Interview with Masha Create: how does one become a nail blogger?
Her YouTube channel has over 600K subscribers. During five years of her nail blogging she has released hundreds of useful videos that help to create stylish manicure and reviewed numerous products by popular brands. Masha considers her blog a hobby that turned into work (although she does not admit it openly), and yet she does not get tired of inventing new features and coming up with interesting ideas for videos.
She is Masha Create, one of the first masters of manicure gone blogger. The profession obliges: Masha is always active, ready for experiments and intriguing ideas, such as an excursion to the STALEKS manufacturing facility, the largest beauty instrument factory in Ukraine. Masha came to Kharkiv to talk to the factory workers, to learn and, of course, to share with her audience information about how professional products for manicure masters are made.
On the way, we talked with Masha Create about various issues: life before the blog, the main difficulties of the profession, haters and fans, life hacks at work. Can any nail artist become a blogger? Who is working on the Masha Create channel? STALEKS asked about everything.
My passion for blogging didn’t start out as something serious. I didn’t have attracting a lot of followers in mind, and yet I became popular at once.
At the very beginning (5-6 years ago) I was just fond of manicure, and one day I realized that the Russian YouTube segment is lacking nail blogs, the people who can demonstrate their work in an interesting and understandable way. Yes, there are many masters, it’s always been a very competitive environment, but not everyone can work in front of the camera and create quality training content. One must have a predisposition, or rather a desire to communicate with a lot of people on a daily basis, and an inner core to withstand the pressure and criticism. Oh, there is plenty of criticism, but positive reviews prevail, and it’s been the best motivation so far!
I had my blog vision but no skills, no equipment, no resources for an expensive camera and professional light back then. Five years ago, I just decided to start and I made the first video to see what it was like!
Anton’s (Masha’s husband – ed. note) help was enormous. You know what’s it like – you are waiting for some sign from above, then for an opportunity to buy the right equipment, and that was not our story. We used a stool instead of tripod, a desk lamp with fixed light temperature instead of softbox, and a light bulb for portrait shots. All we had was a decent Canon DSLR. Truth be told, without proper light and only with amateur knowledge that fancy camera was as good as a smartphone for shooting purposes.
In the beginning, everything was taking painfully long, and it was difficult as hell. We started with tutorials (training videos), so this format is preserved nowadays. Shooting was taking ages, sometimes 6 hours without breaks, and all this time Anton held the camera in his hands as I was sitting in front of the stool showing my skills. I’m trying to forget this time (laughs). Whatever you say, and no matter how confident, strong, and independent you are – support is very important, and not everyone can lend a shoulder. Especially for 6 hours straight!
Originally, I did the videos which I missed on YouTube. I was a rookie greedy for information, collecting nuggets of skill and accumulating them. You could find very few useful videos back then.
I drew inspiration from many foreign bloggers as a teenager when instead of reading fashion magazines I was translating blog posts wondering why we didn’t have that. Then I came up with an idea: there are no useful videos – so I’ll create them. From such “despair” I decided to start a YouTube vlog.
And it is one thing to be inspired, and another to imitate. I didn’t want to copy someone’s work, why? After all, such info is already there, and I can give my audience something else, something unique. I was filming the way I see this process, how I feel it. I wanted to show my approach to manicure, to motivate beginners.
By the way, I never developed a signature style. The only thing remotely similar to signature is “Hey, girls, this is Masha”, a random phrase that I used as a greeting in the first clip and then in the following videos. Everything is acquired with experience, including style.
Like five years ago, Anton is still helping me with blogging. We are comfortable together, we already understand each other perfectly and know all the subtleties of the project. It is unlikely that he will be happy with such a revelation, but when it comes to manicure he has more training than some masters who have completed the initial course – just lacking practice, that is.
The ideas for the videos (although Anton seeks to help, as, by the way, all the people around me – is unnecessary, but I still appreciate it), the style, all the subtleties and nuances of different techniques, creative components, communication with followers – it’s all on me. I’m the soul of the channel, and Anton is always behind the scenes: he helps with technical things, edits videos, organizes shooting, selects the equipment. He even sets my mind right: “Yes, you have the perfect nose, do not listen to haters!”, “It’s them who have crooked fingers, and your pinky is the best” or “Wow! That design is gorgeous! It will become a trend!”
I’ve noticed this tendency: after manicurists went online, everyone has become crazy about claiming authorship of the idea. “I am the first one, I thought of it before others!” – I don’t get this approach. Why spend time figuring out who is copying who? If you’re obsessed with every tiny thing you’ve done, if you crave medals for every little creative success, then there’s no evolution in your life, you’ll be always looking back, bound by the past.
We, the nail artists (as well as any other master of applied craft), inspire each other, looking at at the trends, compare the skills we have. People are inspired and motivated only by people and creativity of others, be it an artist, a designer, a musician, or a manicurist – just like you. Today you copy someone and tomorrow someone copies your style. My videos have a lot of clones, my subscribers send them to me, but I focus on becoming better than yesterday, and I advise you to do the same.
In addition to YouTube channel I also actively use Instagram. I have two accounts – personal and working. I use Instagram not for promotion but rather for communication. It is difficult to cover several social media, although it is important for a blogger to be able to work with multiple platforms to reach a large audience. The sphere of the beauty industry fits various social networks well, and in my case, a significant part of people came to Instagram from YouTube.
It is not always possible to fully maintain both accounts in Instagram – sometimes I forget to tag my posts or keep an eye on the comments. I simply haven’t got time for that. I have a more responsible approach to YouTube videos, spending significant time to pick up suitable titles and descriptions for the videos, respond to comments.
Long ago I realized that there are people who like you (and they will support you), and there are those who do not like you. And it does not matter why you are not liked as a person or a blogger. People who are not afraid to express themselves, to put their sense of beauty or their thoughts on public display will always be held to high standards. It’s a side effect of being a blogger, and you have to come prepared. If you become a blogger, the phrase “when you blog, better be ready for criticism” will appear in a new light, and you once again think if it is worth posting your unsolicited opinion online. I rarely write any comments, including the negative ones.
You can be criticized on any occasion. You make a grammatical error (one for 10 videos), the camera angle is wrong and your nose looks crooked, you said something – there will be no shortage of complaints. You cannot please everyone. You gotta do what you gotta do, and the like-minded people will support you.
Most of my followers are gentle and considerate people. I feel that they treat me with respect, to the point that they apologize for the inconvenience when sending me messages. I remember this time when I went to a mall and decided to have a snack. The people at the next table recognized me. I heard the whisper: “Wow, it’s Masha! Yeah, right! – Go talk to her! – No, I don’t wanna interrupt.” And this is happening all the time. Occasionally a finger can be pointed at me, but people do not disturb my peace. They appreciate my time and personal space, although, in fact, I’m always happy to chat with my subscribers. Even when it’s simple “Hi, I’m watching your videos! Thank you, I just came to say hello” – it makes my day, cross my heart!
I treat my audience with the same respect: I carefully approach the process of creating a video, meticulously prepare the information, politely reply to the comments, strictly select the ad content. I do not advertise products that I do not like. If I give advice about something, it’s the product I trust. If I speak – that’s my opinion, and it isn’t for sale. People appreciate that I reckon.
A blogger is a 1-person orchestra. It is a set of functions, skills, even habits. You need to understand how to communicate with the audience, how to shoot videos, how to behave in the frame, and to substantiate your every word. How can you tell whether a person can become a blogger? If all these tasks easily fit in your mind and there is still room left, then welcome aboard! I advise everyone to give it a try, record a few videos, learn to perceive themselves on the screen. You never know if you’re gonna make it or not until you get into it. At least you will have a new experience.
I am very serious about blogging, and it takes a lot of time. Yes, in fact, this job is a hobby, and I’m not even trying to distinguish between these concepts. The blog is so organically woven into my life that I do it at any time. If there’s no shooting, I write notes for videos or posts, if I’m not writing, then I respond to comments, and so on. It’s constant work. Anton even scolds me: “Put the phone down, take a break!”
Before I started the blog I had my own web design studio, and I was doing manicure in my free time. I think that manicurist is a creative profession that has huge potential for experiments and growth. YouTube and authoring unique content can only contribute to this.