Welcome to Favorite Follow, a series highlighting NYLON's favorite creators and the stories behind some of their most memorable content.
Emira D’Spain, also known as @xoxoemira on Instagram and TikTok, is like your coolest friend who you always turn to for beauty advice. With over 780 thousand followers on TikTok, she regularly posts about her life in New York City, perfecting her ever-evolving makeup and skin care routines, and giving an honest look into the process of her transition. The common thread through all of the content is that she keeps it totally real. “I always think about it, ‘What would I do if I was on a FaceTime,’” says Emira. “That's how I make my videos. It’s like I'm on FaceTime with my internet friends. I can't see them, but they can see me.” It’s just that type of feel-good video that makes you want to put on a little extra blush (an @xoxoemira signature makeup look) and go get drinks in great outfit with your own inner circle.
Now, Emira is also creating content in collaboration with Victoria’s Secret, and in doing so has become the first Black transgender model to work with the brand. But as if that wasn’t exciting enough, she is also looking ahead to expanding her own content this year. “Beauty is still my main thing, but I’d like to introduce a little more fashion, a little more lifestyle, work with bigger brands, do cool things, and travel more places.” We’re lucky wherever she goes, she’ll bring us along for the ride.
On Getting Into Beauty
“I grew up watching all the big YouTube girlies back in the day, like PatrickStarrr and Nikita Dragun. That's where my love for beauty blossomed, but it's always been there. My mom tells a story of how I used to sneak into her bathroom and just play around with eyeshadow when I was eight or nine. I wouldn't even put it on my eyes. I would put it on my cheeks and my hands. When I was about 19 I really started doing my makeup — and I was terrible. I lived in Paris for my freshman year of college and I knew nobody in Paris so I had no one to impress. I thought, "I'm just going to experiment with makeup and if it looks bad, it looks bad." Then, when I came back New York, that's when I feel like I started refining it and that's when I started content creation.
It didn't really come together until 2020 and I started focusing on TikTok because I was seeing so much more beauty content there than I had ever seen before. I followed so many makeup artists on YouTube and Instagram, but I didn't really see an everyday makeup perspective until TikTok. TikTok has blown up the beauty world to the nth degree, it's insane. So, that's when I realized I really wanted to be a part of that.”
On Makeup and Skin Care as Self-care
“Makeup is truly therapeutic for me. Even when I'm having a terrible day, I'll want to film a video because I know it'll put me in a good mood by the end of it. I will be so energetic and peppy and happy by the end of the video because I'm turning it on for the camera, and then it turns on in real life.
Makeup always puts me in a good mood, but skin care and my morning and evening routines make me think and reflect on myself. I'm really enjoying that kind of self-love moment. One of my things I'm working on for 2022 is gratitude. Whenever I'm doing my skincare, I will think about five things I'm grateful for, and they have to be different every single day. At first, it was really easy, but it gets hard and you have to start to get really nit-picky.”
On Reviewing Products
“You'll see me trying new things, and if I hate it, you’ll never see it again. I have spent so much time perfecting my routine that I'm going to make sure that people out there know which are my favorites because then if they try it, it might become one of their favorite products, too. I mean, if I try something new and if it sticks, it sticks. I do that with brand stuff, too. I'll tell the brands I need to use the product for at least three weeks before I talk about it.”
On Getting Great Skin
“Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream — if I don't have that cream, I think my face would probably fall off. It’s been my saving grace in the New York winter. I've really been loving the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel — the green serum, it's supposed to help with rosacea. I only recently started using it, but I've already noticed the difference. I actually need to do a video about that because I feel like a lot of my followers have rosacea, too. I do a lot of HydraFacials. I love getting treatments and facials and all sorts of those things. I'm about to go to get my first session of BBL, but it's not the BBL that you’re thinking of. It's broadband laser therapy. It’s also to help with rosacea.
My favorite foundation is newest Nars one — the Light Reflecting Foundation. That has to be my favorite foundation aside from Pat McGrath’s that's been my favorite for years. I like blending my foundation with my fingers and then using a Juno & Co sponge because it makes my foundation look like my skin. I'm also a blush girl, I love all sorts of blush. The Givenchy blush I'm obsessed with is the Prisme Libre Blush and it's not available in the United States, which is really annoying. I wake up at like 4:00 a.m. and order it online.”
“Making videos has kind of become a natural part of getting ready. Don’t you ever start talking to yourself as if you're talking to an audience? I do that. So I just put a camera here and just tap it every few seconds. It doesn't slow me down. I would be talking to myself anyways. There are a couple things I do because I know that my audience loves them, but they're also so genuinely me. I do cuss a lot in my videos because I do in real life and I'm a pretty positive person, I feel like that comes through on camera.
I think now people are really missing the humor in beauty. We saw that a lot of humor in the old YouTube beauty days, but I'm not seeing that on TikTok as much. And I don’t mean that fake comedy just for the camera. I mean humor that’s authentic to you, like when you’re hanging out with your friends at brunch. I always think about it. ‘What would I do if I was on FaceTime with my friends?’ That's how I make my videos, like I'm on FaceTime with my internet friends. I can't see them, but they can see me.”
On Victoria’s Secret:
“I'm so excited to continue my partnership with Victoria’s Secret. We have so many things coming out this spring that I'm excited about and it's going to be like a surprise moment. Everyone's going to love what they see. The brand is headed in a really amazing direction. It definitely feels like responsibility to me [being the first Black trans model working with Victoria’s Secret]. It makes me want to continue to be even more authentic with my audience. I'm not just talking about like, "Oh, I have acne today." I mean, truly be authentic about everything in my life, especially because I feel like that's opening the door for people of color. They've already had a trans girl do all a lot of stuff with the brand, I feel it's my responsibility for the people of color. It’s like, ‘Come on girlies, we got a lot of work to do’."