From the perspectives of beauty novices, the life of a beauty vlogger can seem neat, perfect and polished at all times.
Despite appearances, Kayley Melissa's life did not feel perfect for most of 2015.
Between posting tutorials for date-night hairstyles and warrior braids, Kayley struggled with severe depression and general anxiety, unbeknown to her over 901,000 subscribers and more than 94 million viewers.
On Christmas, Kayley uploaded a video, opening up regarding her struggle to stay online.
I managed to associate anxiety with my YouTube channel, and I became convinced in my deepest heart of hearts that if I was to upload a video, everyone was going to hate it, and my career on YouTube was gonna be over… When I would even think about filming a video, I would get panic attacks. Once I worked through that, when I would start putting on my makeup to do a video, I would get panic attacks. I'd end up laying on the ground just trying to breathe when I was trying to make YouTube videos.
When she took the first steps toward facing her depression and anxiety, Kayley discovered all the support she needed was waiting for her in the one place she'd been most afraid to go.
She told viewers,
I posted these videos, and I was terrified, and at a time when your reaction really meant a lot to me, you guys were so kind and so supportive. You guys ended up being a huge part of me recovering… If you guys hadn't been kind it could have made life so much harder for me, but you guys were so wonderful… It meant the world to me.
Speaking from a more secure place, Kayley reached out to others fighting mental illnesses and mood disorders.
Kayley reminded her followers,
You're not alone. You don't have to feel weird. You don't have to feel different… You are an amazing person, and we all have something that we're going through… and at the end of the day… you're defined by how you handle the obstacles that come your way… If you are struggling, take a step, any step, forward, to get yourself from where you are to where you want to be.
It's not news looks can be deceiving (after all, it's a cliché for a reason). The illusion of perfection, while temping to cling to, may not be as satisfying as the joy and relief of acknowledging an obstacle and asking for help.