A YouTuber says she and her pregnant friend were ‘treated like absolute garbage’ at a world-famous beauty convention because of the way they look
- Sierra Schultzzie, a fashion YouTuber with more than 874,000 subscribers, attended the world-famous BeautyCon convention in Los Angeles, California, with her friend Skylar Pollitt over the weekend.
- In a new YouTube video, the two women said they were “treated like absolute garbage” at the convention, to which Schultzzie said she had been invited.
- According to Schultzzie and Pollitt, they were asked to leave a photo-shoot area by a BeautyCon employee who said they wanted to photograph “select talent.”
- Pollitt, who is pregnant, also said the free food at the event quickly ran out before she and Schultzzie could get some.
- Schultzzie believes she was treated differently because she doesn’t look like a typical influencer, and told INSIDER that she hopes her experience will “bring about some real change” to the beauty industry.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Two social-media stars have taken to YouTube to express their frustration with BeautyCon, a world-famous cosmetics convention.
On Sunday, Sierra Schultzzie, a fashion YouTuber with more than 874,000 subscribers at the time of writing, uploaded a 31-minute-long video titled “We Were Treated Like Absolute Garbage at Beautycon (with live footage)” to YouTube. In the video, she’s seen attending the convention in Los Angeles, California, alongside her friend Skylar Pollitt, who has close to 18,000 followers on Instagram.
Schultzzie and Pollitt say they were treated poorly by some convention employees, and the YouTuber believes they would have had a better time if she looked more like a typical influencer. Speaking to INSIDER, Schultzzie said she hopes that talking about her experience will “bring about some real change” to the beauty industry.
Sierra Schultzzie and Skylar Pollitt detailed their BeautyCon experience online
At the start of their YouTube video, Schultzzie and Pollitt are seen styling their hair, having their makeup done, and getting dressed for BeautyCon, to which Schultzzie said she had been invited.
Schultzzie said she felt “very excited” to attend the event, while Pollitt, who is pregnant, planned the poses she would do on the red carpet.
However, the women’s positive attitudes seemingly disappeared once they arrived at the convention.
“So we’ve been at the BeautyCon VIP area for a little while — we’re like full glam, we did the outfits — and we’re still kinda being treated like s—,” Schultzzie said in her video.
According to Pollitt, she and Schultzzie were inside a photo-booth area that was designated for influencers when they were asked to leave by a BeautyCon employee who looked at the YouTuber “up and down,” and then said only “select talent” was allowed inside.
“I don’t think it’s BeautyCon in particular,” Schultzzie said in the video, speaking of what she believes to be the problem at the root of her experience. “I think it’s the beauty industry.”
While still at the convention, Schultzzie said her negative experience at the photo station affected her self esteem
After they said they were asked to leave the photo area, Schultzzie and Pollitt continued to film their vlog.
“It’s funny how you can go into an event feeling like you did everything to make yourself feel confident and feel worthy, feel good getting here, and then just have these attitudes of the people around you totally change how you feel about yourself,” Schultzzie said.
The two women then decided to wait on a line to walk the red carpet, which they said was only accessible to invited “talent,” or influencers and YouTubers.
While there, one of Schultzzie’s managers offered to hold their spot in line so that she and Pollitt could get food, which was free and provided by BeautyCon. Pollitt said she especially needed a meal because she’s “super pregnant.” However, all the food was gone less than 20 minutes after being made available, according to the women.
“I don’t want to act like I’m complaining about there not being food because that’s kind of a privileged thing,” Schultzzie said. “But they invited us here, we’re not paid to be here.”
“Also the idea behind the talent area is that you can get mobbed if you go out into the main stage,” Pollitt added. “It’s a safety thing, like ‘We’ll provide food so that you can stay in the talent area.'”
Schultzzie says she was ignored on the red carpet because of her weight
Eventually, Schultzzie and Pollitt said they headed back to the line, where they planned to see how employees and press would treat them on the red carpet.
“That was the biggest waste of my time ever,” Schultzzie said after walking the red carpet. “I literally walked down, I think they took two pictures of me, I talked to one reporter, and that was it.”
Schultzzie and Pollitt said they left after attending the red carpet and were told to ride a golf cart to leave the convention. In their vlog, the two are seen waiting to leave when another golf cart passes them. Passengers, who are blurred out of the frame, can be heard laughing in the background.
“Are those people laughing at us?” Schultzzie asks.
“I’m literally pregnant and I feel like I’m gonna pass out,” Pollitt said after the golf cart left. “I haven’t eaten in 10 hours, and I haven’t sat down.”
At the end of their video, Pollitt and Schultzzie gathered their thoughts about the convention
“Last year, I had a bad experience at BeautyCon and I chalked it up to maybe a few bad people — like I had some good conversations, the event as a whole was fine last year,” Schultzzie said. “This year, I will never go back to BeautyCon.”
“I know that I, as an influencer who was invited there, I’m not supposed to speak out like this and I’m supposed to just shut up, but I’m not going to,” she continued. “So I’m sorry BeautyCon — actually, I’m not sorry.”
Schultzzie also said that she feels frustrated that BeautyCon aims to be an inclusive convention, and yet, in her opinion, it doesn’t treat attendees equally.
“I think my biggest gripe with BeautyCon and the beauty industry is they act like it’s all about inclusivity because they have people of different body types and gender identities, and they try to be so diverse,” Schultzzie said. “But at the end of the day, if you don’t have their look, you will not be treated like a real person.”
“It was me,” she continued. “It’s because I’m fat, and I’m not a tall Instagram-baddie-looking girl. I do think that’s what it was about.”
BeautyCon employees said they ‘disagree’ with claims that the convention is not inclusive
On Monday, 10 BeautyCon employees, including CEO Moj Mahdara, held a livestream on the convention’s Instagram page. While Schultzzie and Pollitt were not mentioned by name during the video, Mahdara did acknowledge one influencer-related incident that took place.
“I know there was an incident online with an influencer, and we’re not gonna say their name,” Mahdara said on Instagram. “We disagree with the story that’s being told. We disagree with the way that incident is being recounted.”
“We disagree with the comments that they’re publicizing out there about this company and who we are,” they continued. “We take offense to someone calling us out for not being inclusive, for not being diverse. We spend so much time internally talking about inclusivity, diversity, to talk about acceptance of body types, body stigmas, ethnic stigmas.”
The CEO also said BeautyCon staff members were sorry to hear that someone had a “not-great experience,” but acknowledged that employees do their best to accommodate more than 30,000 attendees.
“There’s obviously areas where we can always do better, but the way in which this incident is being portrayed is just inaccurate,” Mahdara said. “We thought about making a more detailed statement about it, but once we went through and investigated every single employee involved, every security involved, every staff member involved with the venue and our own internal team, we just are here to say that we feel like we killed it.”
According to Mahdara, the unnamed influencer didn’t respond when BeautyCon representatives reached out to them.
“We have reached out to this influencer — numerous people have reached out,” they said. “I’m happy to even show you. I have texted this person. I have dm’ed this person. They have never responded back to me to have a discussion about it.”
“They’d rather go into the internet to basically talk about us,” Mahdara said. “We’re not perfect — I’m certainly not perfect. We’re all very human. You can call us a lot of things, but don’t come at us with we’re not inclusive, because that’s one thing that we, as a company, just won’t stand for.”
“It’s inauthentic, it’s untrue, it’s fake news,” they continued. “It is fake news. And so we can improve on a hundred-million things, but that’s one thing we know that we live and die by.”
Schultzzie told INSIDER that she and Pollitt weren’t the only people to feel excluded at BeautyCon
Speaking to INSIDER, Schultzzie said her and Pollitt initially felt “defeated, humiliated, and ostracized” from the beauty community following their experience at BeautyCon. She also said they weren’t the only attendees to feel that way.
“Once we opened up online about what we experienced at BeautyCon, we realized we weren’t alone,” Schultzzie told INSIDER.
“So many other creators, fans, ex-employees of BeautyCon, and even executives at big makeup brands reached out to us and expressed that they had felt that same exclusion and judgment at the hands of BeautyCon, and the wider beauty industry as a whole,” she said. A representative for Schultzzie declined to comment on which beauty-brand executives reached out to the YouTuber.
Schultzzie told INSIDER she believes BeautyCon and the beauty industry value appearances over success and credentials.
“Skylar and I always try to show empathy and give people the benefit of the doubt,” Schultzzie said. “But reflecting and watching the footage, really analyzing the situation around us, it’s clear that the disrespect we were shown was truly about how I look.”
“It’s not about followers,” she continued. “It’s not about your credentials. It’s not about who you are or what you do or what you have to offer. It’s all about what you look like — a two-second body check to deem if you’re worthy or not — and that’s what hurts so much.”
BeautyCon has a lot to improve on ahead of future conventions, according to Schultzzie
Schultzzie told INSIDER that BeautyCon “as a whole was riddled with confusion.”
“Information was scarce, and the event was vastly understaffed,” Schultzzie said. “Security was brash and unhelpful, they had not been briefed on locations of anything at the event, and were frustrated by the attendees asking them for help and direction.”
“The BeautyCon employees were so understaffed, it’s no surprise the ones we did encounter were rude, as they were exhausted and overworked,” she said.
Scultzzie also thinks there should be clearer distinctions between different levels of “talent,” or influencers and celebrity attendees.
“If there truly are opportunities only for ‘select’ talent like we were told, don’t give us all the same wristband and put as all in the same room, only to be turned away and humiliated,” Schultzzie said. “Make it clear where I am wanted, and where I am allowed, instead of making those split-second judgments on who ‘looks’ worthy of certain opportunities, despite us all having the same credentials.”
Schultzzie says she wants to ‘continue challenging society’s ideas of beauty’
“In 2019, it’s shocking that this is still happening, especially in a community that prides itself on being diverse and inclusive,” Schultzzie said. “I just hope this situation can bring about some real change in this industry because it’s desperately needed.”
Schultzzie also told INSIDER that her experience at BeautyCon has made her realize “how much work still needs to be done.”
“This wasn’t an isolated incident,” she said. “Making content about body positivity has changed my life, and after BeautyCon, I feel like it’s lit a fire under me to continue spreading that message.”
Shultzzie continued: “I want to make more of that content, continue challenging society’s ideas of beauty, and grow a community who not only preaches inclusivity, but truly practices it in all forms.”
Representatives for Pollitt, Mahdara, and BeautyCon did not immediately reply to INSIDER’s requests for comment.