Fashion / Beauty

Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Becomes an Overnight YouTube Beauty Star: $50,000 Prize, Target Commercial are Just the Start

BY // 09.27.17

When former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Jessica Kalil posted her first makeup tutorial on YouTube, she never would have guessed that she would win the most coveted award in the beauty vlogging world a few short months later. But this summer, Kalil beat out thousands of competitors to be crowned Beauty Vlogger of the Year at the sixth annual NYX Face Awards.

“They called my name and I was like ‘What? What?!’” she laughs.

She took home $50,000, a year’s supply of NYX professional makeup and a newfound following.

While she’s new to the YouTube beauty world, Kalil has plenty of experience painting her face. She started, like many girls, playing in her mom’s makeup bag.

“I started off just taking makeup from my mom and doing some really glam looks on my face when I was really young, but I’d also paint my face with the makeup,” she tells PaperCity

She later honed her skills as a New York Jets Flight Crew professional cheerleader and a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

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But she wasn’t just interested in creating the perfect smoky eye or glowing highlight, she was interested in creating art. Her face was just the canvas.

“I used to do little kids birthday parties where I’d paint their face. In Halloween season I would do a few crazy looks on myself and my friends,” she says.

When Kalil found like-minded beauty enthusiasts on YouTube, she realized she could turn it into something more.

“I saw people doing how-to makeup tutorials and I just thought ‘Wow, I have all these tips and ideas on normal makeup but I also have a lot of creativity in my mind that I would love to share,’” she says.

“It took me a few years to get the courage, to get the resources – the cameras, the lighting – to actually go ahead and start doing it.”

Shortly after starting her YouTube channel, she decided to enter the NYX Face Awards competition on a whim.

“Being so new, I didn’t think in a thousand years I would get selected,” says Kalil.

Much to her surprise, her submission took her to the Top 30. But the next round was based off vote, and being a new and relatively unknown YouTuber, she had little hope of continuing.

“It doesn’t take a genius to understand that if someone has thousands of followers on YouTube, they’re probably going to get more votes than me who had like 200 at the time,” she says.

But her talent was enough to put her in the Top 12, winning out over more seasoned vloggers. For the next step in the competition, Kalil created a jaw-dropping cyberpunk look – and a video which included her Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader friends.

The video pushed her onto the final stage of the competition – the Top 6. For the last challenge, Kalil flew out to Los Angeles and had a full production crew to dream up the final video.

“The last theme was magic — I did a magic show. It was such an amazing experience, definitely one of my favorite experiences,” she says.

Since winning, Jessica Kalil has filmed a commercial with Target and Clarisonic, and is turning her full attention to vlogging. She’s ready to tackle the next challenge.

“A big goal would be to do a collaboration with a makeup company,” she says. “And then the ultimate goal for me – like dreaming big – would be to come out with my own makeup line.”  

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