Deepica Mutyala didn’t expect her second YouTube video to go viral. In 2015, she shared a tutorial on how to cover under-eye dark circles with red lipstick. Mutyala was a brand development senior manager at Birchbox then, and when her video hit 4 million views, the Today Show contacted her to do an on-air segment. She quit her job that day and became a frequent guest on Today.
The Sugar Land native’s video—which now boasts over 10 million views—gave her an opportunity to make a major career change working for herself as a YouTube and on-air beauty personality.
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Mutyala felt a lot of pressure to pursue law, medicine, or business. She studied business administration and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin in hopes of fulfilling her teenage dream of creating beauty products for South Asian women. After graduating, she moved to New York City to pursue her career as a YouTuber. This February, she launched TINTED, an online destination and community for people whose skin tones are “all the shades in between.”
“We want to speak more to skin tones and don't want to limit our definition to a race, but we do attract a lot of followers of South Asian, Middle Eastern, and mixed descents,” she said.
After five years in the Big Apple, Mutyala is spending a summer at home with her parents where Houstonia caught up with her before her next move: to Los Angeles.
On being a YouTube personality and on-air beauty expert:
“I used to hate it—it felt weird. I have a degree from a credible undergrad business school and I am a marketer—that title made sense to me, but 'YouTuber' didn't. It used to feel like a fake profession, but then I realized I sounded archaic. The world has changed in a major–and incredible–way. You either accept it and embrace it or fall behind. Being adaptable to change is crucial in today's social media world.
"I actually think some of the most brilliant people I know have built their careers on social media, and now I couldn't be prouder to own the title. Truthfully, a title is nothing but exactly that. At the end of the day, I am an entrepreneur and businesswoman, and now CEO, but if someone called me a YouTuber, I would proudly own that as well.”
On underrepresentation in the beauty industry:
“We felt like there wasn't one place women who fit this category of the 'in-between' [skin tone] shades could go to for content that was relevant for them. We wanted to increase representation for these women visually and through their stories in an authentic way. Before our launch, we spread a bunch of inspiration images on the floor of who we thought represents the 'TintGirl,' and what was more interesting was what we couldn’t find. There was definitely a hole in variety when it came to medium to deeper skin tones. There was hardly any girl who was smiling or felt relatable. It just reinforced the mission even more than we wanted to create a platform for these women.”
On her slogan, “My Skin Is Not a Trend”:
“It's something I have felt and said being an influencer in this space for a while now. It's the phrase that truly encompasses why TINTED exists. Sometimes it feels like women of color are being spoken about because it's the thing to do right now –that notion needs to shift. This isn't a trend, it's a movement, and one that is here to stay.”
On what it means to #LiveTinted:
“Embracing and loving who you are exactly how you are. Being your truest, most authentic self. What I love about the name is that it truly is up to each person's interpretation. That was intentional.”
On the necessity of a digital platform:
“It's crazy how many messages and comments we get daily from our TintFam about how excited and happy they are that TINTED exists, not only for themselves but for their daughters. Now more than ever, we need to amplify our voices when it comes to representation and social issues. It's why brands are just starting to add more shades to their makeup lines and realize we need faces for campaigns that aren't all the same.”