direction.

I had the opportunity to ask her some questions and she was super-fast and super nice getting back to me with answers. I present them to you here in the first part of a series I call “Pierced and Professional”, which is basically about people with piercings who do cool things. Alliteration makes it easy to remember though. If you get confused, I’m the one in bold for the rest of the article.


Let’s start with the details. Piercing history, where, when and why?

Piercing history is pretty tame. I stretched my ears 6 years ago for shits and giggles (my parents did shit and were not giggling) and it was mostly just because I thought it was rad. It took about 6 months to get from nothing to a 2g and I’ve left them like that since. I’ve never had a desire to take them out and don’t really know if I ever will. I’d love to be an old lady with holes in my ears. I had a friend’s cousin pierce my cartilage in her bedroom in high school (that was smart), I’ve got a nose and naval piercing. Oh, also double lobe piercings I rarely wear anymore.

A depiction of angry mother
You can make your parents shit and not giggle with 2 gauge plugs from Bodyartforms!

Who are you and where do you come from? Where are you now?

I am Elsa Rhae. I am 23 and I come from Kansas City. There aren’t really any outlets for makeup education in the Midwest and I don’t have the funds to fly to the coasts, so I’m actually pretty proud of myself for what I do know and how far I have come. 6 months ago I had 250 subscribers on YouTube. I now have 30k and it’s hard to tell how many I will have 6 months from now!



This is mesmerizing.

What is it that you do, in total?

I am a freelance video editor/producer by trade. I film and edit videos for various companies, but my biggest client is a cosmetic company in Chicago, Cate Mcnabb Cosmetics. I enjoy shooting video, but what I really prefer is editing. I am also a self-taught makeup artist and face painter and have been able to combine video and makeup/face paint on my personal YouTube channel.

How did you get into YouTube?

I began YouTube a year or so after YouTube began under the channel name, elsarhae12. I had always made little videos for grade school presentations, fun (embarrassing) skits with friends, etc., and one day I was approached by my mother who had heard an article on NPR about a new video sharing site called YouTube.

YouTube was a completely different world back then. No one cared about view counts, likes and shares, or at least I didn’t. It was all fun and I made friends from all over the world, some of which I Skype on an almost daily basis! I see YouTube now as more of a business. Not work, but business, as I’ve got to maintain a weekly video output and keep the content fresh and interesting. Still fun, but very different. (My old channel is still active with all my embarrassing old videos as well as current videos of me playing my ukulele and talking about my 3 foot lizard.)

It seems like your YouTube channel is blowing up. Where do you see yourself going with this?

I have no plans for my YouTube channel. I have goals to make my channel grow, but I truly just feel like being me and having fun with this is the best way to go. If people find me interesting, cool! If not, that’s way cool too!



If you don’t find this interesting, you are wrong.

Are your more extreme transformations for YouTube only? Do you go out as Venom sometimes? Only special occasions?

I wouldn’t have a problem going out in my face paints, but I don’t really have anywhere to go. Also it’s cold out and a lot of my looks require me to not wear clothes (because they’re painted on. Or would be)

About the process, you do a lot of videos in stop motion…

Stop motion videos are my FAVORITE videos to make. 1. Because they take so much work and I like doing tedious things, 2. Because you don’t often see stop motion face paint videos. Tutorials are fine, and a large amount of people on YouTube enjoy tutorials— but truly, I find the art in the presentation of the work (i.e. stop motion). Stop motion is pretty sick in my opinion.


Pretty sick, indeed.

Who are some of your influences?

I’ve always been very influenced by my dad to think VERY far outside the box in any situation. I started face painting because I needed an elective to graduate with my film degree. I was bored in the class so I took the class face paint kit and started making my own looks. My friends and family were super supportive of my works so I continued doing it. I take a lot of inspiration from YouTubers including Kandee Johnson (my queen), Goldie Starling, Klaire De Lys and Pink Stylist, among others. I like seeing and creating things that people could never even imagine were possible.

Makeup is a passion of yours, what makes it so?

I love the versatility of makeup and face paint. Many people are so eager to follow the status quo with makeup, but truly the options are limitless as long as you’re not afraid to go far beyond your own comfort zone.

As a side note, when I was asking Elsa Rhae to do the interview, she said this:

“This sounds cool. I’m in! However, I wish that you hadn’t contacted me… I’m currently making a shopping cart of sweet plugs that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought I needed. :)”


It’s like she knew I’d need a segue into sweet, sweet product placement. When you’re done watching those YouTube videos, go fill your cart with things you didn’t know you needed. Like sweet, sweet plugs at