How times have changed. Six years ago Tanya Burr was a shop assistant on the beauty counter at Jarrold, the Norwich department store. Today she’s a YouTube sensation, with her online make-up tutorials attracting two million visitors a month and invitations to starry parties flooding in from around the world. Her style tips are so eagerly followed that a Mulberry handbag seen on her blog prompted a massive surge in hits on Mulberry’s own website.
But the most endearing thing of all about Tanya is that success doesn’t seem to have gone to her head. Not in the least. She still sounds down-to-earth and self-deprecating, insists she has no intention of swapping her Norfolk home for the bright lights of London and says her transformation from shop girl to international beauty guru was “totally unexpected.”
Her most recent video shows her sitting at her kitchen table with her angelic-looking little brother. Rosy-cheeked, wearing an apron and without a scrap of make-up, she says the pair of them have just spent the afternoon walking along the beach at Southwold and baking banana bread.
The best thing about Tanya’s make-up videos is that as well as being inspiring and professional, they are ultra-easy to follow. I’m the most cack-handed person when it comes to make-up but watching Tanya explain how to create this year’s stunning smoky eye look made me think that even I could do it.
“I really want to remain someone people can relate to and keep my tutorials professional and full of instructions,” she says. “The most important thing is to give viewers what they want and to keep the videos unique and professional.”
PS. This year’s deadline for university applications in the UK has been and gone and thousands of teenagers are on tenterhooks as they wait for offers. I couldn’t help laughing, though, when I heard about the tongue-in-cheek rejection letter one student sent to Oxford University after her interview. “I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law,” wrote 19-year-old Elly Nowell. “I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering.”