Meet NZ’s Hottest YouTube Star – Shaaanxo

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You may not recognise Shannon Harris but the 20-year-old Aucklander is uber famous. She’s one of New Zealand’s most popular YouTube stars. Some of her videos are watched by over half a million people all around the world. Her successful YouTube channel is a combination of Beauty Tutorials, Q&As, and fun Blooper videos and she also has her own range of beauty brushes that she sells online.

I recently caught up with Shannon to find out what it takes to become a YouTube sensation.

When did you start video blogging (vlogging) on YouTube?
I can’t remember the exact time, but it must have been at least five years ago now. It was when I was still at High School. I remember sitting in my room mumbling to the camera, it definitely didn’t come naturally to me. I felt really awkward and super terrified someone at school would find out what I was doing!

Why did you start vlogging on YouTube?
I was OBSESSED (literally, fangirling over YouTubers and all) with watching YouTube Beauty ‘Gurus’ from the States and other places around the world. I loved their videos but they weren’t relevant to me in terms of their seasons, products they would buy, etc etc. So, I decided to try it out myself! I have no idea why, I was a little bit awkward and not at all amazing at makeup, but I have learnt so much since then!

Why do you think your beauty vlogs have been so successful?
I try to be as real and as honest as possible. I don’t put on a fake personality or anything so I like to think that maybe people like my videos because… perhaps I am relatable? Other than that I wouldn’t have a clue! I put my heart and soul (and all of my time) into making YouTube videos, and chatting with my viewers on social media, and I think people appreciate that! 🙂

Did you have any beauty vloggers that inspired you to start vlogging?
Yes! I was obsessed with Brittany Balyn, Fafinettex3, Michelle Phan and so many more YouTubers.

Is this a full time job for you?
It is now! I make enough money from YouTube to classify it as a full time job. I have had so many other opportunities arise through YouTube as well. I’ve even managed to make my own brush line, xoBeauty, where my goal was to provide New Zealanders and Australians with good quality makeup brushes! So many exciting things to come too!

Sorry to be cheeky but can you share with us how it makes you money?
YouTube gives the video creator a portion of ad revenue. So we make money off of the ads that pop up before our videos! There are also so many other money making opportunities many YouTubers can get, but I try to be as real as possible on my videos, not a walking advert 🙂

What sort of equipment do you use to film your vlogs?
I use a Canon 60D camera, and natural lighting! I need to sort out some professional lights for this cranky Auckland weather though.

Do you edit your own videos?
I sure do! I use iMovie to edit my videos. One video can take anywhere from 30 minutes to multiple hours to edit.

Did you ever want to blog or have you always focused on Facebook and YouTube and why?
I do Blog occasionally, but I find my creative mind flows much better when on camera. I use blogging to supplement my YouTube videos!

Do you have any all-time-favourite can’t-live-without beauty products?
Stila’s Kitten Cream Shadow and Kitten Duo Highlighter! The colours are stunning. I also love makeup setting sprays! My current favourite is Lioele’s Dewy Skin Mist.

Do you have a favourite vlog that you’ve created?
My favourite video I have ever done would have been my Zipper Zombie SFX makeup I did last year for Halloween. I was super tired in the video but the final product was so awesome. It was fun being one of the only girls that actually looked scary on Halloween night also! Haha.

Which has been your most popular vlog and why do you think it has been so successful?
My weight loss video. I think it was so successful because it was realistic. There were no shortcuts and I think that’s what people like to hear sometimes – the hard reality. I am looking at starting a new fitness and healthy eating routine soon that I will be vlogging about religiously, because I want to really challenge myself to be the best I can be! Hopefully I can encourage others to follow me and reach their fitness or weight loss goals too.

What is the key to being a successful beauty vlogger?
Do it for the right reasons. I feel like people are starting to realise YouTube can be a full time job, which is obviously appealing, and so are making videos because of that reason. There is nothing wrong with that but let’s be honest – in my opinion a channel will only be successful if you are doing it for your honest passion in the topic. I see girls making videos who look like they can’t be bothered with it, which in turn makes the videos boring, which in turn means your channel isn’t really going to be successful. In basic terms – if you want to be successful, put your heart into it and keep it honest. Only do it if it legitimately is a passion of yours!

Do you get approached by beauty brands to feature their products on your vlogs?
Yes all the time! I have a different process from some other vloggers. I like to accept products occasionally if I like the look of them, BUT I let companies know that if I like it, I may use it. If I hate it, forget it. I never let a ‘free’ product buy me out. I’m always honest about it!

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully still making videos because that is what I love to do! I’m always looking to expand my videos, hence why I have a vlog channel and want to do more fitness and food videos. I hope I can constantly come up with new stuff to share with people, so I can continue doing YouTube for years to come 🙂

Watch Shannon in action here.


Here’s Shannon’s favourite Zombie Zipper face video – it’s SO amazing. Take a look.