I made a vlog video with $0 about beauty magzines that was watched more than 70 million times and got a reaction from Cosmopolitan's key decision maker #AMA

Oskar T. Brand
Feb 13, 2018

In September 2016  I made a short video about the negative effects of excessive advertising and photoshopping in fashion and beauty magazines. It went viral and was watched by 65+ million people around the planet starting my vlogging channel and bringing me 28 000 facebook followers.

Watch here: Ugly Truth In Beauty Magazines

Three weeks after uploading the video I was sent a screenshot of a message written by one of the key decision makers at Cosmopolitan who was defending the quality of the content of the magazine after seeing my video. This is how you change things one video at a time.

Conversation (64)

In three easy steps and under a minute you could be hosting your own AMA. Join our passionate community of AMA hosts and schedule your own AMA today.

Let's get started!

Can you write an article explaining how you made riches from a video? I would like to publish it on my site. In return, insert a link to that video and viewers on my site will have your attention. See my site   great hustle

Last edited @ Feb 19, 6:20AM EST.
Feb 19, 6:19AM EST0 Reply

Why do you do this everyday? How does being a vlogger make you happy?

Feb 19, 12:33AM EST0 Reply

Do you think some beauty magazines are worse than others in terms of photoshopping?

Feb 18, 10:08AM EST0 Reply

How did you promote the Ugly Truth video?

Feb 17, 11:58PM EST1 Reply

I didn't. I uploaded it to my facebook page and tagged my friends in it. It went viral due to 12 of my friends sharing it on their pages.

Feb 18, 7:54AM EST0 Reply

What is your opinion about other kinds of beauty advertising - billboards, commercials - that are also photoshopped?

Feb 17, 9:57PM EST1 Reply

It is all the same, only the medium is different.

Feb 18, 7:52AM EST0 Reply

Do you have a blog as well?

Feb 16, 5:26PM EST1 Reply
Feb 17, 6:17PM EST0 Reply

How do you market your vlogging channel?

Feb 15, 6:35PM EST1 Reply

This my achilles heel. I mainly rely on organic views and shares but from next season I will have a promotional strategy involving a lot of social media exposure

Last edited @ Feb 18, 7:11AM EST.
Feb 17, 6:19PM EST0 Reply

Why do you think advertising uses so much photoshopping? In your opinion, why aren't models shown as they really are?

Feb 14, 1:10AM EST0 Reply

we all like things that are not real - it is easier to sell a dream than a fact. Japanes anime is no different - it shows everything that Japanese people are not physically. 

Feb 14, 2:43AM EST0 Reply

Have you met any of your fans or followers in real life? What was it like?

Feb 13, 3:37PM EST1 Reply

yes, I actually made some friends, that's one of the benfits of having followers - you have a giant pool of people to be friends with. One of them turned out to be friends with Roseanne Barr who endorsed my video on her twitter page 

Feb 13, 4:26PM EST0 Reply

What are some of the challenges of managing a vlogging channel?

Feb 13, 1:41PM EST1 Reply

Mainly the ability to find the time to manage and promote it while writing and creating new content regularly. But also finding the balance between what it is that you want to say and what it is that people like. It is a choice between being a Jazz musician and Katy Perry. 

Last edited @ Feb 13, 3:12PM EST.
Feb 13, 2:59PM EST0 Reply

How did the Cosmopolitan representative defend their magazine? What arguments did they use?

Feb 13, 12:30PM EST1 Reply

To give you an exact quote: "amazing, serious, life-changing, award-winning journalism".  I think you get the level of delusion these people live at. Also - I am insulting millions of women and that some actually like the advertising content. Insanity in its purest form.

Feb 13, 2:55PM EST0 Reply

Do you think harmful advertising is worse in certain countries than others?

Feb 13, 11:01AM EST1 Reply

Yes, beauty in western countries is an industry, in America it is almost a commodity that is bought, sold and traded. It is not as pronounced in countries with traditional gender roles like those of Eastern Europe. At least not yet.

Feb 13, 11:07AM EST0 Reply

What do you think the general public can do to discourage these magazines from photoshopping and dishonest advertising?

Feb 13, 10:32AM EST1 Reply

I think people need to be aware how bad the situation is and they need to protest with their wallets. We need more videos like mine. I wanted to start a petition but this is not my area of interest, I am only interested in the truth. Also we need to battle the hypocricy of mainstream media as they are in bed with the whole industry from what I was told.

Feb 13, 10:43AM EST0 Reply

What is the best comment that you have received from a viewer of your video?

Feb 13, 10:13AM EST1 Reply

"are you married?" Dealing with models and girls in fashion industry is a lot of fun :)

Feb 13, 10:19AM EST0 Reply

What prompted you to make the video Ugly Truth?

Feb 13, 9:22AM EST1 Reply

It was a genuine observation I made one evening but it corelates with my life experiences. All women who played a role in my life had low self-esteem and were badly damaged by corporate media. This was also the reason why I tried explaining attractiveness in this video -> Attractiveness is a choice

Feb 13, 9:42AM EST0 Reply

What does it feel like to have 28000 facebook followers?

Feb 13, 8:40AM EST1 Reply

It feels great :) it feels like a validation for all your hard work. It feels like you have just build foundations for a house of your dreams. It feels like having a big circle of friends who admire what you have to say and who you are.

Feb 13, 8:57AM EST0 Reply

to see the effect this video had please watch this -> Magazine Truth VICTORY. You CAN change things!

Feb 13, 8:12AM EST0 Reply

How much time in a day do you spend managing your social media platforms, like facebook?

Feb 13, 2:16AM EST1 Reply

Way too much. It used to be hours every day but now I don't engage as much and I rather concentrate on new content. With millions of people watching videos everyone has something to say and a lot of people want something from you that has very little relevance to what you do.

Feb 13, 5:11AM EST0 Reply

What would be an ideal beauty magazine be like, by your standards?

Feb 13, 12:08AM EST1 Reply

I would say the exact opposite of what Cosmopolitan stands for. One that concentrates on mental and physical health issues, one that really tries to make women's life better rather than exploiting their looks and their vulnerabilities. They do exist - I was sent a lot of examples from women around the world.

Feb 13, 5:08AM EST0 Reply

Do you think the negative effects of advertising also affect men?

Feb 12, 8:12PM EST1 Reply

Yes. The probelm is not exclusive to women - men have the same issues with the way they are being portrayed in the media and I had many requests to create a similar video but for men. But I think we can handle it a little better because the way we look is not an industry.

Feb 13, 5:06AM EST0 Reply

Do you give talks or make appearances at events? If yes, what have you done so far?

Feb 12, 6:42PM EST1 Reply

Not at the moment. I do get requests sometimes for interviews but I am busy with writing and making new content so I try to stay one place. The only thing I do is stand up in New York clubs, which I really enjoy.

Feb 13, 5:05AM EST0 Reply

Do you have plans to write and publish a book someday about the negative effects of advertising?

Feb 12, 11:36AM EST1 Reply

No, I don't as it is not my area of interest. I consider advertising to be the toxic side of selling because all valuable things don't need promotion. Advertising's sole purpose is to create a need where there was none before. But I did write a book about food and that's where all my food video content comes from (like the truth about sugar video series -> Sugar Truth: What it really does to your body )

Feb 12, 2:53PM EST0 Reply

Do you work alone to manage your vlog channels, or do you have a team with you? If you do, who are your team members?

Feb 12, 4:38AM EST1 Reply

I started on my own and my first video took me 7 months to animate (it is to date my most laborious project ever undertaken). I have just started working on the next season on my video channel and I am building a team now. Within the next few weeks I am going to hire a team of editors and researchers. It is not possible to make this type of videos with no help.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 4:05PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:02PM EST0 Reply

What is your background in terms of education and career?

Feb 12, 12:16AM EST1 Reply

Linguistics. I graduated in English / Japanese philology, which allowed me to move to England and start a career here. I am currently working in recruitment hiring staff for global corporate clients. I hope to be able to stop working for other people and within the next few years move only to making music and videos.

Last edited @ Feb 13, 3:16PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:06PM EST0 Reply

How do you get ideas for new vlog videos?

Feb 11, 9:43PM EST1 Reply

I get them all the time mainly through observation and life frustration :) I have a 140-page book of notes and quotes that I had been collecting over the period of 8 years. I am in the process of writing the second part now. I have enough ideas for at least 150 - 200 videos and every finished video creates new ideas.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 3:10PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:09PM EST0 Reply

Do you think there could be any positive elements at all to photoshopped advertisements?

Feb 11, 6:11PM EST1 Reply

No, I don't think so. Creating a false image of human beings is deception and a deplorable practice that should be outlawed.

Feb 12, 3:13PM EST0 Reply

If you could change one thing about the way you produced the Ugly Truth, what would it be?

Feb 11, 5:00PM EST1 Reply

Nothing. I really like it. Every time I watch it I always think "damn, that's a good video". I haven't created anything equally good yet. But I wish I had included myself in it. With 70 million views and being featured on TV I could have become a little bit famous and recognizable which could have allowed me an easier start with my vlogging.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 4:08PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:16PM EST0 Reply

What is your daily routine like, can you share what you would do in the course of a typical day?

Feb 11, 4:39PM EST1 Reply

I don't like wasting tiime and I constantly work. I edit content on the way to work, I write notes on my phone when I am not busy and when I fall to sleep I try to analyze the ideas I had that day. I don't think it is healthy :)

Feb 12, 3:18PM EST0 Reply

How do the women in your life feel about the Ugly Truth video that you made? Were they supportive?

Feb 11, 3:53PM EST1 Reply

Yes, I gained so much respect from my friends after it went viral. It opened so many doors for me. If you would like to know more what happened afterwards please watch my vlog -> Going Viral: What it's REALLY like - Facts, Figures & Emotions

Feb 12, 3:20PM EST1 Reply

What values do you believe in and what is your core philosophy in life?

Feb 11, 12:33PM EST1 Reply

My ultimate life value is truth and living in the service for others. That's the only thing that matters. In my next series of videos I want to concentrate on those values, I think they might be important to some people.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 4:09PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:22PM EST0 Reply

I do agree with all you say in the video (how can I not, it is a fact) but we are all as consumers dictating who succeeds and who doesn’t in any industry, like they say, we vote with our wallets - if everyone stops buying X magazine it will stop existing. 

Also, *what* we buy dictates what will be published more. There was an argument about press underreporting tragedies in anywhere but Europe and the US and I read a great piece by a journalist (sadly lost the link) that gave the journalists’ side of it - when you try to report other stories they simply don’t get read/clicked on/bought/viewed. So next time you ask your editor « can I write a story about that » they are clearly gonna say no - nobody is gonna read it. 

The $15 or whatever those girls spend on beauty magaizines they can buy books for - it comes down to education and fair enough not all have access to a good one and not all have engaged parents. Those magazines just as any business are trying things and repeating bigger and stronger what works - there are magazines with real pictures and even for overweight people - nobody is buying those so they don’t last long or/and get known.

I think the bigger issue is that less than 25% of leadership positions in fashion are held by women and in media that is even less. And that there is no decent education on the topic. It is not a sin to want to look better and be better - fit, healthy, pretty - it becomes an issue when it goes beyond realistic standards but we are as much to blame as it is the industry, we feed it.

Soooo my question, are you going to explore further that and similar issues with your videos? Like how education and parenting are failing on creating confident kids that would buy a novel over a beauty mag?

Feb 11, 11:30AM EST1 Reply

Very interesting questions. Yes, you are right but life is a little bit more complex than "if everyone stops buying X magazine it will stop existing". This situation we have now is a reflection of our nature - and it is not a pretty picture. As you said - humans are more interested in sensational, tragic news rather than the positive side of life, and there is a disturbing reason for it. The $15 those girls spend on beauty magaizines amounts to a much bigger problem (which you can learn about here -> The Real Price of Beauty ) and it is not a matter of education but self-esteem which is collectively shaped by parents and the society. And no one is doing a good job in that area. In fact they are usually the main oppressors and everything that I learned from models and people in the fshion industry is beyond shocking. The number of women in leadership positions in fashion and media held by women has nothing to do with it. Surprisingly from what I learned it is those mothers and feminists in leadership positions who are the most cruel when it comes to having a negative impact on gender perception. Besides it is not exclusive to women - men have the same problem with the way they are being portrayed in the media and I had many requests to create a similar video but for men.

No, I am not going to explore the issue further. I made five videos about female attractiveness and in the process I learned a lot about women problems and how they are created. I became very disillusioned with the whole thing and I now have a problem with being associated with women issues. I learned first hand that modern feminism is very toxic and that it is one of the reasons why things are the way they are in the media (you wouldn't belive how many women journalists attacked me online). But I do want to continue empowering people (both men and women) and address issues that make us stronger and smarter.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 3:51PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:44PM EST0 Reply

How did you make the first vlog video with no money at all?

Feb 11, 8:25AM EST1 Reply

I have been a graphic designer for most of my life (I started when I was 12 on my C64) and my first videos were youtube clips to my house and techno tracks more than 11 years ago. In fact my first video was a remix of Rihanna's "Don't stop the music" viewed more than 100 000 times on youtube back in the days when there was no such a thing as viral videos :) Everything I know about video editing and animation I leanred from the internet. That's the beauty of the times we live in now. You can become anyone you want with no money required. You don't need money to have a good idea and you can record it and edit it now on your phone.

Last edited @ Feb 12, 4:11PM EST.
Feb 12, 3:56PM EST0 Reply

Where did you learn how to make videos?

Feb 11, 8:17AM EST1 Reply

 Everything I know about video editing and animation I leanred from the internet. That's the beauty of the times we live in now. You can become anyone you want with no money required. You don't need money to have a good idea and you can record it and edit it now on your phone.

Feb 12, 3:59PM EST0 Reply
What are your future plans for your vlog channel?
Feb 11, 6:52AM EST1 Reply

I am starting in the next few weeks with new series of videos that will be uploaded initially every week and then twice a week. I want to concentrate on me and my values. I learned from my followers that what I have to say is important and that I actually have the audience for my opinions and ideas. I will continue making truth videos oscillating between motivational and informational content with occasional social commentary. But my long term plans are much much bigger but that's a different story :)

Feb 12, 4:04PM EST0 Reply
Ask your question
About #BloggingAMA

Welcome to #BloggingAMA, an AMA channel dedicated to bloggers & blogging!

The #BloggingAMA channel (http://www.BloggingAMA.com) is owned and operated by AMAfeed, LLC.