The UK’s leading digital influencer gives us an exclusive on her beauty business, breaking into the music industry and spending the day with Rihanna.
While thousands of people have made their name as “influencers” over the past few years, a select few have turned their platforms into thriving communities and business empires. Beauty guru, company owner and singer-songwriter CC Clarke is a rare example of someone who’s managed to nail both in a variety of industries, whilst staying true to her authentic self in the process.
First channelling her creativity into a beauty Youtube channel encompassing everything from “how to” tutorials to vlogs, try-on hauls and travel videos, CC garnered a huge gang of loyal supporters online (1.9 million followers on Instagram kind of huge).
After receiving thousands of messages about her experimentation with hair pieces, CC’s curated her own line of synthetic wigs, now sold through her company Castaway Beauty. Encouraging her followers to embrace creative looks in an accessible, affordable way, the range includes everything from blonde and brunette shades to oranges, pinks and purples.
Most recently though, she’s been making waves in the music world. Having honed her sound for over a decade and released numerous cover videos online, last year saw CC drop music of her own with pop tracks “A Little More” and “Solo“, marking the beginning of a new career she’s been plotting all along.
In line with the release of her new track “No Filter”, we caught up with CC to talk business, beauty and breaking into the music industry, as well as her Fyre Festival experience and playing beer pong with Rihanna…
How did you get started in the beauty industry?
I guess the way I started in the beauty industry was through performance. I was into makeup when I was performing in shows, and I was always asked what makeup I was wearing. I then decided to take to social media and post about my looks and show people how to create them. I seem to have had my eye on the right trends and got my foot in the door as a lot of them went viral and continued to do so. Everything just grew from there, I continued to gain recognition.
Your career now encompasses so many things – is it important for you to have different creative outlets?
As an artist, I express myself through many ways, so yes. Music, fashion and beauty go hand in hand and I couldn’t imagine expressing myself creatively without all of them. It’s a lot to juggle, but it’s so rewarding being able to do all of them and I am so grateful for the amazing and loyal fan base that has grown with me. They’re so supportive and I always want to push myself to do better, to make sure that everything I put out from each creative outlet is better than the last single, piece of content or wig.
What’s been your highlight from your beauty career?
It’s so hard for me to pick out one highlight – I feel so lucky to be doing what I love every day and to keep producing content, nurturing relationships with amazing brands and releasing music and fashion lines. I never in my wildest dreams thought things would take off like this. I used to look at all the beauty magazines and not be able to afford the makeup I wanted to use and now I’m working with these brands. I never take anything for granted.
We saw your Fyre Festival vlog… Is it surreal to experience events like these? What’s been the craziest thing?
That was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced! Being a part of that was very surreal. I only decided to go because the likes of Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber were fronting the campaign… I never in a million years thought it would be anything like what it was! A total shambles doesn’t even accurately sum it up. It was awful.
What made you decide to put your own music out? Was it intimidating to take that step?
Music has always been my life, so I knew that at some point I was going to put my single out. It wasn’t intimidating because I already knew that my loyal followers were waiting patiently for ages, but I was nervous to see how people who didn’t know I was a music artist would receive it. Thankfully it was received so well and even reached the Top 40! I’m really pleased with how it went and I can’t wait to release my new track.
Is your new song song “No Filter” really personal to you?
Yes, very – I wrote this at a point where I wanted to let people know that even though social media can make us feel like there’s so much pressure to wear makeup and live up to a certain image, everyone is just as beautiful without the filters and strategic lighting. It’s about having fun, not caring what people think and being your sassy and sexy self. I am so incredibly excited to give this special gift to my loyal followers to thank them for their endless support and patience with my music! I promise there is more coming very soon but until then enjoy my beauties; I wrote this for you!
So you’re working on more music at the moment?
100%. I’m in the studio more than ever right now and I’ve got the next three singles lined up, so watch this space. I haven’t taken a day off so far in 2019 – if I haven’t been travelling with brands or filming content, I’ve been in the studio. Thank god for concealer…
If you could collaborate with any music artist right now, who would you choose?
I would love to have Stormzy on one of my tracks – he’s so relevant and cool. He’s inspired me a lot. The success he has – considering he didn’t even have a record label – is a testament to his hard work and staying true to himself.
When did you have the idea for Castaway Beauty, and why did you decide to set it up?
I had created a successful wig line, which I was working on part-time so that my followers could get hold of the looks that I was creating. The amount of requests I had meant that the day we went on sale with each new line, we would sell out within two hours. It was crazy! I set up Castaway Beauty as I wanted to give my followers more options, to make things affordable and to create fast fashion looks at a fraction of the price. I also wanted to create it to be my own entity; my husband runs it now and I love working closely with him on this. Honestly, you should see our house, he’s so tolerant – I have my wigs, makeup and studio equipment everywhere!
What’s your main aim with the business?
I have always wanted to maintain a relatable business model for girls. I remember being the girl that couldn’t afford to buy into brands or replicate looks and I found it so frustrating. I have seen how much some beauty products and wigs can help with girls’ confidence and it’s the best feeling in the world knowing I may be able to play a small part in that for some of my followers. My dream would be to expand Castaway to more products, so we could offer lots more to young girls.
Who do you look up to in your industry?
Rihanna, hands down! From music to fashion and now makeup, she is the Queen and has been my biggest role model. I’m still pinching myself daily as last week she invited me to hang out with her at a private townhouse in London to thank me for supporting Fenty Beauty from the start. I was there at the first launch party and have been supporting it ever since. It’s an amazing brand and she has worked so hard, so I was delighted to catch up with her. We played beer pong, sang karaoke pretending we were the Spice Girls and bonded over music and makeup. It sounds like I’m talking about a crazy dream…
Where do you want to take your career next?
For me, my focus is on becoming recognised as a singer and songwriter – I want to keep progressing in music and I would love to be able to do a tour one day. I guess to keep doing what I do across the board but on a bigger scale. 2019 is shaping up to be my best year yet and I’m loving every minute of it.