Newman (self-titled Peaches Monroee on Vine) notes that she’s currently in school for nursing, but refers to the cosmetic and hair line as her dream. The campaign, launched today, has a listed goal of $100,000.
GoFundMe is an interesting choice for Newman. Anecdotally speaking, it seems rare to see a major project completed there without some serious press or the championing of a celebrity. And GoFundMe is probably most closely associated with fundraising related to medical costs for the uninsured, a horrific state of affairs that Molly Osberg recently reported on for Fusion. The site doesn’t have the same startup gloss as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and has a far worse reputation for scams than either of those two.
However, the fact that Newman has to resort to GoFundMe to pull in the money to finance her ambitions is typical of the history of viral success on the internet, as detailed by Doreen St. Félix in December 2015. Writing in The Fader, St. Félix reported on how white viral stars like the “Damn Daniel” kid or the Chewbacca mom make fortunes off of their 15 seconds of fame, while black teenagers who impact online culture just as broadly come away with nothing most of the time.
The original “eyebrows on fleek” vine, as a prime example, was played over 20 million times in the first five months after it was posted, and legitimately introduced the phrase “on fleek” into a broader American vernacular. The phrase was co-opted by brands like IHOP, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s, but without Newman’s involvement and with no benefit to her. That fall, Kim Kardashian captioned an Instagram with the hashtag #EyebrowsOnFleek, netting Newman an endorsement that usually turns just about anything to gold. Yet Newman told St. Félix a year later, “I gave the world a word. I can’t explain the feeling. At the moment I haven’t gotten any endorsements or received any payment. I feel that I should be compensated. But I also feel that good things happen to those who wait.”
On her GoFundMe page, where she has raised about $3,500 at the time of publish, Newman writes, “I also want to make sure [I’m] getting the recognition and money I deserve.”