Murder, Mystery… Makeup?
April 12, 2021
YouTube has evolved since its 2005 creation to a vast majority of communities that represent the many genres that are on YouTube. It was just recently that I noticed a new genre when scrolling through the top trending page- true crime.
Sitting at #4 trending was a video titled But Did He Do It? The Mysterious Story of Laci & Scott Peterson l Mystery & Makeup by creator Bailey Sarian, which immediately caught my attention. At first, I thought it was a makeup tutorial based on the case, and I clicked on it because from the thumbnail (which is her posing in full-face beyond infamous photos from the media circus that surrounding the case) was honestly weird and intriguing at the same time. However, when I actually clicked on the video, her intro revealed this is actually series that she does every Monday, where she “sits down, does my makeup talks about a true crime story that has been heavy on her noggin” – which is what I come to found out is her intro for all of these videos. This video in particular was close to 45 minutes and spoke about the missing person case turned murder investigation of Laci Peterson- all while doing her makeup.
And after sitting through the whole video, I had mixed feelings. I am fascinated by true crime and intrigued by the psychology of those who kill, even before I became a criminal justice major, but then again making a whole YouTube brand, basically profiting from the stories of those who tragically lost their lives- didn’t sit well with me.
To better explain; after exploring her channel more I found her most popular videos are these Murder, Mystery, and Makeup Monday videos, all of them having millions of views. I also found that her subscriber account grew immensely after making this a constant series, now having 4.5 million subscribers. Her growing popularity also earned her a nail polish collection with Loud Lacker, and an eyeshadow pallet with the brand Estate released exclusively with IPSY. Along with this, she has her merchandise with her likeness and gains revenue with that as well.
All of these deals come from her talking about this violent crime, ranging anywhere from sexual assault, murder, serial killers, and even cannibalism. When she speaks, she speaks crime differently than investigators or news anchors doing the same on the regular crime shows we watch. It’s more relaxed in a sense, broken down to the point that those who may not know the terminology of crime and forensics can understand and talks about the backgrounds of both the offender and victim.
Although this somewhat bothers me, I still do like her videos, and I think they can be beneficial and are entertaining. It is easy to tell all of the efforts she puts in her stories, and the research she does and states honestly when she can’t find things and leaves out more of the gory details and pictures for the sake of her audience. Something she does on occasion too that I like is that she leaves the sources she actually used for her videos, once again showing that she does a fact check everything she says.
After finding Bailey Sarian’s videos, I did what a lot of us do after finding something new and went down a rabbit hole of the whole true crime community with YouTube. There many people in this community with their own gimmicks some including #MissingMondays, #CoffeeandCrime, and more. During Halloween- you should see the new backgrounds, creepy stories, (and in Sairan’s case makeup looks) they pull out during these items. I even found one person (that I won’t name) who seems to have taken Sarian’s whole concept!
However I found myself gravitating more towards Bailey Sarian’s videos, her real, relatable personality that exudes from the screen, makes the different stories easier to hear, and some of them, we as an audience need to hear.
Despite the high-profile cases she covers, such as the Peterson’s and serial killers like Ted Bundy she also speaks on stories lesser known that deserve to be told such as those of Mitrice Richardson and Rocky Myers. She also goes deeper into historical stories and ghost stories with demonic influences that are still debated to be real to this day.
Overall though I have my personal reservations about the true-crime community and how they profit from content like this, I do enjoy it. Bailey Sarian and other true crime content creators bring to light stories we would not have known, giving victims and their families a voice, and remind all of us that even when it is not trending anymore, these cases still matter and victims are more than just a fad.