Happy Birthday to the best beauty site that I write, First World Beauty Problems! You started as a fun idea to write about all the fun beauty things I love (like brows and party shoes) and tips and tricks I had discovered when being forced into being my own TV make-up artist as the traffic reporter. You were my conversations with girlfriends, you were my experiences and you were my sarcasm. I was always the person that my friends asked “can you please do my eyes for the formal?” or “can you curl my hair for my date?” or “I need to get a new bronzer – what do you use?”, so I knew there was a market for you. You then gave me grey hairs trying to work out how to use WordPress, how the hell to resize photos and insert videos and I said more swear words that probably exist, but I had to make you into something more than just thoughts.
People started reading you, people started commenting on you and people started following you; people even complained about how shallow you were, which was awesome, because you know when you get your first troll, you’re making waves. You got a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and as you grew, I realised that the logo I made myself in Microsoft Paint just wasn’t cutting it (although it was so clean and cute, right?!), so you got worked on by the amazing graphic designer Rach Crawford and got a logo-facelift. Rach listened to all my detailed briefs that went along the lines of ‘I just want it to look like I wrote it in lipstick and look cool, you know?’ and ‘I don’t know what kind of pink, I just know I want it pink’.
Then, you were still demanding attention, so you came to life with a hilariously fun shoot with Geoff Sumner at his studio, with Camille Hiess directing me, giving me sips of water and saying things like ‘you look so skinny Nicola’, which helped (comments like that help in any situation). I had to show the face of FWBP as funny, so you get the joke as well as taking in the advice. I drove my two-door car with 2 oversized red balloons flying out of it like a clown car and carted outfits, make-up, tools and props. In hindsight, I should have got more help, but that wasn’t the point of solving #firstworldbeautyproblems – I SHOULD be able to!
I agonised over photo ideas, comments and props so you were shown in the best light (and I didn’t waste all my money). On the shoot day, I stupidly decided to be my own hairdresser and make-up artist to show that we can all do it, and although we can, I got white-girl drunk after that day because I was so exhausted and scared that no-one would like you any more. Thank GOD people did and the good comments out-weighed the bad. And thank GOD I got through it.
Not happy with being written on my iPad in a chopper or in my bed, you needed a work space. Unfortunately, the Icebergs Dining Room proved a little expensive as your permanent residence, so we had to find you an office. I cleaned the storage loft above my bedroom with industrial cleaning tools borrowed from the pub next door, I allocated all family birthday money/presents to a desk, chair, rug and frames and drawing on some Megan Hess inspiration, your studio came to life. As did my back pain from transporting everything up the tiniest stairs in the world. And any guests that came over for a completely un-beauty-related reason had to come up and see the loft – sorry, I was just overly proud and excited.
As you kept growing, you needed to become a real website and the wonderful Marco Gatta had to listen to my clueless ramblings to make you into the vision I had. As if you hadn’t taken up enough of my life thus far, you now made me look through endless websites, photos, layouts and texts so I could sound half-educated to Marco over many meetings over breakfast at Flat White before you were re-born. Again, I said lots of swear words and got very nervous no-one would like you; but when they did, you still wanted more.
So, I began writing a short video series outlining A Day in the Life of Solving First World Beauty Problems and started a You Tube channel in your name. The super talented Stef Puska was kind enough to translate my annoyingly long notes and outlines into #FWBPTV Series One and we shot in your tiny high-maintenance studio. The poor guys had to drag all the lights, equipment and themselves up and down 2 sets of tiny stairs and politely sit through many mistakes, costume changes and touch-ups. And they had to cut various lengthy GoPro clips shot by numerous non-videographers (like me) and read 1st Year Uni essay-length emails – yet still managed to nail it.
I realised, that you were more than a hobby now. You were a dream that had well and truly come to life and you deserved a focused editor and not a juggling traffic reporter writing you. I could never attend events or launches, so you didn’t have the best content. I never had enough time to test all your deliveries, so it took ages to get a mere post written. I didn’t have any beauty girlfriends, so you never collaborated. So, I took a leap of faith and I made you a real job. I’d never been more scared and loved you more yet also absolutely hated you at the same time.
Now, you keep me unbelievably busy and I’m so grateful you exist. You take me to every beauty launch and introduce me to the most wonderful like-minded people and teach me something new every day – still, many of them new swear words. From your first ambitious book proposal that got knocked back so many times I lost count, to now some of the most exciting meetings I’ve had since I negotiated a 10 girl-sleepover for my 13th birthday. You still annoy and scare the living daylights out of me but you are also the best thing that’s ever happened to me – probably exactly what my Mum says about me.
Happy 3rd Birthday First World Beauty Problems – please keep growing into the most wonderful dream!