Metro Detroit-based Youtuber and beauty guru Emily Jean Fonville (aka Emily Jean Beauty) gives SEEN the inside scoop on her current beauty obsessions, favorite local spots and her life as an influencer
By Nicole Glynn
Photos courtesy of Emily Jean Fonville
Interview has been edited for tone and clarity
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background. My name is Emily Fonville, but many know me by Emily Jean or EJB (@emilyjeanbeauty). I am a 21-year-old living at home in metro Detroit and I work for myself by sharing my life on the internet. I have many titles… YouTuber, influencer, vlogger and beauty guru.
2. How did you get started in the beauty vlogging industry? In 2016, when I was in high school, I started as a makeup artist. I then started my blog emilyjeanbeauty.com, and from there came my YouTube channel, Emily Jean. My camera became my best friend. I quickly started to realize how much I can share about my artistry and all of the other girly things I love.
Within the first two years, my channel reached over 100,000 subscribers, and now, 4 years later, I have over 210,000. I now stay connected with my “Jeanies” weekly on YouTube and with daily updates on Instagram. On top of daily posting and connecting with my followers, I also run EJB Merch.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job? In the beginning, it was all about the makeup but now it’s all about my followers. Connecting and messaging with girls around the world is incredible and very rewarding. I’ve even had a FaceTime date with a follower to vent about our similar boy problems. And of course, creating all the content and using my creative energy daily for work is amazing.
4. What does a typical day/week look like for you? My work weeks can look entirely different week by week… it’s definitely one of the hardest things about my job. I have no schedule. I have to really create my own structure in order to be productive, so it’s a roller coaster as you can imagine. I usually have 1-3 videos due or scheduled to post each week. One day I will spend 8+ hours just filming and capturing the content, then the next day I’ll lock up in a coffee shop to edit the footage and finalize the posts. Then one day will focus all my energy on EJB merch — organizing, packing orders, marketing, creating future designs. I also collaborate often with others in the area. I’ll have a shoot about once a week when possible… meetings, other modeling opportunities like music videos or small acting bits. Staying connected to my community is extremely important, but finding that time can be difficult.
5. Can you share some of your favorite makeup brands or products that you’re currently loving? The natural easy glow is here to stay. I’ve been loving Charlotte Tilbury products to get that effortless look. I have a full dedicated video trying out all the products. I also have my drugstore staples! Milani Color Statement Lipliner topped with ELF Plumping Gloss in Champagne Glam. It’s a dream team!
6. A beauty trend that you can’t get enough of this season? Claw clips! This is the mood for 2020. The 90s twist claw clip is perfect to stay chic when you have zero energy to style your hair. I love wearing chunky hoops with a claw clip look.
7. Any advice for someone who is interested in starting their own YouTube channel or blog? There is no secret code to growing your platform overnight. You have to work hard and be patient. And honestly, the only way to stay consistent with that is to TRULY love what you are sharing and be confident in yourself. Don’t chase a status; escape in the creativity and connections.
8. Can you share any career highlights or moments you are proud of thus far? The biggest change for EJB this year has been signing with my management company. It’s been a huge goal to get to that point and it’s still surreal for me. I signed with Table Rock Management in Laguna Beach, California, in January. My next goal is to move to downtown Detroit or another big city.
9. If you weren’t a beauty vlogger/influencer, what would you be instead? This is such an interesting question because I have been doing this now since I was 16 and it’s everything I know. When I was a little girl I always wanted to be a teacher for young children, but that wasn’t in the cards as I got older. I went to Wayne State for one semester and studied business and marketing with a minor in French. I actually dreamed of getting an internship in Paris at a big makeup brand as a part of their marketing team, but then EJB fell into my lap and I ran with it.
Now onto some fun…
10. What’s currently on your playlist? I love to listen to chill music. I’m usually working or doing something productive with it just playing in the background. You’ll find R&B on repeat or even lo-fi hip-hop when I really need to focus. Some favs of mine are Sabrina Claudio, Tory Lanez and even some throwbacks like Ne-Yo.
11. A beauty product that you can never live without? I couldn’t live without my Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. It’s like an easy liquid highlight — use it alone, under makeup, over makeup, or on your chest. It’s a total game-changer.
12. What was your favorite TV show as a kid? I went through the whole Disney phase when I was really young, then grew up to love MTV and shows like “Teen Mom” and “Jersey Shore” (not proud of this). Once I got my first iPod touch and discovered the beauty world on YouTube, I never went back to TV.
13. An IG account that you are digging at the moment? I’ve been loving Delaney Childs. She posts all day, every day, and always creates my Pinterest dream! As far as a brand on IG that I’ve been loving, KLUR is a black-owned sustainable skincare company I discovered in LA. I was fortunate enough to meet the owner and she is crushing it!
14. Dream vacation destination? The travel itch is higher than ever. I need to get back to NYC because it’s never enough, but Bali is high on my bucket list.
Local Love Questions…
15. Your current favorite local spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Breakfast: Commonwealth in downtown Birmingham. So FRESH!
Lunch: KouZina in Royal Oak is the best quick Greek spot. Love enjoying an afternoon on their porch.
Dinner: MARU Sushi Downtown Detroit is MY FAVORITE. You must order the Madagascar roll if you love spicy!
16. Your favorite place to shop locally in Metro Detroit? My biased answer is Talulah Belle in downtown Rochester, which is owned by my mom. It’s the most unique and beautiful boutique around. From cozy PJs to one-of-a-kind artwork…it’s worth the trip!
18. Favorite thing to do on a weekend in Metro Detroit? Hands down it’s visiting Eastern Market on a beautiful sunny morning. Picking up fresh veggies, new plants and don’t forget to visit DeVries & Co. for some cheese.
19. What do you love about Detroit? Detroit is the only city with enough magic to feel the big city hustle energy but still have a tight-knit, supportive community. The creatives here are all in it together and I owe a lot of my successes to this city and the people I’ve met along the way.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by? “Reste Positif ” which means stay positive. It’s very simple, but I say it in French so it’s not as cliche. Also, fun fact: “Reste Positif” was my first ever tattoo, so it’s a daily reminder for me. I have the cutest cropped gray tank on ejbmerch.com with this saying!