Hailey Bieber’s YouTube Channel Is a Scattered But Clever Way to Step Out of Justin’s Shadow
The 24-year-old is defining her identity beyond being a pop star’s wife with videos where she talks about mental health and invites Kendall Jenner into her bathroom to get drunk.
Hailey Rhode Bieber would like to formally introduce herself... with a YouTube channel. Earlier this month, the 24-year-old unveiled her new project with an Instagram announcement, explaining she’d been toying with the idea for a while, especially since appearing in her husband Justin Bieber’s YouTube documentary Seasons.
The model explained she was excited for people to get to know her personality and to connect more with her fans. But for someone who has been in the public eye for years, has a massive social media following, and Vogue and Elle covers, it’s odd she doesn't already have a distinct stamp on her identity. Instead, most of the perceptions people have of Hailey come not from her, but from those around her.
For starters, Hailey is primarily known in the context of being Bieber’s wife. (His fans had a field day when they discovered Hailey was a Belieber herself as a tween, complete with cringe-worthy tweets about the singer and an awkward introduction in 2009.) She's constantly pitted against Bieber’s ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez, with superfans of the actress taunting Hailey about Bieber’s former relationship. Beyond her husband, her father is actor Stephen Baldwin, her uncle Alec Baldwin. Plus, she has a bevy of celeb friends, such as Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the Hadid sisters, Jaden Smith, and Justine Skye to name a few.
One summarization of Hailey came from a brief anecdote in a GQ profile of Bieber, her then-not quite boyfriend. Journalist Caity Weaver and Bieber are heading up to his Beverly Hills hotel suite when Bieber asks his bodyguard if Hailey was there yet. He previously explained he doesn’t like to text and hadn’t checked his phone for the duration of the conversation.
Hailey did happen to be in his room despite not knowing when he’d turn up, and according to Weaver she simply sat there waiting, doing nothing. “No TV, no book, no phone, no computer, no music, no oil paints, nothing,” Weaver writes. “She is pretty and polite and 19 and asks me, ‘What’s up?’”
This blank persona is exactly what Hailey wants to eradicate and she’s pulling out all the stops to take control of her image. To pull this off, Hailey hired OBB Media to produce the videos. The production company has previously worked on Demi Lovato’s new YouTube documentary, Netflix feature films, as well as several Bieber music videos.
The result is top-notch with glowy lighting, expertly edited videos and at least two cameras to capture multiple angles. Hailey also calls on her best friend Kendall Jenner to help draw in fans, as well as celeb-favorite hairstylist Jen Atkin and stylist Maeve Reilly.
It’s by no means a unique project. In fact, it’s a bit of a hodgepodge of topics as Hailey sees what sticks. In her introductory video, Hailey explains she’ll have travel vlogs, skincare routines, hair and makeup tutorials, and play games with friends.
“I’m going to be having really amazing guests, fun people that are part of my life,” she says. “We are going to be debunking some very interesting and strange rumors that I’ve heard about myself. We are also going to be having some conversations about some things that I feel really passionate about that are very important to me, like politics, mental health, faith.”
Hailey is banking on her “flagship show” Who’s in My Bathroom, where she invites friends to sit next to her shower for “wild conversations,” to help turn her channel into a hit. Up first was Kendall Jenner. The women cook up a box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese on a hot plate in the middle of her bathroom. While Hailey jokingly clarifies they aren’t being sponsored by the brand, a few minutes later Kendall breaks out three bottles of her new tequila 818 to pour shots as they play “Never Have I Ever.”
The 12-minute video where the women laugh at inside jokes, reminisce about drunken nights and Kendall ponders whether to put butter into boiling water comes off less like a professionally produced show and is more reminiscent of high schoolers hosting a make-believe talk show using iMovie on their parents’ MacBook. Still, more than 8.5 million people watched them get tipsy, talk about going through a partner’s phone, and laugh over saving themselves for marriage—Hailey’s most viewed video by far.
She redeems herself with her skincare video. Hailey wakes up at 6:45 a.m. with a coffee in hand to walk fans through her morning routine, applying face and eye masks, cleanser, oil, moisturizer, and sunscreen to her face.
“Sometimes I think people get a little bit hesitant to mess around with the mask, because they're worried maybe their significant partner will come in and say, ‘What are you doing to your face, you look insane,’” she says, but quickly adds that Bieber likes to do masks with her.
Hailey has flawless skin and definitely knows what she is talking about, but it’s still slightly a missed opportunity. Many in her fanbase are likely unable to afford the $1,000 worth of products that she uses daily, and Hailey offers no alternatives or cheaper dupes.
Her most recent video is with her stylist Maeve Reilly. The women invent a random game out of creating an outfit solely from tinfoil. Whoever has the worst design has to post a photo of themselves in the getup on Instagram with the caption “the future of fashion,” leaving the post up for a full minute.
It’s silly and a tad juvenile but Hailey is still experimenting in hopes of carving out a space for herself apart from Bieber and her famed friends. Perhaps she’ll find her stride in later videos where she interviews a psychiatrist/mental health expert, as she’s been open about dealing with anxiety and insomnia. Or maybe her personality will shine through as she shares more glimpses into her life. Either way, it should be celebrated when a young woman makes a confident and purposeful choice to take control of her narrative.
“I’m excited for people to get to know Hailey for Hailey,” she says in her introductory video. “I hope that’s what you receive from these videos.”