Welcome to #FollowFriday, a Teen Vogue column where we speak with the founders of some of Instagram's coolest style accounts. This week we chat with Jules and Gebs of @ravvebeauty.
New York-based friends Jules and Gebs believe they “look pretty ordinary.” But their Instagram account, @ravvebeauty, is far from that. Catering to what they call “the beauty underground,” we fashion and beauty editors here at Teen Vogue would even say their feed is pretty out there. With pictures of alien-inspired buzz cuts, butterfly-printed lips, and elongated flame nails, the founders like to say their creative platform is a “proud community for all beauty hackers.” And truthfully, it looks like just that.
But what is a "beauty hacker"? “Hackers are those who master the rules of beauty and at the same time understand that the rules of beauty are made to be broken, not followed,” say the beauty-obsessed pals who had been discouraged by the lack of diversity being promoted on Instagram. In December 2017 they decided to do something about that and launched their IG account, which is today a space where people can find inspiration and engage in thoughtful dialogues about what beauty is and can be. With more than 70,000 followers, their account seems to resonate strongly with folks who are looking for something new in the online beauty space. We’ll likely be re-gramming many of their posts on our own feed, @tvstyle.
In this edition of Follow Friday, Teen Vogue spoke with Jules and Gebs via email about why making the account into a community is important to them, their favorite posts on @ravvebeauty, and what interests them most about beauty.
Teen Vogue: What inspired you to start this account?
@ravvebeauty: Instagram gives us a chance to look at beauty in a different, more diverse way. When we started the account, we realized that there are only three types of beauty accounts on Instagram: makeup artists, big brands, and influencers. And that content was very polished and one- dimensional. It’s like a beautifully orchestrated ballet. We searched Instagram for inspiration, but neither of us could really relate to what was out there.
TV: What does the beauty underground mean to you?
@ravvebeauty: RavveBeauty is about celebrating the beauty alternatives; it’s about showing people that beauty isn’t normative and that they have options. All we’re saying is go ahead and wear too much makeup or nothing at all and you’ll look bomb anyway; shave your head or get that tattoo you think you’re too old for and wear it with pride. We scour the digital landscape to share the beauty in the unexpected. To make you stop and consider, to think, to accept. When we first started @ravvebeauty, our intention was pretty literal: represent the type of extreme beauty you see at raves. But over time we decided to evolve our content and look for people who go beyond being extreme for the sake of being extreme.
True beauty hackers are those who expand your horizons, break your preconceptions, lift your own fears and limitations. Our mission is to find and celebrate those individuals by hosting their content.
TV: How do you use this platform as a community space?
@ravvebeauty: Our community is very engaged. And the coolest thing is when they reach out to us telling us that our platform has helped them feel beautiful for the first time. Or that they finally decided to try some beauty look they have dreamed of trying for a long time. Now they feel like they have a place where they belong.
TV: What's your process for running this account?
@ravvebeauty: We are both very involved and hands-on. We believe that RavveBeauty is a part of us, and we can’t be replicated. Both of us curate images from all corners of the web, but Jules is the best at identifying the posts. And our clever captions are all Gebs. Gebs is the best at engagement. She tries to make sure that every person gets a response, comment, an emotion. She shares the love. You should see our gallery with so many images we haven’t posted yet, it would make you cry from the potential of it all.
TV: What do you hope people take away from following you and engaging with your content?
@ravvebeauty: We hope people’s minds will be expanded, even just a bit. We hope our community helps redefine what beauty means in the digital world and IRL. We talked about beauty as a form of self-creation and experimentation. And no judgment. And we mean it.
TV: What are some of your favorite and most popular posts?
@ravvebeauty: Some of the most successful posts we had are about the blurred line between what’s real and what’s fake on Instagram. Here our point of view is that fake and real are both beautiful and that it’s a matter of personal choice to reveal or conceal.
For instance, we have been obsessed with this girl who posts photos expressing herself with two different-colored eyes using colored lenses and isn’t hiding the truth (@lizagysevskaya). On the flip side, we are also big fans of the work of @peterdevito who shoots people with no makeup and filter to help others accept minor or major skin conditions.
Our community loves the neutral magical space between real and enhanced, and our most successful post reflects that: It’s an intricate hair shot that’s part braids part buzz cut, and it’s masterful. Now look closer and you might see that there’s no hair here. It’s all computer generated!
In the same spirit, we love visual artist @sarashakeel. She creates images that are digital enhancements of nontraditional female beauty traits, like stretch marks that she turns into glitter streaks. We’ve also had a lot of success with videos and animation that are both artistic and surreal, like this dark-lipstick application from @mr.rooler, and this rainbow face-paint tutorial from makeup artist @lynskii that we posted for Pride this year.
TV: What is it about beauty that interests you most?
@ravvebeauty: Beauty isn’t what we’re genetically blessed with… it’s simply what we’re born with, and everyone is born with their own beauty. And we celebrate that.
TV: Have you noticed any interesting beauty trends lately?
@ravvebeauty: We love that Instagram is blurring the line between real and fake. A few years ago, the beauty conversation was still very polarized between “natural beauty” and surgical or photoshopped beauty. Of course, it was always better to be natural, and of course, if you weren’t born with it you’d go for surgery or use photoshop, but would also try your best to make it look as real as possible. We think that what’s real or fake in beauty is totally irrelevant, and that’s all because of Instagram.
Some people think Instagram has made the beauty conversation more superficial and fake. We disagree. We think that Instagram has shifted the conversation from genetic luck to the power of the imagination. It’s much deeper and much more democratic that way. Instagram is that new space between genetic blessing and surgery where people can experiment with their look and push their own boundaries with every picture they post. This is why we created @ravvebeauty, as a platform to celebrate people’s experimentations, real or fake.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue