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The YouTube star on going vogue with her latest book, 'Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It'

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February 01, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST

Grace Helbig admits she’s no style icon, but the YouTube fave and talk-show host has enough “advice” to fill a book: In Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It, the one-time pageant semifinalist (no, really, she competed in the 2005 Miss New Jersey contest) offers a tongue-in-cheek look at faking it till you make it. 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why write a style book at all if you say you don’t have “it”?

GRACE HELBIG: I had this revelation in my adult life that no one knows what they’re doing, and [success is] basically about who can pretend the best. And I started to think about that with style. If you look at the beauty and fashion industry, it is ridiculous. [Laughs.] It’s pretty hard to follow even if you do know what you’re doing, so I wanted to create this hodgepodge “variety book” to talk about beauty from a comical point of view.

So your point is, whether you get fashion doesn’t matter in the end, and if you don’t, it’s okay, you can still talk about it?

Yeah, that’s it! There are so many names for so many makeup products and so many pieces of clothing that cost prices you could never guess had you not known who made it… Every beauty book you read — and I read a lot of beauty books — tells you what you should wear, and what you should do. I thought it’d be more fun to talk about the wrong things to do.

What made you decide to take on this message and tone for the book?

I thought, “How do I make beauty funny?” Beauty’s really personal. I know that the way I saw myself in the world was skewed growing up, and [the beauty industry] really affected me, so I wanted to give that point of view to people reading this book. … I wanted to give some context to why I really love the beauty industry and how I’ve struggled with it, and the thing that has helped me really celebrate it has been comedy.

For example, you write in some chapters from your sweatpants’ point of view. Where did that idea come from?

My editor encouraged me to think outside the box. My favorite piece of clothing is sweatpants, and I feel like I’m a personified version: I just want to be comfortable. So I decided to anthropomorphize them and write from their point of view to the world of clothing; that kind of relates to my point of view in the world on fashion and beauty.

You posed for photo shoots in the book that look like fashion-magazine editorials. What that like?

It was a great time, messing around and using the [vocabulary] that a lot of editorial shoots have, but putting a funny spin on it. They’re so absurd, and the models’ bodies are so skewed. I can’t look at them without laughing now. It was literally like playing dress-up.

Considering this is a comedic take on style, how seriously should people take your advice?

I don’t know the best way to do things, but you know, you’ll sift through some decent advice in the book, some things I’ve actually learned in my life. This book came from a place of wanting to give friends advice, and they can pick and choose what might work for them. You’d feel like a bad friend if you were holding out on giving them information that had made you a better person. It’s like, here’s this treasure box, you take the treasures from it that you would like. Or [laughs] it’s basically like a clearance sale.

After writing this, do you feel more stylish?

Nope. If anything, it makes me want to write more about style. Plus, it gives me, like, a legitimacy about going to more style-related events. I can say that it’s “research” now. [Laughs.] That’s what this whole thing has been about!

Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It hits shelves Feb. 2.

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