- When Jackie Aina started her YouTube channel in 2009 she was living in Hawaii and serving in the Army.
- As her channel began to grow, she made the decision to step away and pursue YouTube full-time.
- In the video above, Aina explains what her experience in the military taught her.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Jackie Aina: A lot of people don’t think that makeup artist, YouTuber, US Army veteran, like, how do they mix, and they kind of don’t.
[It’s your girl, Jackie Aina, Jackie Jackie Jackie, Jackie, Jackie Jackie…]
But there are definitely some skills that, you know, I think that any veteran can argue that being able to serve your country and make that ultimate sacrifice is going to position you in the real world, into really having valuable skills.
I joined in 2008, like shipped out, went to basic training, went to AIT, came back, and then I was in the reserves. And my life was in shambles, ok? Figuratively speaking and literally. I was actually married, and living in Hawaii.
[Hi everybody, aloha, thanks for watching.]
Because I was in the reserves, it also meant that I had a lot of free time to do other things, so I was, you know, living on this island, and not really happily married, and I kind of was just like looking for like an outlet creatively, and just something to like take my mind off of how unhappy I was at the time. And I discovered YouTube, but at the time, it was more like, oh my God, like I would just binge watch videos.
And then my best friend every day would literally be like, “Why don’t you just start a YouTube channel?” And I was like, “Nope, not interested, nope, not interested, nope,” I shot her down like so many times. And finally, I was like, “Guess I don’t really have that much free time for anything else, so I might as well just start a YouTube channel.” So that’s literally what I did.
[I’ve numbered every colour you could imagine.]
It eventually got to a point where I was like, “OK, what’s it gonna be, you know, I’m not quite stable here yet, but I really feel like something’s gonna pop off, so I gotta decide right now, what’s it gonna be?” And I just didn’t wanna take the risk though, ’cause once you re-enlist, it’s like, what am I gonna say to my first sergeant, like, “First sergeant, Google’s calling me,” like, you know, he’s gonna be like, “Bye, get out my office.”
And so I decided to walk away because these careers were both kind of growing at the same time, but one started to take off a lot faster than the other. And then after I left, I would say, a year later was when I got my first viral video and my channel really took off.
[Dustpan lashes! For many obvious reasons. There is no reason why I should be able to do this to lashes.]
Professionally, the military taught me so much about being a YouTuber, being a businesswoman, being an artist, just being a decent human being. For me, I just learned that, like, there’s always a bigger picture. You know, you may have a really annoying manager in your real-world job, and you just kinda learn to like, stick with it, keep going. I think that it taught me how to set a goal and, like, smash it, like a lot of people didn’t think that I would be able to make it in the military. A lot of people like, laughed at me, they were like, “What the heck are you doing?” I didn’t come from like, a military family or anything, so I was really like kind of one of the first people in my family to really do something that was like, not normal, and so I set a goal and like, I just needed a change at that time in my life, and I did it.
I think it’s also taught me to be extremely grateful and to not complain about stuff. There’s so many things I don’t complain about, ’cause I’m just like, I could be in heels or I could be back in boots. So what’s the real tea, so there’s a lot that I’m just like, not gonna complain, not gonna complain.
And, yeah, I feel like it aged me a couple more years, like, everyone’s like, “You’ve been married, you went in the military? You started a…” they’re like “How old are you, 40?” I’m like, “No, I’m 31,” they’re like, “You’ve lived like all these lives,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I do feel like I’m kind of seasoned in a way.”
But, you know, I also wouldn’t trade serving for anything. If I could relive it, I would, I would. It was an incredible eight years.