How YouTube transformed Lauren Luke into an online video sensation

Lauren Luke shot to fame with her inspiringly primitive home-made video tutorials designed to teach others how to recreate celebrity inspired ‘looks’.

Luke’s story is unusual. A single mum at sixteen from South Shields near Newcastle, she had already dropped out of school to look after him. She worked briefly as a taxi dispatcher, but then started selling makeup on eBay. Viewers began to ask how she achieved the looks she created with the makeup she was selling. She responded to the requests by replacing her videos made to sell make-up, with videos showing how to apply it, cleverly capitalising on the Western world’s fascination and even obsession with celebrity and appearance. Since she uploaded her first video in 2007 to her YouTube channel – Panacea81 – she has had over 88 million views and over 400,000 subscribers. In the world of online video, she is a huge success.

Luke’s online video hits were so impressive, she was promptly snapped up by the Guardian for whom she regularly writes a beauty column and also posts videos (Luke’s Guardian column). She’s now got her own range of make-up and has published a book called Lauren Luke, Look Like a Star, which she launched on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Channel 4’s The Paul O’Grady Show. She’s been featured in several documentaries including the BBC’s Inside Out (Luke on Inside OutNatalie Cassidy’s Real Britain(Luke on Natalie Cassidy). There is even a Nintendo DS game about her.

It wasn’t just Luke’s tenacity that got her where she is today. Her ‘soft skills’ often noted as crucial in the professional world are impeccable – her chatty, friendly demeanour means she is likeable and this, combined with the service she provides have helped catapult her to the dizzying heights of the cosmetics world and online video.

Luke shows that just about anyone can make a name for themselves by harnessing their ingenuity and using technology to communicate her ideas to the world.  YouTube and other video sharing sites are the catalyst through which these communications are achieved. If you can get the big hits on your channel, you too can make big bucks along with Luke and other well-known characters made famous on YouTube such as the toddler Charlie who’s parents are pulling in thousands after they captured a perfectly simply yet hilarious conversation between their son and his toddler brother.

Check out Luke in action below…


Natasha Malcolm-Brown

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