What you don't know about Kandee Johnson

There are a lot of makeup artists on YouTube offering advice on everything from how to apply lip liner to perfecting a skincare routine, but few of them have had the impact that Kandee Johnson has. Johnson has been sharing her prodigious skills with the world since 2009, and has become one of the most established beauty influencers in the world today.

As one of the earliest YouTube influencers, Johnson helped to spark the wave of beauty gurus making their mark on social media. The fact that she has stayed popular for so long, amassing millions of followers, is a testament to both her incredible talent and her charming personality. She has the talent to transform herself into Edward Scissorhands, but fans also love her heartwarming and inspirational videos

Johnson is basically the best friend everyone wishes they had, ready to give you a makeover or offer a shoulder to cry on. She's been on the scene for a while, so longtime fans might think they know everything there is to know about Johnson. But you probably never knew these things about Kandee Johnson.

This was her first job as a teen

While a lot of teenagers work after school and summer jobs for some extra money, those jobs aren't usually related to their future careers. Johnson is one of the lucky few who had a high school job in a field that she loved: fashion. Those skills would later pay off in Johnson's future career as a celebrity makeup artist and occasional wardrobe stylist

The job also put some cash in Johnson's pocket so that she could buy clothes. She revealed in an Instagram post that her paycheck went to buying cute outfits. She's been putting together stunning looks since she was a teenager, and her skills have only improved with age. The only way the job could have been more well-suited for Johnson is if she had gotten a chance to apply makeup on clients as well. Still, how many people can say that they have professional experience in their field dating back to their teens?

Her hidden talent has nothing to do with beauty

We know that Johnson can throw together incredible looks, transform her face to look like a famous icon, and create an engaging YouTube tutorial, but surely that's where her talents end… right? Wrong! It seems that Johnson has an extensive list of talents, including some serious musical chops. She loves to play the piano and doesn't let her long nails get in the way of creating some beautiful music. "Sometimes when my mind feels it has no words to make sounds from my mouth… my hands just make sounds on the keys," Johnson captioned an Instagram post showing her playing the piano.

Her talents don't end there, though. Johnson writes her own songs and has been doing so since she was a little kid. "Sometimes when my heart feels heavy and I wander to my piano, my wandering mind and emotions wrap themselves up into a little melody," she said.

Before YouTube, she blogged... but not about beauty

Johnson is world famous for her beauty vlogs today, but she started off with a very different sort of online media presence. Before she started her YouTube channel in 2009, Johnson started blogging in 2008. Though you'd naturally assume she started blogging about beauty and transitioned to YouTube, that's actually not the case. Instead, she wrote about what it was like being a mom — she didn't even write about beauty at all in those early blogging days. She slowly began branching out into beauty and style, but her first posts were all about her kids.

Even after she had launched her YouTube channel, Johnson still made time to write about her kids. In a 2010 blog post, Johnson wrote about each of her children and said "the greatest job you'll ever have is being a mom." She added that "nothing leaves a legacy like a little soul that was loved, adored, and loved some more."

There are days she doesn't wear makeup at all

Anyone who has seen Johnson create one of her stunning makeup transformation looks might expect that the vlogger is obsessed with makeup and wears it all the time, but when the cameras aren't rolling, Johnson often sports a makeup-free face. She's one of those women who can glam it up, but is also comfortable rocking a natural, low-maintenance look.

Celeb Secrets TV asked her how long it takes her to get ready on a normal day. "Some days I don't even wear makeup so it's like maybe five minutes… maybe some foundation, maybe mascara, if we're lucky," she said. When she puts a little bit more effort into her hair, she can be ready in 45 minutes. A lot of celebs wouldn't leave the house without putting on a full face of makeup, let alone admit to it, so it's reassuring to know that Johnson has lazy days just like the rest of us.

"I never get a day off. I'm up editing until four in the morning"

A lot of people look at being a YouTube celebrity as an easy job. While it can look like beauty vloggers have it easy, especially when they're doing something that they love to do and don't have to leave home to do it, being a YouTube star involves a lot of hard work. There's a lot more to creating a YouTube video than meets the eye, especially when you work at it full time like Johnson does.

In an interview with E! News, Johnson was asked if being a YouTube star required working full-time hours. "Oh my gosh it's more than when I worked three jobs at one time," she said. "I never get a day off. I'm up editing until four in the morning. It just never stops. But it's amazing." It looks like the old adage is true: do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life. At least all that hard work is fun when you're doing something that makes you happy!

Why she doesn't think you should try to become YouTube famous

Johnson never set out to became an internet legend. In fact, she didn't even realize at the time that YouTube could be used for such a thing. These days, of course, there are plenty of people who are trying really hard to become social media influencers, but Johnson doesn't think they should be chasing fame. In an interview with Fusion, Johnson gave some advice to people who are just starting out on YouTube.

"Make sure you're starting for the right reason," she said. "Make sure that you're starting YouTube because you want to help people, because you want to entertain people, not because you want to get free products or you want to be… YouTube famous. And then just always talk like you're talking to your best friend or your sister. When you start thinking…. 'I have to act cool,' you're not likeable, and you're not relatable. You're just being weird."

Family is everything to her

Johnson is incredibly close to her family, and they make frequent appearances on her social media. In an Instagram post, Johnson paid homage to her mom. "I became best friends with her before I was even born," she wrote. "Her arms have been, since the moment she first held me, the place I've run to, to feel comforted and loved. The sound of her voice instantly makes me feel that everything is ok. I wouldn't be who I am today without her."

Such tributes are common on Johnson's social media profiles, proving just how much she loves her family. She has also posted about her father, grandmother, and grandfather, all of whom have passed away. Johnson has been open about her grief over losing her loved ones. Her devotion to her family shows that even though she's famous, she still values where she comes from and the people who helped her accomplish so much.

Hollywood bound?

Johnson has been adding to her lengthy resumé by branching out onto a big screen. She announced her foray into acting on Twitter in 2016, when she was cast as Mandy Sparkledust in Trolls. It seems fitting that the brightly-haired troll would be played by Johnson, who frequently sports bright hair colors herself.

While the news of her branching out into acting was exciting, this isn't actually Johnson's first acting role, although it's certainly her largest. Back in 2003, she had a role in the small independent film Five Beans. While the indie film didn't launch Johnson to superstardom, it did win "Best Nevada Film" at the Reno Film Festival/GAMMA Indiefest. Will Johnson transition into a Hollywood superstar? Only time will tell. She has had a couple other small appearances on TV, but for now it looks like she is focusing on her YouTube channel. Who knows what the future will hold.

Starting YouTube was like being "pioneers in the Wild West"

The world has gotten so used to new celebrities becoming famous through YouTube and other social media avenues that it's easy to forget that this is a pretty recent thing. YouTube hasn't actually been around that long. The website has become a cornerstone of the Internet, but it has only been online since 2005. The age of the internet celebrity is still a very new one. Johnson is one of the first people to become mega-famous through the internet, and her rise to fame broke new ground for what was possible on YouTube.

"I feel like when I started we were pioneers in the Wild West, and not much was known about what we were doing," she told Forbes. "So we just kind of learned everything as we went and kind of made up how to do things. And I like being a part of that. I'm honored to be a pioneer in the uncharted landscape that is now YouTube and 'social influencer land.'"

YouTube has change a LOT since she first started out

The internet is an ever-changing landscape, and YouTube is part of that. Johnson got her start on YouTube in 2009, back when it was still a fairly new platform but hadn't become the powerhouse of original content that it is today. "When I first started, people were still going there to watch cats water skiing," Johnson told Cheddar. "It wasn't like what it is now." Johnson is impressed with how far the website has come. "Seeing… what it's created is amazing," she said. "People's lives are changing."

While she is appreciative of what the platform has done for her, its massive growth (YouTube has more than 1 billion users) means that figuring out what kind of content will work is a challenge. "It does change because you don't know what is going to work," Johnson said. "You don't know what YouTube likes, what is working right now. … Back when I started… people didn't have a lot of options."