She makes fans weep. She has more than 700,000 subscribers on YouTube and many of her followers regard her as their personal best friend. Vicky Allan meets the Scottish social media star who put the goofiness into makeup vlogging: 

FIVE people are crammed, like sardines, into a room no bigger than a cupboard in the back of the MAC cosmetics store at Intu Braehead, near Glasgow. Two of them have cameras. One of these is Jack McCann, the fiancé of make-up vlogger Jamie Genevieve, there to film her vlog – for those not in the know, that's a social media video. The other is a cameraman trailing her for a documentary about the Scottish vlogging scene.

Then there’s the Jamie Genevieve, real name Jamie Grant, who, with 700,000 subscribers on YouTube is one of Scotland's biggest social media stars. At one point someone hands her a Starbucks cup. She looks at it, with a puzzled smile, then takes a sip. “Gingerbread latte,” she says. “Oh my gaad, it is. It’s not the season. What the heck?" Such is her celebrity that the manager of the local franchise knew what her favourite coffee was and had decided to send it over.

“It’s wild,” says Grant. “Mental. It’s mental how supportive people are here. I really do feel like I’ve got the whole of Scotland just rooting for me, which is really special.”

Outside the shop a queue is forming. These are the fangirls, and the odd fanboy, out to meet their makeup idol, as she launches her first Jamie Genevieve make-up product, a MAC nude-coloured lipstick. Grant, however, prefers not to use the word fan. “I don’t like calling them fans. My people,” she says. “My people are so loyal and know me so well.” It feels a little as though the queen has come to town – though the queen wouldn’t be sitting in this back room, perched on a stool, drinking a gingerbread latte wearing a face of slick grunge-style makeup.

Grant is funny, long-limbed and goofy in real life – so much more hilariously charming, than her pouting Instagram pics might suggest. Those who don’t know the makeup tutorial world most likely imagine that it’s populated by young women so perfection-bent they would never crack a grimace or a laugh. But anyone who has watched Jamie Genevieve vlogs will know that her daftness is part of her appeal. She likes to mess around. She’s in it for the laughs, as well as the followers.

“I think people like me because I’m quite daft,” the 25-year-old says. “I don’t edit myself loads. If things go wrong I keep it in. If I look rubbish in one frame, I keep it in. It doesn’t bother me. I think everyone’s a bit weird and I’m not scared of being bit of a weirdo.”

The influence of bloggers, like Grant, on girls and young women is immense. Frequently called the selfie generation, we might as easily call them generation “made-up” – since many of their most popular influencers on social media, globally, are beauty gurus. Grant is a key figure. She stands out because, as many of the girls queueing out there in the mall, say, she’s “relatable” – so much so that many talk of her as if she were a friend.

Erin, 18, for instance, describes her as “down to earth”. “It’s not as if you’re watching a celebrity,” she says. “It’s more like watching a friend. It’s like you really know her. And she’s got like the cutest dog. Drogba. I started watching her in 2016. She taught me everything I needed to know about makeup. What I like about it is she shows you how to be a confident and gorgeous and sexy person. Makeup doesn’t change her.”

Grant, who grew up on a council estate in Tillicoultry, then later went to Cathkin High school in Cambuslang, now lives in huge house on the outskirts of Glasgow – when she’s not jetting around the world. She uploaded her first tutorial to YouTube in 2014. “I was so nervous,” she recalls. “I was totally s***ing myself, but I recorded it on my laptop. See, when you watch it, it’s like you’re not watching me. I’ve got this weird voice on. I was young and I hadn’t found my feet.”

It’s not hard to see why she’s relatable. Partly, as we stand here in MAC Braehead, it’s because this is her world. When she started out, she really wasn’t that different from many of the women and girls waiting to meet her. During those early days, she says, he was struggling, juggling two jobs and making vlogs on the side. She had moved out of home while young, and was drifting around, living with different friends.

But it didn’t take long for her to relax into being the vlogging goofball she is now. How did that happen? “It came out over time, actually with happiness. This job has made me so happy. Honestly, everyone in my family has been affected by me and my job. They get nice things – because I get sent so much makeup, and I give it away. Without this job, we wouldn’t have our house. We wouldn’t be getting married next year where we want to get married. The feedback I get makes me so happy that the more I do it, the more excited I am about life.”

Her weekly vlogs about her daily life are almost more popular now than her makeup tutorials. She, McCann and their dog, Drogba, are like a Glaswegian Keeping Up With The Kardashians, all about the lifestyle, the restaurants, the beauty parlours, plus the odd trip to Kenya for a safari, a birthday part in Mexico for a fellow makeup blogger, or partying in Ibiza courtesy of makeup brands. She’s like your aspirational Scottish lass at large, chilling on yachts, cartwheeling across the Blythswood’s hotel, or cooing over how “unreal” it all is. She's down-to-earth but materialistic, girl-next-door but glam.

“I think it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done,” she says of the life-vlog. “See if you’re thinking from a business point of view – and I don’t like thinking about this too much because it makes me seem quite cold – the closer that people are and the more people are excited the more people are buzzing about this lipstick. Because they just know me through and through.”

Emotions are running high at Braehead. One of the girls is so overwhelmed when she gets a hug from Grant, that she wells up. “She’s helped me through so much, personally,” Kirsten McCormick says, as she wipes away a tear. “Anxiety and stuff. When she used to be a makeup artist, I had an appointment with her to get my makeup done, but I woke up in the morning and I had a panic attack and I couldn’t go. Her confidence makes you believe in yourself. That’s why it annoys me when people say she’s just a makeup artist. Because she’s so much more than that.”

Grant even wells up a little herself when she starts talking about another fan she met recently. “Meet-and-greets,” she says, “are the best thing ever but the emotional side of it is wild. There was a woman I met and she was crying and I said to her, ‘I’m not worth your tears, honestly.’ Then she sent me this huge email saying, ‘I just want to say that you are worth it and you’ve totally helped me through a really hard time.’”

She thinks perhaps these girls, particularly here in Glasgow, see a bit of themselves in her. “I think maybe the same feeling that you get when you’re making a friend, is what people get with me when they’re watching a video. It’s like they’ll stick me on in the background and it’s like having a friend in the room.”

What’s surprising is that she says that connection is “totally mutual”. When she meets them she too feels that bond. “Even though I don’t know them. It’s wild.”

Myself, I don’t really get it. But then that’s probably because I belong not to Grant’s generation but, more, that of her mother. Grant doesn’t like to talk in too much detail about her mother, because apparently that’s the way her mum likes it. “No one knows what her name is. No one knows what she looks like. She’s never been in the vlogs. She never will be either.”

Nor will she tell me what her mum does. “She won’t want me to put it out there,” she says. “But she’s a total hero. She’s, like, the best woman I’ve ever met in my entire life and I think she’s got a lot to do with the way that I feel. She’s always just pumped me up. She’s like my hype-man. Even when I was running about looking crazy, I thought I was cool and she thought I was cool. No one has ever made me feel stupid in my family. That’s why I get confused if people try to. It’s like, ‘Why doesn’t everyone else think I’m amazing? My mum thinks I’m the best.’”

It also wasn’t from her mum, she says, that she learned her makeup skills. “Mum had like five products that she would make a face with, and she would only do it on days that she was going out.”

One of the most refreshing things about Grant is the way she gives us her barefaced, warts-and-all self, as well as the perfected made-up one. Every makeup vlog delivers some pre-makeup footage of her hamming up looking slightly rough. This, she says, is key. “I think the most honest picture of me ever is a picture of me jetlagged, on my couch, with a plate of dinner on my chest. Someone turned it into a meme and it went totally viral, and I was, like,brilliant.”

Grant, who has also had a boob job and talked about it, even, controversially, made a vlog where she showed the full procedure of her getting lip fillers and Botox, letting her viewers see her there in the clinic, face smeared with blood with a needle stuck in her lip.

“People are funny about that kind of stuff,” she says of some of the reaction. “It’s a generational thing. It doesn’t bother me for people to know that I’ve made myself feel better and maybe in some people’s eyes look better, with a little bit of help.”

But thirteen-year-olds are following her, and some of the people who are watching her are younger again. Does the responsibility of being an influencer to young girls weigh on her? “Sometimes I feel bad. You’ll get parents saying, ‘My daughter wants tattoos’. I’m, like, sorry. Their daughters are all walking about with nails like this.” She flicks her tattooed, false nailed hands through the air. “I’m, like, I’m really sorry.”

Grant, by her own accounts, is also not one of those girls who always looked beautiful or stylish. Recently, she says, her father sent her a photograph of her first day at high school. Back then, she was a gangly youngster, “all arms and legs” with mousy hair and red streaks, Doc Martens and a set of red and green train track dental braces. “I honestly didn’t used to think about the way I looked,” she says. Back then, she says she was “bullied rotten” at school. “Then I didn’t get popular, I just turned a bit mean. I was like, ‘I don’t care.’ It just toughened me up.”

After leaving school, she worked in bars and went to college to do art. It was when, at the end of the course, people were preparing portfolios for fashion, and wanted someone to do makeup for their models, that she volunteered to do makeup for other people. “Everyone was like, you’re really good at this. I’d not really been really good at anything before.”

From then, everything happened quite fast. “I got fired from a bar job and in the space of a week, I met Jack, then I got a job at Estee Lauder and got into Clydebank college to do makeup. That whole week my life changed. I feel that’s when it all started for me.”

In fact, she had met McCann, formerly a bricklayer, at T in the Park a few years previously. “But he did not fancy me because I was far too young,” she says. They’re now a vlog-made-in-heaven love story. Their wedding, set for next summer, includes a party in Scotland and low-key ceremony in Italy, and the fans are loving the pre-wedding chat. “People are calling it the royal Scottish wedding. Hilarious. We’re buzzing. We’re getting it filmed and we’re going to put it on YouTube. We’re buzzing.”

They also make a crack business team. He edits the films.

"Jack’s a trooper,” she says. “I think Jack must be honestly the most supportive person ever. I’m so lucky. I don’t think that many people can work together and be together and be in a couple as well.”

Their home even has a whole room dedicated to Grant’s makeup, and another room for clothes. “See all these trips I do?” she says. “I can’t wear the same stuff twice. People get, like, ‘Oh, yeah, do you not have any other clothes?”

Unlike some vloggers, who have lent their voices to mental health or body image campaigns, Grant says she has no real mental health issues. “It’s weird,” she says, “I honestly am that fly guy that gets away with everything. I’ve got nothing – no physical illnesses or mental illnesses. I’m just fine.” She credits this with being good at self-care. “I’m really conscious of the way that I feel and why I feel like that. So if I start feeling sad or really exhausted, I’m like, 'Well, pack it in and give yourself a day off.' Some people do think that self-care is selfish. But my mum literally worked herself to the bone to make sure I was happy and I wish that she’d put a wee bit more of that love into herself.”

She is, she says, “just a really happy person”. “Even,” she adds, “with all the stuff that comes along with this job that’s not so nice.” By that, she means the online criticism and comments about her appearance – none of which bothers her now, though it used to. Mostly, she says, she considers that these people are probably unhappy and don’t like to see other people happy. “If ever I see a nasty comment I think they must be having a really bad day.”

And Grant is all about the good day rather than the bad day. She's about the happy feelings. She genuinely does seem to want people to feel good about themselves – even the haters. “That’s the main goal,” she says. “Honestly I’m such a hippie, I just want everyone to have a good time and love themselves.”