Stephanie Ahn‘s trajectory from a University of Toronto accounting student to a full-time beauty influencer is a modern tale of passion overcoming prescription. Raised on a blend of Korean and Western influences, she ditched ledgers and spreadsheets for eyeshadow palettes and contour brushes. Inspiring others, she’s established a massive voice on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
In a saturated market, Ahn stands out. Her transition from a traditional career path to full-time influencer wasn’t just about changing jobs; it was about pursuing what made her genuinely happy. With a shift in focus, the content creator’s profile soared with her content landing as a go-to source for both makeup newbies and seasoned beauty aficionados.
“When I began to reflect and think about what my passion was, that’s when I realized I was truly the happiest whenever I went to the mall and walked into a Sephora and tried on different makeup products,” she explains. “So I decided to create a YouTube channel and film makeup tutorials and also share my makeup looks on Instagram. From there, my content really started to take off, and that’s how my influencer journey started. “
Ahn is more than her makeup routine or the latest Korean beauty trends she champions. Her rapid ascent in social media clout comes with its own set of challenges, with mental well-being at the forefront. Nonetheless, she remains committed to her original ethos: empowering her followers to find their own version of beauty.
Below, we had the pleasure to chat with Stephanie Ahn about sharing her tips and experiences online, the ups and downs of social media, and her beauty favorites.
Before we get started, I’d love to know more about you! For anyone who’s unfamiliar with your content, what’s your background and what were your early experiences with beauty?
I’m a Korean-Canadian content creator based in Toronto. I’ve been a full-time influencer for about five years now, and I create beauty, lifestyle, and fashion content on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. I was first introduced to all things skincare and makeup by my mother in elementary school. My mom has always been an avid user of both Korean and Western skincare and makeup, and so I grew up knowing all about beauty products.
I used one of her old Estée Lauder eyeshadow palettes when I was in seventh grade and was hooked. I went to a school with uniforms, so I used crazy blue and green eyeshadow as a way to express myself since I couldn’t with clothes. This is where my love for all things beauty began.
What inspired you to get on platforms like YouTube and Instagram to talk about skincare and makeup?
I always had a passion for skincare and makeup but never really thought I could make a career out of it. Of course, growing up with Asian parents, I was always taught I needed a license or certification of some kind in order to get a stable job. So, I went to the University of Toronto to study accounting; however, I quickly realized that accounting wasn’t for me. I really had to think hard about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
When I began to reflect and think about what my passion was, that’s when I realized I was truly the happiest whenever I went to the mall and walked into a Sephora and tried on different makeup products. I was the most excited about beauty and loved talking about beauty trends. So, I decided to create a YouTube channel and film makeup tutorials, and also share my makeup looks on Instagram. From there, my content really started to take off, and that’s how my influencer journey started.
If you were born pre-internet, what do you think you’d have ended up doing?
I think I would have tried to pursue becoming a news anchor. I really enjoy being in front of the camera, and this is probably something my parents would have loved to see me do as well.
That being said, what’s your current makeup routine? Are there any particular products you swear by?
I like wearing a natural look for my everyday makeup, and I concentrate on contour and eye makeup to enhance my eyes and face shape. I start off with a face mist and sunscreen. For my base, I use different shades of concealer to target my under eyes, blemishes, and to highlight my face. I then use cream bronzer to contour my nose and bronzer powder to contour my face.
For eyes, I use the same bronzer I used on my face as my eyeshadow base, and then I smudge a brown eyeliner pencil on my outer corners (this is my ultimate lazy girl hack that makes your eyes look bigger instantly!). The two products that I absolutely cannot live without are mascara and blush. Without these, my face feels incomplete. I’m currently loving the Benefit Cosmetics Fanfest Mascara and Kimchi Chic Beauty Thailor Blush Duo in the shade Pinky. For lips, I always find myself going back to the viral Charlotte Tilbury pillow talk lip liner and Fenty Beauty glass bomb cream.
How about trends? What’s your current internet obsession in fashion and beauty?
Right now, milk tea hair has been a huge trend in Korea. It’s an ashy light brown that looks exactly like milk tea. I recently dyed my hair this color and absolutely love it. I plan on keeping the color around for a long time. I’ve also been obsessed with cherry red, that’s super trendy this fall season. From the cherry red gradient lips to the cherry red jackets and accessories—I’m loving them all!
What has your experience been like growing so rapidly on social media? What have been some ups and downs?
It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m so thankful to my followers that have allowed me to do what I do as a career. The best part about it all is when I get messages from my followers saying they were inspired by me and use my content for inspiration to create their own looks.
The toughest part about social media is definitely staying mentally healthy. Because my content is based on recording my life, sometimes it’s hard to stop thinking about creating content and setting boundaries between my personal life and what I show online. It can get overwhelming, and I’ve learned over the years that it’s important to have a balance between what I post on social media and what I keep to myself.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to get into makeup and skincare? Where do you start?
I learned most of what I know about makeup and skincare from YouTube content. I would definitely start by searching up makeup and skincare routines on YouTube. There’s so many amazing videos on finding your skin type and what type of skincare/makeup products are best for your skin. I love getting new tips from different beauty creators on YouTube as it’s more relatable and easy to understand.