- Meet Naezrah Desir, a 25-year-old Black beauty influencer, who is taking over with her makeup looks.
- The New York native is known online for her intricate makeup content on social media.
- She is highly credited for the viral rainbow-bright undereye makeup trend.
The first brow pencil kit Naezrah Desir ever got was from her mom.
"Makeup wasn't really in the cards until I was in college," she told Insider. "And my mom bought me some Sephora sets with an eyebrow pencil and brow gel from Anastasia."
As a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where she studied men's wear, Desir explored her passion for art and design. But that passion soon evolved after her mother gifted her those Anatasia Beverly Hills makeup products from Sephora.
Now, the 25-year-old makeup artist and beauty influencer — known as @naezrah on TikTok — has amassed nearly 300,000 followers since joining the app in 2019 by dazzling users with vivid makeup content.
Desir, a native New Yorker, told Insider her artistry is a reflection of her surroundings and upbringing — especially being around a family who loves to "pamper themselves." She recalls, for instance, her childhood ritual of going to the nail salon with her grandmother, who she says has long manicured nails and still gets them painted every week.
It was those interactions, as well as her time at FIT where she learned to have her own style and learned that "precision and continuous practice makes perfect."
'I enjoy shapeshifting'
After her mother's gift, Desir taught herself how to apply makeup and soon began experimenting with neutral colors, experiencing "a lot of trial and era" throughout her journey. As her skills developed, she started doing makeup on Facebook Live with her friends.
Then, her audience started to grow.
She expanded her online presence to Instagram — where she currently has 328,000 followers — and started showcasing more colorful looks. Desir describes her makeup creations as "idiosyncratic, ambiguous and otherworldly."
"I enjoy shapeshifting," she told Insider. "I do body painting sometimes and turn myself into other things. It's fun to see the result when I body paint, and it's just different."
She added, "I know I'm doing the same thing millions of people are doing in my makeup, but I feel like I'm a little different. I've always been a little different than other people."
The makeup artist's social media portfolio ranges from vintage glamour to transformative special effects looks. She said she finds peace in her craft and stands firm in differentiating herself from her peers.
"It is definitely a safe space. It's something that I think of as like my own lane. I'm not trying to jump in someone else's lane," she said. "I'm not trying to be someone else. I'm just simply posting my art and then enjoying it while I'm posting, enjoying sharing it with people, enjoying people loving the art that I create."
Naezrah is the inventor of the rainbow-bright undereye makeup trend on TikTok that went viral earlier this year
Growing an online audience as a Black beauty influencer has not come without pushback online. The harassment and racist comments were prevalent from when she first started years ago.
"[I've been] called everything under the sun. As a Black woman, navigating this industry —as a dark-skinned Black woman at that — it's hard. Everybody will doubt you, everybody will say your things will look better on someone else, and I get this comment a lot when I'm reposted somewhere. The comments are very negative."
She added, "I would say actually all the harassment gives me an extra drive. I never let the comments get to me. If I let them get to me, I would have stopped in the beginning."
But she told Insider how she was able to turn a negative comment on Twitter about her signature white bright undereye into a positive moment. The next week, she decided to post a bright baby blue undereye makeup look, as a jab at her critics.
"I was just doing it as a, 'Since you think the white looks so bad, I was like, I'm just going to do it in color.' And then I guess that was what it needed to take off, I guess," she said.
Days later, she posted a rainbow version of the undereye look, which started a viral trend on TikTok earlier this year. She called it an "interesting experience" — one that she said she's "very grateful" for.
She wants to be a 'staple' for creative makeup artists in the Black community
Like other Black creators on TikTok, Desir has faced the burden of not being credited for her content, but she is not afraid to call it out, she said.
"People stealing my work.. and not crediting me is nothing new. It's been happening for years. So I'm like, okay, at this point, you know, gonna have to ask for credit" she said. "You don't want to be seen as the naggy or the 'angry Black woman,' but I've gotten to the point now where, who cares?"
She continued: "If I see something that I know for a fact that's my work that you're copying, and you're not crediting, I'm going to gently say, 'Hey, this is my look. Can you credit me?'"
Desir's content has got her to work with makeup brands like Colourpop (a company that was accused online of using her content as inspiration for their advertisement on TikTok) and celebrities like R&B superstar SZA. She said she's focused on being an inspiration for those who look like her.
—𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔢 𝔰𝔥𝔦𝔣𝔱𝔢𝔯 (@Naezrah) June 27, 2022
"I just want to be very impactful to the Black community, Black creatives, Black artists, Black people, but especially dark-skinned people because it's always negative comments for some reason, surrounding people who do stuff out the box that are darker complexion," she said.
"And I just want to be that staple that people have, like [beauty influencer Jackie Aina] that we had growing up on YouTube. I want to be that, but for creative makeup."