15-Year-Old 'Living Doll' Rises to YouTube StardomJoslyn Gray
Venus Palermo, a 15-year-old London girl who uses the name “Venus Angelic” online, is laughing (in a high-pitched, girly giggle) her way to the bank.
Venus creates make-up tutorials on YouTube that detail exactly how to make yourself look like a doll. Using an insane amount of makeup, false eyelashes, and opaque contact lenses, Venus transforms herself from a cute, typical-looking girl, into … well, a doll.
Styled after Japanese anime characters, Venus also vlogs about clothes and general cuteness. She was featured recently on Right This Minute, in a segment produced by Betsy Gessel. In the segment, as in her vlogs, Venus’ voice comes off as a baby-fied and completely fake Japanese accent.
“Yes of course it’s my real voice,” Venus says in response to an interviewer’s question. “I think it’s because I speak five languages, and all the accents mix together.”
Venus currently lives in London, but says she lived in Japan for two years. According to her blog, she has also lived in Tenerife, a Spanish-controlled island off the coast of northwestern Africa. There is one YouTube video that includes Venus’ mother, who seems to have a German accent. Apparently she speaks four different languages in that video. I only got through the Spanish part, and then my head exploded from her voice, so I had to stop.
Not surprisingly, reaction to Venus Angelic has been mixed.
Jacqueline Burt on The Stir calls the look “beyond creepy” and suggests her tutorials are really “how to build a fan base of grown men with a disturbing fetish” videos.
Huffington Post took a more measured view. Right This Minute producer told HuffPo’s David Moye, “She has influenced a lot of people. [Dressing like a doll] is something a lot of people think about and she’s making it safe.”
A website called Anime Reality, which is obviously way ahead of the rest of us by picking up on this story back in October of 2011, called Venus “everything terrible rolled together.” Anime Reality said Venus is “fetishizing a culture, turning it from another unique group of people and culture into some kind of warped identity and fashion statement.” Considering that Anime Reality is an entire website dedicated to anime, written by ten dudes, I’m not sure where they got off making fun of this kid.
While Venus certainly is mimicking a Japanese style, she’s not the only Western girl to be doing so. Gwen Stefani helped popularize the look, when she paid an entourage of Japanese “Harajuku” girls to follow her around for a while, beginning in 2004. Now Gwen has her own kids to dress up, so I guess she doesn’t need the Harajuku girls anymore.
Here’s my take: at this point, Venus has racked up millions of views on YouTube, and her blog has tons of hits as well. So while I may find her voice to be the most grating thing I’ve ever encountered, other people must enjoy this stuff. Her blog has ads, her YouTube channel has ads, and her videos have ads.
Plenty of people have criticized Venus’ mother, Margaret, for letting her daughter put this nonsense up on YouTube. As much as I hope my daughters never end up this obsessed with make-up and frilly fashion, I think it’s kind of cool that her mom is allowing her to explore her interest in fashion this way. There are way worse things a 15-year-old could be doing with her time than writing a blog and filming vlogs while keeping up with her schoolwork.
Plus, her style, while definitely young-looking, is not at all risque. I see teenage girls all the time wearing things I find far more shocking.
The other thing is, if this–fashion, make-up, style–if this is her passion, what’s the harm? She has successfully promoted herself to the top of the YouTube food chain, and has garnered international attention. My bet is that if she wants, she’ll be able to land a job right out of high school with a fashion magazine as a stylist.
As with everything else on TV, the Internet, and YouTube specifically, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Personally, nothing drives me battier than listening to babytalk, but I congratulate this kid on turning her make-up artistry into a successful business for herself. As is the case with the 14-year-old Florida girl who saved up enough money to buy a house, there are always going to be haters.
Here’s Venus’ most popular video, demonstrating how to look like a doll. Let me know how many minutes you get through before her voice makes you want to throw your laptop out the window.
(via The Week)
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