Emma Jonnz is a popular Beauty Influencer whose Instagram and TikTok accounts are of the most popular and loved ones on the internet. Born as Giovanni Paterno, she’s of Italian and Canadian origins and she recently came out as a transgender woman in February 2021. We asked Jonnz a few questions about her work and life, read the full interview below:
You started your Instagram journey in 2019 and in a year, you made a great place for yourself in people’s hearts. For some, it takes years. How does it feel?
Honestly, I don’t know yet. When I started my channel, I knew it was gonna be a slow process of growing and that it would have been tough to grow an audience, especially on YouTube, since as you may know it’s one of the hardest platforms to grow an audience. I guess, I started my channel with no expectations and also because I loved what I was doing and never thought of it as a way of making money but more importantly space where I could be myself and show my art.
Did you expect such kind of immediate growth and popularity and appreciation for your content so soon?
Actually, I still don’t feel I am that big, I am still growing as a person and as an artist, I think no matter how many followers you have you should always be positive and keep creating. But yes it does feel good to know there are people out there who enjoy seeing what I do and who believe I can make it.
After seeing a video, I noticed your makeup tutorials are very easy to follow. Was that a conscious effort to keep it that way or you are someone who doesn’t believe in the flamboyance?
I definitely put a lot of effort when making my videos and sometimes I’ll try to do some kind of makeup look that I
never tried before and it comes out completely horrible and sometimes I surprise myself with how good it turns out, it’s really all about routine. I am now used to making my videos and the more content you make the better it gets, but I’d say it also depends on the person and of course, you must have that “star quality” in you that people can see through, so yea I don’t really believe in flamboyance.
You have also become a public figure who is trying to change the dialogue about gender identity and the LGBTQ+ community. Do you think things are now changing?
They are changing, but slowly. I always try to use my platforms for acceptance, respect, and to talk about the problems we have in this world. I personally feel that speaking up to the problems that the LGBTQ community faces, is not only my right but my priority. I want people who are struggling with their sexuality to not feel like if they’re out of place. I want them to feel accepted. I get a lot of teenagers on my Instagram DMs who ask me: ‘How do you come out?’ and I talk to them and help them in any way I can, and I love doing that. It’s beautiful.
You’re a one-man army. You strategize your videos and edit them yourselves. Does it get tiring at times?
Oh god, yeah! So tiring. It’s funny when I think about it because when I was about 8 years old, my dad bought me my first computer and that’s when I started editing videos using a movie maker lol! I remember making a trailer for “The Devil Wears Prada” and I must have taken thousands of screenshots of the movie and put them all together to create an actual video just because I didn’t have the software to do that, I remember saying I love this, I love editing and I think it really saved my bacon when I started doing YouTube because if I didn’t have those editing skills I would be paying someone else to do it now. So yea, I love it but it can get tiring after filming for 2 hours or more.
What kind of challenges do you face now after being popular because people do talk about initial challenges but not after you become a big name?
Well, I do get a lot of hate on social media at times since I have a bigger audience than most people your content gets
pushed further into the explore page and it eventually comes across people who think I am weird and strange and some don’t understand why I look like a girl but I am a boy, and so they hate. But I think that once you start getting hate is when you know you’re doing something good. I don’t consider myself that “big” yet but it’s exciting to see yourself grow bigger every day.
The beauty and makeup industry also function on trends. There are new makeup trends and one expects their favorite make-up channel or influencer to talk about it. How do you manage to stay updated all the time?
I honestly sometimes even skip on trends because I can’t keep up. I also don’t consider myself a makeup artist so I don’t really care about following all the trends, I rather focus on making quality videos than putting things out there that might not look good just for the sake of following a trend. Honesty is what people who watch make-up tutorials expect from a YouTuber. A lot of people claim to do honest reviews of make-up products, but get paid to promote sometimes.
Would you like to react to such scams?
I am going to be honest with you, yes there have been times where I was asked to review products that I didn’t believe were good or worth buying but I always declined to talk up their products. I believe people deserve honesty and quality. You’ll see I don’t have many reviews on my channel and that’s because sometimes when I try a product and I don’t like it, I don’t feel good talking negatively about it on camera but if something is really bad then people should know and I am more than happy to talk about my experience.
What is the best thing about make-up which you discovered after you started making videos?
I love makeup because it allows you to be whoever you wanna be. For me, I feel more beautiful and more feminine and I love it.
Influencers are quite hesitant to talk about the money they earn via their videos. But a lot of people who wish to become influencers of any kind, are keen to know if there’s any gain if they choose this path. What would you advise anyone who wants to become an influencer?
I’d advise them to do it for their passion to inspire others and their love for their work. If you start doing this for money, it’ll just be more stressful and it’s not worth it in the end. The money will find its way to you eventually.