Being Reuben star wants to give the beauty industry a makeover: 'Makeup doesn't have an agenda'
As a teenage boy, Reuben de Maid knows he doesn't look like your average makeup influencer. And that's exactly why he wants to share his story with the world.
The CW's newly acquired U.K. docuseries Being Reuben follows de Maid and his family as the young teen attempts to break into the makeup industry and stay grounded after his show-stopping performance on Little Big Shots went viral. He's unapologetically himself, loves every aspect of wearing makeup, and most importantly, is ready to give the beauty industry a much-needed makeover by breaking gender stereotypes. "I hope I give young boys and other young people the hope that they can do makeup if they love it," de Maid tells EW. "I just want to send the message across a bigger platform to fight the prejudice against boys in makeup and to equalize the fact that men and women are the same and makeup doesn’t have an agenda."
Below, the aspiring teen beauty icon talks about his love of makeup, becoming an unproblematic male role model for the beauty industry, how he deals with online trolls, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you first get into makeup?
REUBEN DE MAID: I remember literally just watching DIY videos on YouTube in primary school. I fell in love with DIY foundation videos. It was awful. It did not work at all, it was like this bronzer and moisturizer or something. [Laughs] But in the recommended section there were loads of makeup videos and I remember seeing all these fabulous people like Patrick Starrr, and I would watch them 24/7, going step by step of how to learn each method. That’s why I started my YouTube channel when I did. I was just obsessed with trying to show people new tricks even though I was awful at the time when I first started. I thought I was so good but I clearly wasn’t.
At what point did you start to realize how unique it was for a boy to be into makeup?
I never realized when I first started doing makeup that it wasn't the norm for boys to do makeup. It wasn't until I started to grow up in society that I learned that. Breaking the gender stereotypes of the beauty industry is so important just because, like, where on the package of the makeup does it say that boys can't wear it? It doesn't. You'll see in the first episode my Here for the Boys campaign, and it's just a group of boys trying to break those stereotypes and showing that boys can pull off makeup just as well. That's my main goal — if I can get anything out of this — to break those judgments and prejudices against boys in makeup.
There have been scandals in recent years with other male beauty influencers like James Charles or Jeffree Star. Do you see yourself as a positive male role model in the beauty industry to counteract that?
There is a lot of drama involving it, but if you really look you'll find the people who are really in it for the artistic side, who are just trying to inspire people to be themselves. I never saw it as a job or a commercial kind of thing, but now it's become super commercialized and that means people lose their passion for it. I’m just really happy I get to still play with it and have fun because I think that’s the best part of makeup. It can be such a beautiful community. It's a shame that people don't realize that the beauty industry is actually a gorgeous place if you get past all the drama. Honestly, if people could just focus on the makeup and not the other aspects of it then it would be a lot nicer.
How do you deal with the hate or bullying you receive from being a male in the makeup world?
I've definitely had my fair share of online trolls and bullying. It comes with it. I always knew, and my mom told me, "If you're going to wear makeup that's fine, but people aren't as open as me and people will be against it." I've grown a thick skin through having that kind of hate and online trolling. But not everyone has that thick skin so it is really tough. A lot of people message me, these chic young boys who are the age when I started and are starting [to get] into it and want to do it but are scared of acceptance. I'm lucky enough to have amazing, supportive parents, but unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone. I couldn't even imagine not being able to be yourself.
What advice do you have for others experiencing that same kind of hate or bullying?
It sounds so cliche, but it's true: If you talk to someone and explain how you feel, it's so important for mental health. I really never did that and that's why it was quite hard on me at the start, but when I did open up and talk to people, it was a lot easier for me to cope with it. Keeping it inside is the worst thing to do.
Being Reuben airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.