‘I’m just a kid with a few blending brushes’: How teenage make-up vlogger James Charles – whose 8,000 screaming fans brought Birmingham city centre to a standstill – built a £6million fortune with his 25million YouTube views

  • James Charles rose to internet fame when his senior prom pictures went viral
  • He started his own YouTube channel and became first male face of CoverGirl
  • Teenager, from New York, has since worked with Katy Perry and Kylie Jenner 

Five years ago, James Charles was a high school student dreaming of becoming a global sensation – but never thought he’d actually get there.

He humbly describes himself as just a ’19-year-old kid with some blending brushes’.

But the teenager from Bethlehem, New York State, USA, is now worth £6million and has millions of people following his beauty channel all over the world. 

And this weekend the vlogger made headlines in the UK when his 30-second appearance to open a cosmetic franchise ‘broke Birmingham’ with 8,000 fans turning up to see him at the city’s Bullring centre.

It started in 2015 when James, then a high school student known to his classmates as James Charles Dickinson, began uploading make-up tutorials to YouTube from a studio his contractor father built for him in the family’s basement. 

His following grew steadily until a year later in October 2016 when he made history as the first ever male face of US cosmetics brand CoverGirl.

James Charles, a self-taught teenager from Bethlehem, New York State, USA, is now worth £6million and has millions of people following his beauty channel all over the world

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Through the brand he got to work with the likes of Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, who he shot a Halloween make-up tutorial with recently.

Now his following stands at 13.6million on Instagram, 13.7million on YouTube and nearly three million on Twitter.

The 19-year-old male beauty blogger is followed by millions of ‘sisters’ or fans all over the world 

His pictures with various members of the Kardashian clan has sent his views sky-high and led him to a collaboration with the cosmetics brand Morphe, launching his own make-up palette for them.  

The young YouTube sensation is mostly popular with girls, who he refers to as ‘sisters’ or the ‘sisterhood’, but also counts several make-up obsessed men among his fans.

He came out as gay at the age of 12 and regularly posts online about his personal life, but does not appear to be dating anyone.

He told his followers: ‘When I was younger, I think in around sixth grade, I was 12 years old at the time, I was hormonal. I had just gone through puberty, and just like every other boy I was going through that stage of life.

‘Clearly at this point, in my own head, I had figured out that I was not exactly interested in the sisters, and I was definitely down for the brothers.’

He joined an internet chatroom to talk to other bloggers, but found it was being used for sexual conversations.

One day he claims his father walked in on him in a state of undress while talking to a boy online.

His rise to fame has seen him partner up with Kylie Jenner (left) who he shot a Halloween make-up tutorial with recently

Charles has also been pictured with Kim Kardashian, which has helped to boost his social media following further 

The teenage beauty sensation is pictured in an Instagram picture with singer Demi Lovato 

Charles shot to fame after posting a second take of his senior prom photos on social media – so he could show off his make-up skills and opt for more flattering lighting 

The following day his parents asked to see his internet history, revealing his sexuality.

He added: ‘There it was. The closet door was flung open and outran me. Unintentionally.’ 

The teenager is also legally blind and is unable to see anything without powerful contact lenses.

But he has used it to his advantage, opting for colourful lenses to accentuate his looks. 

Charles graduated from Bethlehem Central High School in June 2017. Located just south of Albany in New York State, it has featured on a list of America’s best high schools.

He has a mini-series that features his brother Ian Jeffrey called Brother & Sister where the pair talk about various lifestyle topics. 

The 19-year-old posted a picture of himself inside a red phone box after arriving in London to launch Morphe’s second UK store in Birmingham 

His parents have also featured in his posts, where he praises them for being so supportive of his career choice.

His father is a contractor and helped him convert part of the family basement into a mini-studio.

Charles’s mother Christie Dickinson is also on Instagram and through her sons following has accumulated 155,000 followers. 

She regularly posts family snaps and promotes her son’s brand with uploads of herself in his make-up products.  

Describing how accepting they both are, he told the Ellen DeGeneres show: ‘They were like, ‘Oh, you know, we love you no matter what. Like if you’re trans, you can tell us.’  Charles says he does not identify as transgender. 

Charles is pictured with his brother Ian, left, father, second left, and mother Christie, second right 

He has a mini-series that features his brother Ian Jeffrey (left) called Brother & Sister where the pair talk about various lifestyle topics

His parents (pictured promoting his Morphe make-up line) have also featured in his posts, where he praises them for being so supportive of his career choice

A throwback image shows James Charles with his brother Ian Jeffrey as youngsters 

His creative flair began as a young child, when he was obsessed with drawing and painting. 

But after being forced to into doing a female friend’s make-up for a party she was late to, he started doing his own and his cosmetic ambitions grew from there.

He also has a talent for singing, posting a select number of clips of his voice. He is a member of an a Capella group called Flashback who record song covers and post them on YouTube. 

Charles has spoken about negative comments he receives online, admitting that not everyone is ready to accept a boy who wears make-up.

Instagram started moderating his comments after a number of abusive ones came to light. 

At the age of 17 his social media presence nearly killed his career when he posted an offensive tweet about a holiday to Africa.

Charles is pictured in a crop top, hot pants and full face of make up in an Instagram post 

The vlogger posted this picture at Coachella music festival in California, USA 

He wrote: ‘I can’t believe we’re going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola?’ 

After a furious backlash he admitted he was a ’17-year-old kid’ and apologised for ‘offensive stereotyping that is not okay’. 

It was partnership with Morphe that brought him to the UK for the first time last week. He was invited to cut the ribbon at their first branch outside London.

After posting a picture of himself outside a red phone box he appeared at the Bullring Centre in Birmingham.

Despite his fans only being able to see him for 30 seconds the shopping centre was packed with more than 8,000 screaming fans.

Motorists were forced to ditch their cars and the city was gridlocked for hours as frenzied teenagers rushed to see him.

Worried bosses were even forced to call in extra police and turn off the escalators over fears fans would be crushed as the centre reached full capacity.  

Thousands of teenagers flocked to the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham in January to catch a glimpse of James Charles 

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