It seems like anyone with a camera and an eyeshadow palette can be a "beauty influencer" these days, which makes it easy to group them all together and write off just how talented some of them actually are. At first glance, Will Doughty looks like your standard "beauty boy" — his brow game is strong, his highlight is poppin', and his smoky eye is nothing less than #goals — but his journey to becoming a successful makeup artist was not an overnight occurrence. He did not just "wake up like this."
Doughty's love for makeup started long before YouTube was even a thought. It all began with his grandma and some red lipstick. "I have one vivid memory as a little boy, running upstairs to visit my grandmother at her vanity. She put a bright red lipstick on me, and I seriously remember getting my life from it," he tells Bustle over email.
From there on out, he would become obsessed with watching makeover shows, like What Not To Wear on TLC. But what really spurred Doughty's passion for beauty was when he became involved with theatre and learned about drag culture.
"I first started really getting into makeup when I became curious about becoming a drag queen after I graduated from high school," Doughty shares. He decided to start a YouTube channel to document his journey in makeup and drag and then eventually, Doughty began doing theatrical makeup for his college productions.
"I think the moment I became professional was when I was accepted into Juilliard's Wig & Makeup Internship program. After that, my career really started to pick up," Doughty says.
He began to freelance as a makeup artist in New York City and Connecticut and focused on building his YouTube page. While he was juggling school, part-time jobs, and his social life, Doughty still made time to create content that was relevant to what was happening in pop culture. His most-viewed video to date is a Maleficent Makeup transformation that was posted a month before the Disney Live-Action movie came out 2014 (featuring Angelina Jolie), which helped drive 350,000 views to his video over a few months.
Shortly after, Doughty's social media beauty accounts started to grow rapidly, garnering followers from all over the world. Now, he has over 23,000 YouTube subscribers and 36,000 fanatical followers on Instagram.
While he certainly makes what he does look easy — there's little doubt he couldn't achieve a fierce arched brow with his eyes closed — Doughty works hard and puts a lot of thought into his strategy. He has to, he tells Bustle. The industry is already oversaturated, even for "beauty boys" like himself.
"It's so amazing to see 'beauty boys' being promoted by mass-market brands like Benefit, Tarte, and Anastasia Beverly Hills. However I would definitely say it's becoming increasingly competitive for boys who wear makeup to gain attention," Doughty notes.
But this isn't necessarily a bad thing in his eyes.
"I absolutely love that the beauty industry has been so open-minded and receptive towards male makeup artists who also wear makeup... I think that the presence of men in the makeup industry will continue to grow and we'll see more advertisements and beauty campaigns that feature men in makeup alongside women."
It's clear that Doughty has nothing but love for his fellow male MUAs. In fact, he even has advice for those who aspire to become like him one day.
"There isn't much for us to look back on for inspiration and it's also really easy to look at the super successful 'beauty boys' and want to emulate them. But I can't stress it enough: Just stay true to yourself, your personal aesthetic, and allow your personality to shine through."