As most of the country is practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people are finding new ways to connect and unwind at home. Some are turning to podcasts or music, many are binging shows on Netflix, and Gen Z is busy creating TikTok dances and mastering beauty tutorials.
Beauty guru James Charles combines the best of both these social media worlds in his most recent Youtube video featuring Charli D’Amelio—a 15-year old TikTok star who has amassed over 40 million followers in just six months. The video—which was filmed before the CDC’s social distancing recommendations—chronicles Charles giving D’Amelio a bold rainbow eye look that was inspired by her outfit.
Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, the 20-year old make-up artist explained how D’Amelio arrived to film the video in a pastel tie-dye hoodie from his own brand, Sisters Apparel, which inspired the color palette for her makeup look. “[It] honestly turned out so gorgeous and she was in love with the look and she was really excited to show her parents,” explains Charles. “It was just a really fun departure from what we normally see Charli in, but I think that was kind of the point of the entire video, was to see a different side of her.”
The two friends spoke about a range of topics, from their mutual love of dancing — although Charles admits, “I suck at it” — to the struggles of sudden fame and fandom. D’Amelio shared a story of a mother who berated her in public for not taking a photo with her daughter, despite being in the middle of eating dinner.
“[The mom] was like, ‘I have a little girl here,’ and I said, ‘I’m a little girl and you just made me cry,'” D’Amelio said. Charles applauded her, saying his mealtimes are also off limits for taking photos with fans, before the friends moved on to stories of fans following them into the bathroom.
While D’Amelio’s TikTok career began only six months ago, today she is one of the app’s biggest stars. She is currently a member of the Hype House, a group of TikTokers, including her boyfriend Chase Hudson (aka Lil Huddy), that live and make videos together in a spacious Los Angeles residence.
Speaking about their video, D’Amelio told PEOPLE, “I’m so used to doing natural makeup. To have someone as talented as James go full-on glam for this collab was so amazing. I didn’t want to take it off!”
Charles, who only joined TikTok last August, says that the platform has given him an opportunity to be less serious about his social media. “[It’s] been a really good experience for me to not care and to let myself go and be myself around my fans and meet new friends,” said the Youtube star. “That is something I needed so badly this year.”
Notably, in 2019, Charles had a very public feud with fellow beauty Youtuber Tati Westbrook, however, it seems as though tensions have subsided since then. “I am now in a place, especially in 2020, where I am very careful with who I am friends with, and I’m really blessed to have a lot of amazing friends, in the Youtube space and in the community,” Charles said to PEOPLE. “[At] the end of the day, the fans are the ones that are feeling happy and inspired. That’s what we’re here for, or that’s what we should all be here for—that’s what I’m here for, let me only speak for myself.”
While Charles continues to use TikTok as a more relaxed, creative outlet, fans will be happy to hear that he remains invested his business opportunities. While the social media star has previously collaborated with brands on makeup collections, most notably his Morphe x James Charles palette, he is currently working on his own line, he tells PEOPLE.
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Although it’s only in the early stages, fans may have to wait even longer than Charles expected. “I was supposed to have a meeting about it today, but it was postponed due to [coronavirus],” said Charles. The internet personality is currently social-distancing at his residence in L.A., where residents have been ordered to stay home by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Despite not having a launch date for his product line, Charles is adamant that the finished product will be worth waiting for.
“I’m such a huge advocate for quality over quantity,” says Charles. “I have no idea how many quantities of time, or meetings, or samples or packaging ideas it’s going to take, but I promise you whenever we do figure out those quantities, oh ma’am, the products will be quality.”