Grace Victory is a style icon. A feminist. A go-getter. A presence. And one of the most inspirational people we’ve ever had the joy of meeting. When Grace arrived at our London HQ, she fills the space of our reception area with a cackle that is unmistakable Grace. As our time goes on- through our photoshoot and interview- we realise that every aspect of her is unmistakable. Like a designer with a signature style, Grace’s every move and word owns the space to the point you’re captivated entirely.
“I go through days myself where I feel ‘I don’t want to do this any more…’ or I’ve had bad press. But then I remember that I can’t be selfish. I went through what I went through for a greater purpose and that’s to help people by sharing these experiences with others.” claims Grace after we ask her about how she finds using her own experiences in life to produce content on her channel.
“I love helping people; I genuinely have a passion for helping others get through their bad days. That might be because when I was younger I went through certain things and I didn’t feel like I had anyone there for me. I want to be there for others, which can be quite hard because I have my own stuff going on but I just think hard work always pays off.”
And the truth is, Grace Victory is there for her viewers. Over 200,000 fans around the globe tune into her videos where she covers everything from domestic violence to depression, body image to makeup tutorials and hauls. Her label of the “Internet’s Big Sister” couldn’t be more true.
” I love fashion, I love beauty but my real passion is advice based videos and lifestyle. I have a lot to say on certain subjects like self-harm, bullying, mental health, and body image. I know quite a lot about body image so I tend to try and do videos that actually matter and will make a difference to somebody’s life. I’m kind of over the whole “Favourite MAC Lipstick’s” or “Here’s My Curly Hair Routine” type videos. I’m very much happy to put out content that has meaning behind it.”
As our conversation goes on, we’re not too proud to admit that Grace leaves us feeling slightly emotional when chatting about topics close to home but that’s the impact she has both in real life and online- a strong force who makes you believe you can be anything and everything you want to be despite facing serious struggles along the way.
But what gives Grace the right to talk about these issues and offer her advice? Apart from personally facing a lot of the issues she discusses on her channel, it’s how Grace spent her pre-YouTube years that mean she’s more than qualified.
“After I left school, I went into youth work and I worked in a women’s refuge where I taught dance and also ran youth clubs. I actually ran youth clubs that I used to go to, which was really weird being on the other end of it and having to manage of all these troublesome children.
Later I applied for a job at a children’s care home got the job. I worked with neglected children, sexually abused children, children who have had a break down in their family or they’ve run away from home a lot of the time and the police have said they need to go into care. I’m lucky enough to be a full-time YouTuber but my roots are very much with children in care and helping people that have been through domestic violence or exploitation. I’m heavily involved in giving back.”
So why don’t we see more men and women really getting involved and using their own experiences to pioneer discussion? Why do we see a lot of YouTubers failing to use their channel for good?
“Because they might not have had those experiences or perhaps they don’t think it would be beneficial for their channel to talk about it. They may feel it’s off brand, or it may risk getting work if they bring up certain topics. I think the reality of some people can be different. So my reality growing up was domestic violence and it was abuse and body image, eating disorders and self-harm. Whereas others may have grown up with very structured, ‘normal’ relationships and family life without trauma.
Each to their own, you can do whatever you like on the internet, you can put out what you want but I just want to be remembered for more than my favourite lip gloss.”
So what’s next for Grace? During our interview, she reveals she’s working on a BBC Three show, moving into presenting and killing the game.
“In the last six months I’ve won “Best Vlog” for Cosmopolitan magazine and “Most Inspirational Role Model on the Internet” with InStyle. Since then I’ve had two TV deals including BBC Three and another one, which I’m yet to talk about. For that channel, it’s all about taboo subjects like body image, “Is my vagina normal?”, periods, break ups etc. So things are on the up and there are a lot of exciting things happening which people will hopefully get to see soon.
When I was younger I went to a Performing Arts School so I’ve always been in front of a camera, whether that be me talking to a small audience or a large audience. Presenting is something I’m quite comfortable doing. I love being in front of a camera, I’m a creative, flamboyant and bubbly person.. it’s just what I do.
YouTube is my full-time job but my goal essentially is to be a presenter on factual documentaries, journalistic shows for BBC or Channel 4. I want to make stuff that actually matters and can be shown worldwide to a mass audience.”
After Grace leaves our offices in a mist of hugs and air kisses and promises to come back soon, we’re left slightly in awe, having just met the women surely set to take over the world.
With thanks to the ever-wonderful Elisa Spigariol for the photography.