Jackie Michele Johnson is a comedian, beauty passionista, actress and self-described former southern belle. She is also the enthusiastic creator and host of ‘Natch Beaut’ — a podcast that celebrates beauty while looking at the industry with a critical eye, one that winks to the camera from time to time. Jackie promotes small, female, and minority-owned businesses, cruelty-free brands and a vegan lifestyle to her passionate and engaged audience. So far guests on the pod have included GLOW Actress Jackie Tohn, comedian and host of Netflix breakout hit ‘Nailed it’ Nicole Byer, and Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness.
The pod lives in the ‘Fashion & Beauty’ section of Apple podcasts but could easily be at home under Business, Comedy, Self Help, Health and… at times… Sexuality. I’ve laughed alone in my car to Natch Beaut, I’ve cried alone in my car to Natch Beaut.
The concept of the show at first seemed completely illogical to me. Fashion and beauty content rule the internet, beauty videos on Youtube were viewed 88 billion times in 2017, up 60% from 2016 and the top 10 beauty influencers on Instagram last year had a combined following of over 135 million. YouTube and Instagram are visual-first platforms, with low barriers of entry (truly a smartphone is all you need to be a creator), while podcasting is a little more mysterious, less accessible and literally the only non-visual platform on the internet. So I caught up with Jackie to ask her how she made the pod happen, how she fuses style and humor, and the ever-important idea of self-care.
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I’ve been hanging out with Howard and his gang since I was around 12 years old. Mom took me to see Private Parts and the E! Show put me to bed most nights. All throughout my 20’s I walked dogs and did eyelash extensions while blasting Howard 100 out of my Mustang. And every time Howard renewed his contract I told myself “you have more time to get to him now.” Being a guest on the wrap up show meant a whole whole lot to me. Getting to tell Richard that I also cried when Cotton Hill died and telling JD he’s smart for not having wedding guests also ruled. It was very satisfying to finally be able to speak back at the people I constantly hang out with. BA. BA. BOOEY. ✊🏻
How did Natch Beaut happen? I heard you talking about it on another podcast I love, Plz Advise, and I hope you don’t take offense to this but I was like ‘Why on earth would you take the only non-visual medium and make a beauty and make up show?’
Not offended! I’ve been listening to Howard Stern my entire life and Howard does a ton of very physical bits on his radio show and the fun of driving around and imagining things has always been really exciting to me. They would do wrestling competitions and outfit roasts, all these things you can’t see and I would drive around laughing and loving it so I was like if he can do it, I probably can do it..not as well. There were some negative iTunes reviews that were like ‘I can’t even see what she’s talking about’, which I get but the episodes vary, it’s not a makeup tutorial show, it’s just two people gabbing about beauty.
As for how it got made, you’re probably aware by now that literally everyone in LA has a podcast, because everyone out here is an actor/comedian/unemployed artist and they crave creativity. I had been told ‘Oh YOU should have a podcast’, because I guested on them and always had a great time and got a good response, but I was like ‘ehh there’s so many’, and that was three years ago. I had three or four different ideas and I had just gotten really into makeup tutorials and I’ve always been that person in my friend group where they ask ‘Hey what deodorant are you using’ or ‘what face brush do you like?’ I also did eyelash extensions for 5 years as my side job so for two hours I’d be chatting with the woman and I’d be staring at her damn face and I’d be like ‘Oh my god, what do you use you literally have no pores on your face’ I had originally had the idea to record the eyelash extension conversations have that be the podcast, the show really evolved from Jackie O’Lashes, half of my clients have now been my guests and more to come.
Your career has spanned acting, comedy, music, dog walking, doing eyelashes, what can you share about the art of the side hustle? How do you think it prepared you to do what you do now?
Every move I make, every day of my life is a struggle and I’m used to that now. I mean I wake up in a state of panic and it goes away when I go to bed. It’s hard as hell out here, and that’s the brutal truth baby it’s hard as hell out here. And I’ve learned from speaking with my “successful friends” that they’re in the same state because it’s really difficult to be satisfied with your career in general for everyone in entertainment because of the fleetingness of it all. If you’re on the top you’re not going to be on the top for long, and that’s why you see these actors hit and then they’re in 15 movies at once and then they go away for 3 years because they’re riding their high, while they have it. Fame is fleeting honey, money is fleeting. It’s oxygen money breathes in and out; there’s no guarantees about anything.
What’s been the biggest surprise about your life since launching Natch Beaut?
I have a slightly bigger following, more opportunities have presented themselves in terms of my career. I get a lot of free shit sent to me, that’s different. I haven’t had to buy a makeup or skincare product in like a year, and that’s great and it’s indie brands which is even better. My makeup and skincare has quadrupled, it’s like a growing mass across the counter of my room so that’s a huge difference. More people know who I am. I think I take better care of myself because I’m inspired by my guests constantly. And I’m not doing lashes anymore! And that’s amazing.
This is the first year I haven’t had an actor side job in forever. I don’t know how people don’t in this town. I think there are people who like to struggle and then just pay rent and then they’re empty and I can’t live like that I always have to have some money cause my husband and I like to travel and I just never wanted to be BROKE broke so I always worked. Even if I booked a big commercial and had money in my account I was like I might not book another damn commercial I’m gonna keep doing lashes.